It was almost two years ago that I found a remote job, sold all of my stuff, and jumped on the first flight out of London on a one-way ticket to a blissful destination that I like to call ‘total freedom’.
My digital nomad dream became a reality in the process, and it was as epic as I’d envisioned!
But then coronavirus hit, made international travel an impossibility, and forced me (and countless other nomads and travelers out there) to pack up and come ‘home’. Now, with borders closed and the airline and tourist industries in chaos, you can’t help but wonder if travel, at least as we knew it, will ever be the same again.
Honestly, the whole shebang’s left me feeling bereft! However, if the incomparable craziness of COVID’s taught me anything, it’s this:
To travel while you can, when you can, and without delaying it for a single, solitary second.
When the global lockdown eventually lifts and international travel becomes as easy and accessible as it was before, I’d encourage everybody to act on their travel plans ASAP. Want to find out why?
Keep reading for 7 key incentives to travel while you can- and not a second later.
1. Life Is Short
There’s a quote I like that goes something along the lines of this:
“Life is nothing but a thin strip of light between two eternities of darkness.”
Whenever I think of it I remind myself of two things:
First, how lucky I am to be alive. And second, how important it is to make the most of whatever time I have available. As morbid as it seems, none of us know how much longer we’ve got. We could be struck by lightning or hit by a bus the next time we walk out the front door!
I know, it’s super clichéd, but the only thing that truly makes sense is to seize the moment, live in the here-and-now, and strive to experience life to its fullest.
Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next year. And definitely not in 5 years’-time. Now.
And so with travel plans. All too many people postpone them. They put them off, off, and off, for one reason or another, in favor of less enjoyable stuff.
Don’t do it.
Never assume there’ll always be time for travel later on in life- there might not! If you feel any sense of wanderlust within you, then make it happen ASAP, without delay, and while you still can.
Try to figure out what you’re doing with your life and travel while you can.
2. You Never Know What’s Around the Corner
I suppose this point leads on from the last.
Basically, we really don’t ever know what’s going to happen next. We like to think we do and make a whole lot of plans in the process. But it’s the whole ‘best-laid plans of mice and men’ shebang.
In reality, we’re clutching at straws and hoping for the best.
Just look at coronavirus. I had my travel plans all sorted out at the start of this year!
Australia until late February, Bali until March, Vietnam for a month, and then India until mid-May before heading back to the UK to see family. I got as far as Vietnam without any issues, booked my flights for India, and then, the very next day, was told it had shut its borders to foreigners.
Both my flights and travel plans went out the window in one fell swoop. Great. I’m sure countless others found themselves in the same situation.
Can you imagine postponing your travels for years, planning them out to a tee, and then, when they’re finally around the corner, having them snatched away by something entirely out of your control?!
That, for me, is the single most important reason to travel while you can, when you can. Don’t, and something might happen that takes the decision out of your hands.
3. Old Age Can Be Challenging
Not everyone likes getting old.
I know it’s not all bad. I mean, you get wiser, you watch your family grow up, you chill out a lot…and you get a free bus pass.
Other than those silver linings, though, it all is pretty uncertain. For one thing, you’re literally closer to departing this world. And the process of getting to that ever-looming end date isn’t always pleasant either.
You could become more fatigued, prone to injury and ill health, and you could lose life-giving senses, such as your hearing and eyesight. Even people with decades of life ahead of them lack the energy, vibrancy, and luster of youth.
And those aren’t great news as far as travel’s concerned.
I mean, none of what I just described exactly lends itself to adventure!
Yet all too many of us choose to delay our travels until retirement. We confine our adventures to the final third of life, thinking we’ll have more time to enjoy it. But the experience is always, by force of circumstance, different from what it would have been in your 20s.
You’re tired, risk-averse, and in greater need of creature comforts (like these fun RV accessories!). So travel now! Don’t put it off until you’re older.
Make the most of your youth while you still have it. Forge your memories ASAP so that you can grow, mature, and take them with you into the future.
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4. ‘Real Life’ Is Overrated
Another common reason people postpone their travels is to get stuck into ‘real life’.
You know the deal:
Uni/college, job, house, career, marriage, kids…all that jazz.
It makes sense too. I mean, this has been the classic route through life for, like, ever. Society’s been built on this linear trajectory through life. Naturally, then, we get sold on it from the very start.
In fact, you can buy into the idea so much that it blinds you to the alternatives! Routes through life that don’t take you along the quickest route to a well-paid job and predictable salary are frowned upon in some circles.
I, for one, though, can’t think of anything more boring.
It’s all just so ordinary- not to mention a trap. Take the typical route through like and you’re sure to get stuck at some point. After all, you take on new responsibilities at every turn. You get a mortgage, ask someone to marry you, and have kids.
Before long, you’ve got no other choice but to keep it all up, continuing down the path you’re on; unable to deviate, step back, and try something new. You talk yourself out of once-held dreams and aspirations in the process.
And travel’s off the cards once and for all.
Until retirement that is, which, as I noted above- given your ailing bones and greying hair- isn’t ideal as far as having an exotic adventure is concerned.
Don’t do it. Don’t get sucked in! Travel now, soon, and preferably when you’re young and bursting with enthusiasm for life. Wait too long and you’ll get embroiled in the banality of ordinary existence.
5. Traveling’s Downright Incredible
Let’s not forget how darn awesome travel is too. Seriously, this is, ultimately, the best incentive I know for doing it whenever you can and without hesitation.
Imagine if I came along and offered you an experience that would change your life.
I’d describe how this experience would send you to the most beautiful locations around the globe, surround you with incredible new faces, thrust you into scintillating new cultures, and make you a better person.
I’d explain that this experience would make you more employable upon your return, give you a newfound appreciation of your place in the world, and imbue you with self-confidence and maturity, all at once.
Most people would bite my arm off for it.
And, guess what, the incredible experience I just described is, of course, travel.
Go do it, whenever you next can and see for yourself just how amazing it can be. I can almost guarantee that you’ll berate yourself for not having done it sooner.
6. Live Without Regrets
Imagine fast-forwarding to the end of your life.
You’re sat in a rocking chair, staring out at the world with a vacant gaze as you reflect back on years gone by. Are you proud of, and satisfied with, the decisions you made along the way? Or are you filled with regret at the opportunities you missed?
However far away it may be, everybody wants to get to that rocking chair moment and feel nothing but contentment. For most people, though, my guess is that they’ll be met with outcome ‘b’ instead- sadness and regret at time misspent and cautious decisions made from a place of fear.
Don’t be that person!
Live fully now. Those three words will save you a lifetime of regret and misery. Once again, make the most of the moment, seize the opportunities that come your way, and travel the world ASAP if it’s something on your bucket list.
7. You Don’t Need as Much Money as You Think
Ooo, the big one.
Money. The bane of any budget traveler’s life and an excuse for millions of people every year to postpone travel.
I’ll be honest. You do need it if you’re going to hop on a plane and explore the world.
And, I’ll be even more honest, having a fair amount of it on the road is always helpful- especially if you’re planning to travel for any reasonable period of time.
But, and it’s an almighty but, having lots of money isn’t essential.
You can save up a few hundred bucks, get on a plane, and find yourself a job when you arrive in the country. It’s a risk, but it’s possible. Save up a thousand bucks and you can travel (albeit cheaply) for weeks on end and with no need to work.
Please don’t postpone your travels just because you aren’t rolling in cash. You don’t need an endless supply of it to explore the world. Remember, you could save up for years to a point where you finally feel like you have enough, only for something to happen (like coronavirus) that snatches the possibility of travel away.
Don’t let it happen!
Work hard, save fast, go to cheap countries, get used to roughing it a bit, and you’ll travel for months/years on end, having the time of your life in the process.
Time to Travel While You Can
I’ve been reflecting on my love for travel ever since covid-19 took it off the table.
You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, right?!
The whole scenario made me realize a) how grateful I am for having had two years of amazing adventures, and b) how important it is to act on your travel desires as soon as they emerge before something happens that makes them impossible.
Unfortunately, all too many people postpone their plans- sometimes indefinitely- and miss out on the endless advantages of travel as a result. Hopefully, this post will convince you to go the other way; to travel while you can, when you can, and without delay. Trust me, you won’t regret it!