It’s been said that 80% of people HATE their jobs. Eighty percent!! That’s just ‘not’ awesome.
Despite their hatred, they feel obligated to have them so they can stay on the treadmill — go to work so they can pay the bills, and maybe buy a few nice things, a bigger house a nicer car, some toys and gadgets and ‘doo-dads’ (in the words of Robert Kiyosaki.)
Or they might be struggling under the burden of debt — not just consumer debt, but from student loans they acquired in college to get that degree that was supposed to get them a high paying career (but that they probably don’t even use now in their line of work.)
They also have a mortgage, and car payments and insurance and… well, you get the point.
Meanwhile, their family relationships are struggling since dad (and maybe mom) spend all their time and work, spending more time with their co-workers than they do with their spouse.
In the United States, the divorce rate is around 60%, in large part due to these overworked, under-appreciated, over-burdened lifestyles that lack purpose, fun and fulfillment.
When families are together, they’re not really ‘together’ — they’re watching TV or on Facebook or texting their friends instead of enjoying quality ‘face time’ and deepening relationships through meaningful communication. Is it any wonder that many families are falling apart?
Our lives are empty and used up, our dreams dead or dying, our souls starved… all in the name of ‘paying the bills’ (because really that’s what it comes down to.)
Is the exchange rate worth it?
No! It’s not. This is not how life is meant to be lived.
You should be traveling instead.
Yes, it’s true. I really believe it. Your life will be better lived if you spent more if it traveling and less of it at a job you hate, or collecting MORE stuff that you really don’t need.
Your family relationships will be better, your mind will be more active, your life will be more fulfilling. Travel is the panacea for most of what ails you.
Now of course, travel is NOT a ‘cure all’. It won’t solve all your problems (in fact, travel can sometimes amplify those problems, forcing you to face them head on.)
But what I mean by ‘you should be traveling instead’ comes down to where your priorities should be. Travel represents a life in balance.
It represents a life focused on experiencing instead of possessing. It represents learning first-hand, instead of just reading about it. It represents collecting memories instead of more stuff. Travel represents getting out there and living life, instead of watching it happen on a box in your living room.
It’s easy to let life pass you buy while you run the rat race. Before you know it, your kids are gone, your house is falling apart, your spouse is leaving, because you lived in a daze. Seize this moment! Go explore. (Makes you want to schedule a flight with Air Canada to that destination in Europe you’ve been dreaming about, doesn’t it?)
Most people dream of traveling. Even individuals living on far off islands imagine visiting some place like New York or London… one day. The desire to explore is a fundamental human impulse. (And those who say they don’t want to travel are usual basing that decision off fear of the unknown, and their ability — or lack of it — to handle change and unfamiliarity.)
But why don’t we do it? Usually it’s because we place more importance on material investment than on personal investment… aka we buy too much stuff, it keeps us anchored, by “that chain of possessions wherewith men bind themselves and beneath which they sink,” so of course we can’t travel.
In the words of Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding, “The more our life options get paraded around as consumer options, the more we forget that there’s a difference between the two. Thus, having convinced ourselves that buying things is the only way to play an active role in the world, we fatalistically conclude that we’ll never be rich enough to purchase a long-term [or even short-term] travel experience.
Fortunately, the world need not be a consumer product. As with environmental integrity, long-term travel isn’t something you buy into: it’s something you give to yourself.
Indeed, the freedom to go vagabonding has never been determined by income level, but through simplicity. — the conscious decision of how to use what income you have.” (Read the full post.)
What makes travel possible is knowing that neither self nor wealth can be measured in terms of what you consume or own… but in how you spend your time.
So with this slight rebuttal to the excuse, “I can’t afford to travel” (which is the excuse most people use, you know you do!), lets talk about why YOU should do it… why EVERYBODY should do it.
Why, you ask?
Because travel has a way of slowing you down, rousing you out of your sleep, jerking you out of your daily routines, and forcing you to see life in a new way.
Travel helps you recognize that:
- Time is wealth — all you really own is your time, and determining what you do with it creates your wealth — either material or psychological. The more you travel, the more you realize that even the most luxurious possessions can’t compare to the enjoyment you get by discovering new places, learning new things and uncovering something new about yourself. Scientific research has revealed that spending time and money on experiences brings more long term happiness than buying stuff.
- Living simply equals more — When you travel (especially long-term), simplicity becomes an absolute necessity. It keeps you from collecting new things, but increases your amount of new experiences. You have more time to focus on doing something fulfilling, instead of taking care of something material.
- This moment is all you have — Travel is intoxicating because it sucks you into the here and now. You’re not thinking about your ‘to do’ list when you’re hiking to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan. You’re there, feeling the sun on your back, the wind in your face, the burn in your thighs. You’re capturing a mental picture. We need more moments like this in our life.
- You need to slow down — one advantage of travel (as opposed to tourism or vacationing) is that it allows you to slow down and get into the groove of a place. Free from tight itineraries and social expectations, we begin to have the kinds of experiences that we miss in our daily rush to check off our ‘to-do’ lists (or must-see attractions.) Unless we learn to pace ourselves and relish the daily moments, we’re scamming ourselves out of all the joy that life offers.
- You can redefine reality — “Mexico is too dangerous,” you hear again and again. Travel helps you to decide for yourself through personal experience (as you visit and get ‘attacked’ by friendly people who open their hearts and homes.) You begin to make your own decisions about ‘how things really are,’ and more importantly, re-apply that wisdom to life in general. What other things do you believe about ‘the way things are’ that might be false?
Naturally, these benefits aren’t limited only to travel. We can live incredible lives anytime, anywhere, when we focus on putting these principles into practice.
Now, if you’re wondering how to live a life of travel, even though you don’t know how, then you should definitely click the link.
What benefits have you discovered from traveling?
Mother of five amazing kids, author, family travel expert and full-time traveler. Besides writing about their family travel adventures, Rachel also shares information on The Art of Family Travel, how to Fund Your Lifestyle, and is co-author of the popular book, Living Deliberately: How to Create a Ridiculously Awesome Life.