I have wanted to write about this for quite awhile, but was nervous to because I assumed it would receive backlash. But then I realized that it probably will regardless. So if it pisses off 10 people, but influences 1 well then that’s good enough for me.
In the wake of current events with Kobe’s sudden death I think it’s necessary to talk about these kinds of real things. Life is beyond fragile. One minute you’re living and then next you could be hit by a bus. It’s random, it’s tragic, it’s beautiful, it’s a gift.
What I think is even more tragic is how people choose to use this gift that we are given (specifically in America).
In this country, we are taught to work hard in school to get amazing grades so that we can get into that amazing college. In college, we are taught to still strive for those amazing grades and that incredible internship so that we can get a stellar job right out of college. In our job, we are taught to climb that ladder and save that money. Don’t take time off often because if we do we might be fired or whatever crazy thoughts we’ve construed in our heads.
We become consumed with it. I know because it’s exactly how I felt too until I snapped out of it a year ago. Our career paths become the most important thing in our life at such a young age.
Who is making more money? Who has the cooler job? Who has the most senior title? Who has more money saved? Who has already bought a house?
These are the kinds of things we as Americans millennials (or Americans in general to be honest) become obsessed with. It’s not our faults, it’s how we are programmed. We start to compare ourselves to our friends and colleagues, which makes us become even more obsessed and consumed in our jobs. You feel like you’re behind in life or career or maybe not doing as well as other people that are your age.
I was lucky enough to have a job that I really enjoyed…genuinely I really loved what I did.
But let’s be honest, most of us don’t love our jobs. We don’t wake up amp’d to get to work. For most of us, work isn’t really what makes us happy; it’s what pays the bills. Many…many….bills.
For those of you that do wake up and are excited to get to work at 7 am on a Monday morning then congratulations; you’ve made it. You can move on to the next post. You’ve peaked.
But for the rest of us, it’s important to take a step back from the comparisons, the savings, the money, the “career” and think about what really makes you happy.
If you died tomorrow morning, would you be stoked with the life you’ve led thus far, or is there more you would have wanted to see, experience and do?
America is really the only country that thinks like this. Europeans, Australians, etc. all travel and all place a large emphasis on seeing the world and experiencing things that when they get older they probably won’t be able to. They work hard, but they place a larger emphasis on the things that actually make them happy. This is important.
Life is short, life is fragile. Make the most of it. Experience things, love people, spend the money you earn on things that make you happy (and I’m not talking about online shopping lol).
I’m a huge culprit of this, but I find it insane how people complain that traveling is too expensive, but they’ll easily drop $350 on an online shopping haul in one sitting…$350 dollars is a round trip ticket to London people.
It’s not like you’re ever going to have regrets and say “Damn, I really wish I hadn’t spent the money on that one trip/experience back then.” No.
I can promise you that will never happen.
But what is more realistic is looking back once you’re all settled and saying “Damn, I really wish I would have just gone when I had the chance.”
That’s scary as hell.
There’s no need to be completely consumed in your job, scared to take time off, scared to spend money (because god forbid you don’t have enough to afford a house in 15 years; wtf). Now is the time to be experiencing things that you won’t be able to in the same way when you get older.
You won’t be able to travel with friends with no responsibilities, backpack through Southeast Asia, stay out until 5am in Poland from a bar crawl, leave for 6 months and just see the world.
You’ll have a family and a spouse and recurring bills and property you need to take care of. Right now, we don’t have those kinds of responsibilities. This is the only time in our life that we do not have those kinds of responsibilities. No need to rush.
Am I bagging on people that got married young? No.
Absolutely not. Having a family is probably life’s greatest achievement in my opinion.
That’s what you chose and that’s your path. That’s awesome, but I’m saying for the people that aren’t settled yet and the people that don’t feel like they’re at that point in their lives yet; this is the time.
It’s CHEAP to travel the world. I lived in Los Angeles (granted, an expensive place to live) but, I shit you not, it was cheaper for me to travel than it was to stay home.
At home I pay $1,450 in rent per month. I have to fill up my tank at least 2x a month, which is another $100-$150 dollars. I have to pay utilities; another $70-80 a month. I have groceries another conservative $50-60 a week. I have Starbucks runs, online shopping hauls, gym memberships, insurance, car registration, cleaning supplies that honestly adds up…Not to mention the money I spend going out on the town and eating at restaurants in America.
shit. ain’t. cheap.
So just basing this on my flat monthly rate of $1,450 I would have spent $10,150 solely on rent in 7 months. I understand that most people don’t live in a psycho place like Santa Monica and probably spend closer to $1,000/month, so $7k for 7 months…just for a roof over your head, nothing else.
For all of our accommodations for the 7 months we spent $6,861.97. That’s including our overnight 5-star tours that we did. That’s savings of $3,288,03 by traveling for me. And for you, that’s still less than what you’d spend on your own rent assuming you spend around 1k/month.
A lot of you are probably saying “well she probably stayed in shitty cheap places”
Are you out of your damn mind. lol. If I stayed in shitty hostels for 7 months I’d go insane; anyone would. We stayed in nice hostels (mainly private rooms), airbnb’s, and 4-5 Star hotels. We switched it up.
If you plan to stay in hostels for 7 months straight then more power to ya; it would be WAY cheaper than what we spent. Or go couch surf and it’ll be free. Personally though, that’s not my jam. I like my space.
Now, once again, people are probably still in denial saying, “well she had to book flights and that’s so expensive”
In total, we took around 40 flights and they cost us a total of $2,940.21.
So, all in all, accommodation and flights for 7 months we spent $9,802.18. Still a deficit from my monthly rent. I was still saving money by traveling even with flights included lol.
Keep in mind that’s not even taking into consideration all the other expenses I have at home like cleaning supplies, groceries, insurance, car registration, gym memberships, utilities, gas and whatever else I mentioned above.
I saved money by traveling…lol. What a concept.
The hardest part was booking the flight there. After the first week, I realized how easy this was going to be financially for me. What I spent at home to fill up my gas tank once, was the same price as 1-2 flights for me lol.
Now, to be completely honest, I didn’t leave and change my lifestyle to “find myself.”
That’s a stupid thing to say in my opinion. I changed my lifestyle and left to travel the world to learn more about myself. I’ll never “find myself”. I’m always evolving; always changing. I learn new things about myself every single day and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
But did taking the risk and starting to do things that make me happy change my life? Absolutely.
I’m not the same girl I was 12 months ago. I’m completely different, I’ve learned more about myself. What I like, what I don’t like, what I value at the present moment, what’s important to me, what’s not. Stopped trying to plan my future according to what’s “expected” by society. Taking every day as it is, living in the present.
This time frame of our 20’s is a short window of opportunity. You can take it and use it how you will, but use it wisely because you’ll never get these years back.
Ever. Once in a lifetime opportunity.
Quitting your job and traveling the world is possible. In fact, it’s more than possible. Like I said, the hardest part is just making the decision to do it.
We all wonder about it and occasionally day dream about it, but very few people actually do it.
I use these years to do what makes me happy, to take advantage of those opportunities, to learn more about myself, to experience things that most people don’t because they’re bound to their desks by ball and chain. They’re too scared to take the risk to open their minds to more opportunities because it’s not what we’re programmed to do in our culture.
You have the rest of your LIFE to go to work every single day and be successful. Hell, you may even decide to start an online business on the road; who knows. Take advantage of these years. Use them to do everything you’ve always wondered about. Be creative, take risks, book the ticket, jump on the plane, move to a different state or country for a little bit, quit your job if it doesn’t make you happy, start something new. Because once you’re settled your time for that will be gone.
Your youth is fleeting; make the most of these years. They’ll be over before you know it.
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