There’s a lot of books and articles out there on how to save money for travel. All of them require you to plan, be detail oriented, and budget like an expert accountant. They banter on about steps and exercises to cut your expenditures to reach some milestones of saving money you’ll be happy with. Well, I could never follow the points these articles detail out because they require you to keep a detailed account of every expenditure.
You just spent $5 on a latte? Got to enter that on the spreadsheet. Did you go out to the local pub with your buddies last Thursday night? Track it on the spreadsheet. Did you go out to eat at a restaurant instead of cooking your own meal yesterday? Better start buying groceries in bulk at Costco and put those entries on the spreadsheet. Did you get a Thai Massage around the corner? Paid a little extra for a happy ending? Track it on the spreadsheet.
Unfortunately, I’m just not detail oriented enough when it comes to tracking where each penny went. I suck at accounting too. In fact, I had to drop my accounting course 3 times in University because I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough in class to complete it. I suck at planning too. 80% of my travel is done spontaneously or impromptu. I toss a coin in the air to decide which country I would visit next. Whenever I sat down and write up a detailed plan only 20% of the original plan ever comes to fruition.
But what I lack in planning and detail orientation I make up for it with sheer willpower. I can quit cold turkey on just about anything. It’s a good thing since I have an addictive personality. After all, I’m addicted to caffeine. I’m addicted to travel. I once smoked 6 cigarettes a day for 2 months as an experiment (dumb I know) just to prove that I can quit cold turkey and never touch cigarettes again. And I did just that.
So what does addiction and going cold turkey’s got anything to do with travel?
In America, we’re addicted to a different kind of drug. Sure, there’s a lot of people here that are addicted to sugar (which kills a lot more than nicotine) and some are even addicted to crack. But what I’m talking about is “consumer addiction.” Our society is teaching us, on a mass scale, that we can only define ourselves by what we own and what we buy since the day we were born.
Do you remember those Saturday morning cartoons you used to watch? It brainwashed you into consumerism. When you went to school you were compared to other kids on what you have or don’t have regarding toys, clothes, electronics, etc., All meant to for you to buy into the system that you have to have more than the other person. What about the Superbowl? Millions flock to their TV screens every year in February to watch insane amounts of commercials. Can’t afford it? Use one of the 3 or 6 credit cards you own and pay no interest for six months. Take out a loan. Buy. Buy. The media is churning up consumer so much addicts in a mass scale, it’s scary.
Having grown up in a third world country and traveled a great deal to poorer countries in Eastern Europe and South America, I see how people get by with so much less. They only purchase and keep the things they need or use. We have more than enough and then buy some more. Stuffing our houses and rooms with things we never actually use or need. Our consumerism is feeding the machine that creates a vast discrepancy of wealth across the world. Big corporations keep worker wages low while encouraging you to buy more and overpaying their CEOs in the millions.
Addicted to Stuff.
I do understand that some (if not most) people are just into material things. I’m not against that. Hell, I bought a motorcycle so I can spruce it up and ride in style in the Pacific Coast and go on random adventures with it. If you’d rather show off your shiny new BMW driving it down Lombard street in San Francisco than be cramped in slow train towards Sibiu, Romania so you can walk down its medieval cobblestoned streets, then hey go for it. To each his or her own. However, I’m in in the line of thinking that life is about collecting moments, not things. Because when I’m old, many years from now, I want to remember my epic adventures. Not the things I owned.
Now obviously if everyone in America goes cold turkey from spending, everything will fall apart. Corporations will not exist if there’s no one buying that next gen phone with all the cool apps that go with it. If no one buys cars, use credit cards, or take out loans. There would be no economy. The biggest thing that fuels our economy is Borrowing and spending. And our economy is the biggest in the world, or maybe not, we’re the biggest consumers of China’s goods – the biggest suppliers of the drug. There will always be addicts and there will always be suppliers. Just like drug dealers supplying crack, big food corporations supplying sugar laden junk foods, and cigarettes companies lacing cigs with more nicotine.
A Never Ending Cycle.
Unfortunately, most of us also get our money from these corporations because we work for them. It’s a never-ending cycle that’s constantly feeding on itself. A cycle that, hopefully, you are willing to break. And the only way to do that is to go cold turkey. Stop buying things you don’t need. You’d be amazed at how much money you’ve saved if you one day you just decided to say fuck it all and drop materialism. These things you’re buying. You don’t own them. They own you. The mortgage, the car loans, and the credit card debts are kryptonite to travel.
Take a Stand Now.
Say you’ve had enough. Seek meaningful experiences, not things. It’s really easy to save a lot of money for travel. You don’t even have to get a second job. Quit cold turkey from your consumer addiction. Quut cold turkey from your $6 Starbucks Latte. You can get make the same thing at home for a fraction and some people don’t even make $6 in parts of the world. Quit cold turkey on television that’s urging you to buy that brand new car. That brand new car that needs a bigger garage and your living room can’t accommodate that 65-inch flat screen TV prompting you to take out a bigger mortgage. Quit cold turkey from over consumption. Live within your means. Buy only things you need or use.
Quit cold turkey from over consumption. Live within your means. Buy only things you need or use. You’ll do our environment a big favor. Purchasing more stuff means we’re also discarding more stuff. Our landfills are filling the stuff you discarded wasn’t made with the best environmental standards. Recycling and upcycling require a lot of energy, pushing out more C02 emissions.
Once you Quit Cold Turkey.
You’ll start noticing changes in your psyche and bank account within weeks. You’ll find a whole new level of zen. Eventually, it will lead you to embrace minimalism. You’ll notice less clutter in your apartment or home. Less clutter in your life. You won’t envy the person driving the Porsche down the highway at 100 miles per hour anymore. Commercials have less pull on you when you see it. You’ll start dreaming of adventures. You might even start to travel and explore a different country and find it can be a passion. You might even become addicted to travel and guess what? Now you have the means to feed your new addiction from all the money you gained from going cold turkey from the other addiction.
ARE YOU CONSUMER ADDICT? DO YOU WANT TO QUIT COLD TURKEY?