Ever wanted to travel the world but second-guessed yourself? How many excuses can you come up with when you think, “I want to travel the world?” I bet you’ve used up all the fingers in your hands for the count. You’re not alone, and when it comes to long-term travel, everyone has a dozen reasons why they can’t. For people who have never traveled longer than a month they have some misconceptions about Round-The-World travel and what makes it not possible. Here we’ll go over the reasons you can’t just pull the trigger and take that leap.
1 – The Gap in my Resume Will Put an End to my Career
This is not the 50s through 80s anymore. There has been a massive paradigm shift in thinking. It is now very common to have quality employees with gaps or massive gaps in their CVs and Resumes. Even hiring managers and potential employers have taken long sabbaticals. The crash in 2008 has left a lot of quality employees with massive gaps in their resumes as well, and they are back in the saddle. You’re not alone.
So let’s pretend you’re a hiring manager. You have two choices in potential hires. One has been collecting unemployment the other traveled around the world collecting experiences and gaining worldly knowledge. One has been sitting at home sucking up on the welfare system while the other may have volunteered to help starving children in Africa, learned a new language, or learned about new cultures that you have never even heard about. Who then would you hire?
The trick with any interviews is to turn a potential negative into a positive. Talk about what you’ve learned. Talk about how your travels made you a better person and what those experiences you gained traveling brings to the table. Turn potential employers into believers.
2 – I am Too Old to Go on an RTW Trip and Stay at Hostels
Nonsense. I was 38 years old when I started traveling long-term. I hit rock bottom, lost, with no particular direction to where I’m going with the rest of my life. Having spent the better part of it pursuing the so-called American dream, none of it made me happy or fulfilled. I decided to wake up from that dream and live my life of adventure in reality.
Since then, I’m 42 now, I have slept on multiple stranger’s couches (no, kick your dirty mind off, Couch Surfing!). Stayed in more youth hostels than I care to count. Shared kitchens, bunk beds, and bathrooms with college students. Partied and bar hopped with a bunch of 20-year-olds in over 50 countries. You will have camaraderie with travelers that transcends beyond time and age. Nobody cares that you’re 50 or 75 years old traveler sleeping in dorms at hostels. People who don’t travel have a warped misconception about hostels. They think it’s dirty and full kids who have sex with each other in bunk beds. While some of it might be true. The truth is it’s better than hotels, and you can meet a lot of people there you can connect with regardless of age.
3 – It’s Very Expensive to Travel, and I Don’t Have Enough Money
If you’re traveling or “vacationing” for a week or two at a time like the majority of Americans do, then yes it’s true. If you compound and add up the expenses for these week(s), you will probably come up with a very high dollar figure that’s probably enough to squash your long-term travel dream. But, long-term travel is different than a week vacation.
You are not staying in posh hotels sipping may Tai at the beach. The approach, priorities, and reasons are entirely different. You don’t have to be a trust-fund baby to afford round-the-world travel. I’ve met travelers with no more than $500 to their name and a small backpack that have circled the globe multiple times.
The problem with our society is that we don’t treat travel or being worldly as important as owning, a house or saving up for college, or getting married. I know some people who spend more than $50k on their wedding, which is a one-time event in life and has a 50% failure (divorce) rate in the future! How is that more reasonable than $10-20k expense in one to two years to round-the-world travel that provide you with fantastic memories of moments in time for the rest of your life?
Sure the fancy car or SUV might look good as a trophy in your garage. You might even turn heads as you cruise down the street. But, have you ever heard of anyone reminiscing about that moment in time when they cruised down the street with their Lamborghini? You will have to make sacrifices and give up some comforts when you travel long-term, but you don’t need a lot of money. You can volunteer, Couch surf, house sit, teach English, and work odd gigs to keep on traveling. Once on the road out there, you will find various creative ways to make money and may even find free accommodation.
4 – I Don’t Have Time
Time and money are the two biggest excuses people give for not taking an extended trip. Unfortunately, for those of us who live in the US, most of merely, do not have the vacation days to take more than a week or two at a time. While it is not as simple as taking your vacation, you would be shocked at what you might be able to work out with your employers.
Why not ask for an extended leave of absence? It’s that simple. You can reason that it’s for your mental health. What do you have to lose? If you want to leave your job or to want to change careers, a long-term adventure around the world gives you the freedom that you can’t have a 9-5. I had a 2-month break from between contracts and decided to take off to travel. While traveling, a friend contacted me for .NET development gig that I can do at home. I happened to be in Romania at the time (which had excellent internet infrastructure), and I was able to continue traveling while still earning an income to fund my travels.
The point is, you’ll never know until to take that first bold step. You may find you have a skill you can hone and use while on the road like web development, teaching, freelance, writing, photography, and hey you might even start a blog and earn some income from it.
5 – It’s Too Dangerous to Travel Internationally
Yet all the slate of recent terror attacks you’ll see in the media lately about Europe, like cars being driven into a crowd in Las Ramblas, in Barcelona. A trolley being rammed into swathes of people in Nice during Bastille Day. This is still the dumbest statement I’ve ever heard in my life. This is a myth! Stop watching all the negative news and ignore the stupid media. They exaggerate things to make things worse than they are. You are more likely to be struck by a car in your neighborhood than being mauled by something or somebody overseas.
Read blogs (like this one); follow somebody who has been traveling the world on Instagram or Twitter. You will find many people hanging around in these so-called dangerous places reported by the media. Do not let fear dictate what you do in life.
6 – I Have Kids or Pets. I Can’t Travel Long-Term With Kids or Pets
Another myth. It is all about your mindset. There are plenty, and I mean plenty, to families who travel and have been doing it for years at a time. It is probably not easy; I personally never traveled with kids because I have none. However, I will certainly do it when it I have kids of my own. I would want my children to experience new cultures and learn different things they would not otherwise get from regular education. I can homeschool my kids or send them to school abroad. They would learn different ways to have a happy childhood – they do not need material things.
Having pets will make your travel logistics a bit difficult, but it shouldn’t stop you. You’ll have to do some advanced planning, or maybe you can find a willing family member to take care of your pet while you travel. But why not just travel with your pet!
Family travel is more challenging than Solo Travel, but you will probably bond with your wife/husband and children in better ways than traditional families. Your whole family will learn invaluable education and skills acquired from traveling the world together. You will experience things better than other families bogged down by enormous debts and mortgages.
7 – I am a Woman/LGBT. It is Too Dangerous to Travel Solo
You will probably end up giving your parents a heart attack if you travel the world by yourself. It is understandable. As Bilbo Baggins says: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Yes, female travelers do have to be more vigilant than males or couples. However, if you are sly and armed nun chucks, who is going to bother you? Just do your due homework and exercise extra caution to put mom and dad at ease.
There are undoubtedly many solo women travelers out there doing just fine. Just enter “Solo Female Travel” in Google search, and it will return over 74 million results! You will find solo female travelers from all walks of life and some as old as 70 still exploring the world. The point is, gender, sexual orientation, age, and skin color should not be a hindrance to long-term travel.
8 – Everyone Hates Americans
Dear fellow Americans, we aren’t gettin’ no love abroad. Just telling people, you are an American makes people from other country’s faces cringe. The Donald is not making things better either. We have it rougher than different nationalities around the world. However, this is our chance the change that perception. I have been to many places that have negative opinions of Americans, but these are also places that welcomed me as the individual most!
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You must behave, be friendly and be more empathetic and humble. Do not go around boasting how great America is and how right you are to do this or that. Take your politics aside and treat people like people because, in the end, we are not citizens of a specific country. We are all citizens of the Earth, and we have to live on this planet together.
9 – My Health Insurance Won’t Cover Me
I worked in the Healthcare industry once and knew how insanely expensive it is in the US. There is even a single treatment of a drug out there that cost almost a million per! You probably think that we have the best healthcare in the world, which is why it is so expensive. This could not be further from the truth. In some developed countries, healthcare is flat-out free. As it should be. It should be a given right to any citizens of the country to live a healthy life. These benefits even extend to foreigners visiting the country.
Of course, traveling without your insurance is risky. A catastrophic event might not be covered by your policy – like being airlifted out of active volcano you fell into from a recent hike. However, anything like the flu or a bacterial infection that you contracted from kissing a random person from a night out of a drunken stupor, it is no big deal. You can show up to any doctor who likely doesn’t speak English and get treatment at low costs. Most pharmacies in some countries have lax drug policies and sell most medicine over the counter with a prescription. You will have to do your research and take things under caution.
10 – I Have Way Too Much Stuff to Leave Behind
The only thing that makes us rich are experiences, not things. Your TV and your multitude of furniture and knick-knacks won’t make that lasting impression in your life. When’s the last time you recalled an excellent time with your beautiful coffee table? Many years from now you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do or try. You’ll be surprised how happier you are if you have less “stuff.” Invest your time in minimalism and start keeping only the things that are important and have a legitimate function in your life. You’ll be amazed at how much time and money you will save for more important things like adventure and travel!
11 – Planning Sucks/I’m Too Lazy to Plan
Well, this is a lame excuse. I’m the worst planner in the history of humankind, but I managed to pull out fine out of 56 countries. I even ended back on several of them several times because I did not plan it too well. However, let me tell you. The best experiences and discoveries I ever had was when I did not intend to visit place A or country B. I love the random things that I come across and all the casual friendships and the discoveries that come out of it.
A two-month break between contracts a couple of years ago led me to find a cheap flight deal to Bucharest. I bought it a minute later and found myself wandering the streets of Bucharest a few days later. Nothing was planned. I had an idea, but I went in there with the intention of discovering what is in store for me next. I ended up staying in Romania for almost three months!
While long-term travel may not be for everyone but for those of us who dream it, we often find ourselves issuing roadblocks and reasons why we cannot. These excuses are often a product of our fears that are not real. Once you gather the gumption to take the first steps, you will find that “there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”