Can’t afford to travel? C’mon,
What’s the REAL problem?
I have a lot of conversations with people in my country of origin about the obstacles preventing them from becoming full-time travelers. The subject of money tends to come up rather frequently.
“I wish I had the resources that you do.”
“I don’t have enough money to make it work.”
“I would move to a foreign country, but it’s too expensive.”
“I wouldn’t be able to ﬁnd a job.”
“I can’t afford the $110 to apply for a passport.”
Yes, really; people have said these things to me. Even that last one.
Now, I have to ask….
If I were to say to you, “I will give you one million dollars if you live in a foreign country – of your choice – for ﬁve years. You can start anytime with in the next 12 months; you just have to live in another country somewhere in the world for 5 continuous years.” And I showed you the vault full of cash, signed a contract with you, the whole nine yards — you had 100% certainty that after those 5 years, you would be a million smackeroos richer.
Do you think you might be able to come up with the $110 for your passport? How much effort would you put into lining up a job once you arrived? Is it conceivable that you might just start saving up every spare penny so that you could afford the travel and expenses until you found work?
Clearly, it’s not impossible for these people to live in a foreign country; they just don’t want to do it.
And I completely understand that. When I ﬁrst started thinking about living abroad, I didn’t want to do it, either.
But that’s not what I told people.I told people that I couldn’t live abroad because local wages in other countries were too low to afford a decent standard of living. I told people that managing accommodations in a foreign country was really tricky. I told people that there were serious safety problems in South America.
But none of that had anything to do with the real reason I didn’t want to do it.
You know how I know that?!
Because I never actually tried to solve any of those problems. I told people I couldn’t afford to travel because I would never get a job that paid a decent salary.
Yet I never researched what local wages actually were in any of the countries I planned to visit (and ironically, I never ended up getting a job after I started traveling anyway; all of my income has come from starting businesses and doing freelance work).
I told people that it was too difﬁcult to rent apartments in foreign countries, even though I had no problems using the international website Airbnb to book accommodations when I traveled within the US.
I told people that it was really unsafe to live in Latin America relative to the United States, but even a tiny bit of research would have shown that in fact the exact opposite is the case!
So clearly, none of these problems were the real reason I kept putting it off.
And deep down, I knew what the real reason was.
The real reason I didn’t want to do it was because I was afraid.
I was afraid that if I went out into the world by myself – with nothing but my own intelligence and skill to rely on – I would fail.
But as I discovered very quickly once I left my country of origin, there was never anything to be afraid of. I’m a really smart guy. And I’m resourceful. And I’m creative. And I’m incredibly handsome.
And that’s not just me blowing smoke up my own butt. Well OK, except for that last one.
But the point is, you are a lot smarter than you think. And you’re a lot more resourceful than you think. And you’re a lot more creative than you think.
And let’s be honest here; you’re probably a lot prettier than you think, too.
How do I know this? Because you think that silly problems like money or safety or politics are what’s stopping you from living abroad.
But if money was really what was stopping you, how come you haven’t opened a savings account and made monthly contributions to save up for that plane ticket?
If safety or politics was really what was stopping you, how come you haven’t reached out to people actually living in those places and asked them for the inside scoop?
If ﬁnding a job was really what was stopping you, how come you haven’t gotten in contact with local employers or job scouts to see what’s available? Why haven’t you joined a lifestyle design community to learn how to create your own location-independent business?
I don’t blame you for avoiding the real problem. The real problem makes you incredibly uncomfortable. The real problem forces you to deal with stuff that you’d much rather avoid. The real problem scares you.
And, just between us, I think it’s a good thing that you’ve waited until the right moment to deal with the real problem. You weren’t ready.