Life Of Contrasts
If you have a love for travel and do aim to do it regularly, year upon year you might find your life can become a bit of a yo-yo. One minute you’re meeting new travellers, experiencing new cultures, partying on the beach and posting a ton of photos via social media. Life is a 100mph and you don’t really see the end of the road.
As the time wears down in the last few days, you’re inevitable realisation is that this journey is at its end. You’re already planning your final hours before you hop on our flight back to civilisation. Your heat sinks, the blues are creeping up on you and you find yourself making that dreaded trip back.
Suddenly you find the volume in your life ever so turned down, the whirlwind hysteria has stopped, and people are just walking and doing normal things. It’s a bit like walking through water or a jungle, your whole surroundings just seem to be in slow motion. Life returns to normal. Before you know it you’re back home and dealing with all the things you left behind. Bills, buildings and bosses – normality kicks in.
I now tend to look at the latter in a more positive manner. If you’re hell bent on hitting the road again, maybe this time Central America, Eastern Europe or wherever, this small section of your life can be referred to as: The Saving Period.
The time when you aren’t posting hardly anything online and those amazing souls you met from all over the world are wondering what the fuck has happened to you. Well, we all have to go through it eventually, so rather than dreading it and putting it off, let’s embrace it and get through it together. Here are some pointers to get yourself through it.
Travel Has To Be Secondary
Essentially you have to stop thinking about travelling so much that your life during the Saving Period is all you think about. Travel has to be secondary. Your mindset has to be completely focused on what is immediately in front of you, otherwise time will drag and you’ll be wishing your life away. It’s important to build up the want, and need for travel again, and no other better more brutal way to do that is to live a life of normality.
Embrace The Peace
Find your comforts again. Find that Netflix series you will devote your time too, look forward to sleeping in a quieter more comfier bed. Look foreword to routine, as much as you may hate that thought now, routine won’t be forever. Get used to it and EMBRACE it.
Switch off your smartphone, just a little. Keeping online looking at what others are doing will only make you resentful of what you’re not doing. Stay offline a little more. Don’t grab your phone the first thing on the morning, and don’t worry about what’s going on during the day at work. Focus on you.
Get back into your hobbies or find a new hobby! Learn a language, study a course, join a club or a gym. Try something. Old hobbies could be playing sport, yoga, reading, playing music – whatever it is. Keep your days filled up with things you enjoy socially. When you finish work look forward to going home and doing something like this. You don’t need to be spending money, or going out all the time, you’ve done all that and better with your travels. You aren’t really missing out. If anything you’ve exhausted your social life recently because of your travels. Don’t feel guilty.
Find yourself a ‘winter’ partner. This maybe easier said that done, but with all the apps nowadays such as Tinder, you maybe can find someone to keep you in at night. Perhaps friends with benefits? Call it what you like but having company certainly gives you less reason to go out and spend money – plus you’ll have a great time together!
Do the boring stuff. If you hadn’t travelled you’d probably think why would it be good to encourage being boring? Well think of it, your life isn’t boring at all. In fact it’s the opposite. My mother once said to me when I returned from South America. “Don’t worry about having to do something all the time, it’s ok do the boring things, because in your life your always doing something, relax for a bit.” So if you want to take that extra nap, go to bed early or even just work a little more, do it! Bigger things are on the horizon.
Enjoy your work. This is key. You’ve had so many days, weeks, months off on the road, and that was amazing right? No responsibility nor getting up early for the morning commute. Well, after all that time you might surprise yourself and want to do something productive. Work will fill that void. It’s common knowledge travelling actually helps you become more focused at work and eager to actually WANT to work. Why? Because it’s mixing it up. You’ve experienced what many don’t travelling, you’ve gotten that off your chest (for now) and you don’t feel guilty anymore for not living. You know you can go to work feeling accomplished if seeing the world. You might even feel guilty for not working in all that time, which will even better for your work rate and your employer. It’s common that employers generally in some countries (maybe not the US) actually look positively on employees who have travelled. It gives you that worldly edge. Take advantage of that!
Build A Treasure Chest
Start the savings. Money makes the world go around there is no denying that. It isn’t everything as I’m sure you’ve learnt travelling, especially when you see locals in poorer countries such as Africa or Asia who don’t need money to be happy. BUT let’s be honest, if you want to travel again, you need to earn some money. It’s a lot easier for you if you’re earning in a western country, as currencies are stronger to allow you a great conversion rate especially with the US Dollar, Sterling, Euro, AUS/NZ/CAD for example. Save money for what means you have to travel. To elaborate on this point here are some mini tips.
Living & Saving Tips
If you can stay somewhere for cheap or for free. Parents, friends, family – not paying (much) rent will certainly help you save quicker. Staying in cheaper accommodation without ALL of your luxuries will help.
If it’s possible, don’t use a car. This will depend on your situation. If you can manage fine without paying gas, insurance and everything else then do without! It will cut costs dramatically. If you need your car then so be it, but drive less.
Change your food routine. You may have got used to buying food travelling but you’re back in the real world now. Cook your own food, or maybe eat less.
Invest in something short term for the better long term. That could be buying a video game console or paying for boot camp classes up front. These things will keep you in a social routine that you may have to fork out for first but it will keep you busy and prevent you from sporadically trying to find something to do to fill up your time. This will be a great way at saving money in the long run.
Curb the nights out. Sure go home and reunite with your friends and family, but after that do you need to go out partying every weekend? I mean, even if you do, keep it cheap. Limit the nights out, pre drink (bottles of wine are great) and only go out if you genuinely want to. You can do what you want. Saving your nights out saves you money, which keeps you ready for your travels.
Sleep longer! It maybe a basic tip but the more you sleep and catch up from them late nights on the road, the less time or chance you have spending and more time of saving!
Take up a second temp job or crush the overtime! This might sound a lot of work but it actually could be a lot of fun. If you’re working in a office 9-5 job full time, why not take a more relaxed and social job of being a bar tender. I mean, it kills two birds with one stone. You get some extra pocket money on the side AND you get to fulfil that social fix you might crave for per week. If you’ve got something going online such as writing, selling (perhaps eBay) or whatever that is perfect too! Double bubble for money baby!
Go on microadventures. You probably haven’t explored your own country much have you? Alastair Humphreys came up with this term in reference to forms and trends of travel. Basically, keep things local and go on mini trips, as these don’t take much saving. It could be a camping weekend an hour from your house, or perhaps a mini road trip down a beautiful scenic road. Keep that lust for travel fresh, do something new. Once you’ve travelled distances afar, you’ll notice that ANYWHERE is a travel destination, you just need a open mind like yours to realise that!
Finally, baby step plan your next trip. Book your flight early perhaps, or put the first chunk of your wages in your savings, or join a Facebook group to pre-empt your excitement. You’re getting there all in good time, the saving is coming along and you will travel again!
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