At some point, everyone dreams about traveling. Curiosity is part of human nature, and most of us yearn to visit some special, far-flung place that’s captured our imagination for as long as we can remember. For some, it’s the Great Wall of China or the streets of Paris, for others the Pyramids of Egypt or the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.
And yet so few will ever fulfill that dream.
We’ve always got an excuse. Some are legitimate, but most are hardly worthy of serious consideration.
Over the years, I’ve probably heard every travel excuse in the book, but none strike me as more ill-conceived than the following five. If you’ve used these in the past to rationalize not embarking on that dream trip, I’ll forgive you. But from now on, you won’t have any excuses: it’s time to get going!
1) “I can’t find anyone to go with me.”
If there’s a worse justification to avoid travel, I’ve yet to hear it. Apparently, many people believe that traveling is an inherently dangerous activity that, like attempting a 300-pound bench press, needs a spotter. How far from the truth!
Solo travel need not be dangerous, but it’s almost always rewarding. With no one to sway you, you’ll go where you want to go, do what you want to do when you want to do it. Who’s a more perfect travel companion for you than you?
I realize that as an only child, I’ve learned to enjoy my own company more than most and not everyone can handle loneliness with the same indifference.
But traveling solo doesn’t mean traveling alone.
As you drift through your travel plans, you’ll meet other like-minded wayfarers, some of whom you may end up floating around with for a while before parting ways.
Even if you’ve traditionally been shy for your whole life, there’s no better way to smash out of your shell than to socialize with some new, interesting people while traveling the world.
2) “Travel? There’s no way I could afford that!”
Somewhere along the way signals became crossed. We’ve been exposed to this insane idea that travel is the domain of the rich and that jet setters are only those privileged and lucky enough to afford it.
Let’s debunk this myth, and never utter it again.
Travel is only as expensive as you want it to be. Sure, it’s easy to blow through a year of savings in a week, but it’s just as easy to stretch it out over months.
All this excuse covers up is a lack of will to do whatever it takes to make your dreams happen. If travel is truly a priority in your life, you’ll sacrifice whatever is necessary to stuff your piggy bank with enough dough to increase your travel fund and set off on your journey.
Maybe it’s working overtime, forgoing a few restaurant meals a month, buying a few fewer pints on the weekend, or sucking up your pride and squatting in your parent’s basement for a few months after college – if you really want to take that dream trip, you’ll make it happen!
3) “I don’t have the time.”
Who would you reckon are the busiest people on earth? Politicians? Fortune 500 executives? Guess what: if they can find time to travel, so can you.
We all work hard all year long to get what we want and we all have vacation time to unwind; shouldn’t we spend it doing something unforgettable?
Even if you only have ten days (like us poor saps starting out in Canada), you can perfect the art of short-term travel and experience some amazing things within a short period of time.
4) “I’d love to go to [insert destination here], but it’s too dangerous.”
Turn on the TV or skim a newspaper, and you could spin this statement into a hundred iterations. Outside our backyard, it’s always doom and gloom; the world is an unstable place, and you’d be wise to stick close to home.
Ignore all the hype: the world is a far safer place than you’d imagine.
When I first started choosing more unconventional travel destinations, I erased years off the lives of my loved ones. They tried to talk me down, questioned my motives, panicked, and wondered if I’d ever return home.
But rumors of my inevitable demise now seem grossly exaggerated.
I’m still in one piece and never encountered anything more serious than a few minor inconveniences in travels spanning most of the continents.
If I’d listened to all the “advice,” I’d have missed out on some of my favorite travel destinations including Israel, Turkey, and Indonesia. All proof that stubbornness can sometimes have its virtues.
Proper research, a healthy dose of caution, using common sense, and simply traveling smart are far better defenses against problems than simply limiting your travels to familiar destinations firmly within your comfort zone.
5) “I’ll do it next year.”
Really? I could have sworn you said that last year.
There are many legitimate reasons for putting off a trip, but simply because you aren’t ready right now is not one of them.
When inspiration slaps artists in the face, what do they do? They whip out the easel, swirl around some paint, and smack the canvas with their brushes. They don’t wait around, hoping inspiration will strike again; they act on their impulse, knowing full well their ideas may never return with such vigor.
If you’ve just been slammed with the urge to visit someplace you’ve always dreamt of, the time to act is now. Not next year, not when the timing is perfect, but now.
There’ll always be excuses to not do something, isn’t it about time to make an excuse to do something?
Whether you choose to keep driving straight or grasp the wheel and break through the shoulder to blaze your own path, is your decision. But next time, make sure it’s the one that pushes your travel dreams closer to reality.