“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” – Alan Keightley
Interested in traveling the world and living life on your own terms? Me too.
Oftentimes people ask me how travel has affected my life, and I haven’t always known how to answer these questions. I usually ended up saying something trite (“It’s been amazing!”) before realizing that the better solution was to tell a few stories.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that travel has had a tremendous impact on my life. It’s hard to know where to begin, but I’d point to a few overall categories.
General knowledge: I’m certainly not an expert on every country or region, but I do have a decent surface knowledge of most parts of the planet. I could quickly name the capital city for just about every country (after all, I’ve probably been there). I’m no specialist but I do know a little about almost everywhere.
A mix of restlessness and contentment: I’ve learned through travel that you can be at peace wherever you are or you can be restless wherever you are. I’m often a bit of both. I like being on the go. Before I come home from a trip I start planning the next one.
Some amount of cross-cultural awareness: I make a lot of mistakes, but I like to think I’m generally aware of how to behave in different settings. I’ve introduced a number of “foreign” practices into my life at home and around the world. I hand people business cards with two hands (Japan), I don’t wear shoes in my house (much of Asia), and my favorite meals are Indian or Pakistani.
Courage: Probably the most important way that travel has impacted my life is that it’s brought me courage. I’m a worrier by nature, even when things are going well. Through travel, though, I learned that things will usually be okay—and even when they won’t, I can regroup and keep making progress another way.
I’ve learned as much from the mistakes and misadventures as I have from the times that everything went as planned. I can’t imagine what I’d be doing if I hadn’t pursued life outside my doors and beyond my comfort zone.
Here are some great resources to help you get started:
- 17 Travel Hacking Tips for People Who Value Their Time and Sanity: The title says it all – this guest post by Austin Church is sure to save you some headaches!
- How to Earn 250,000 Frequent Flyer Miles in a Year: An Action Plan: Want to learn how you can earn 250,000 miles in a year? Here’s an action plan to help you get started!
- 4 Travel Hacking Tricks for Domestic Trips: If you’re looking for ways to use travel hacking for more domestic trips, this is a great resource to help you get started.
- 8 Easy Actions to Kickstart Your Way to Free Travel: When you aren’t sure where to begin, start at the beginning! This page has a lot of great resources for someone starting out with travel hacking.
- A Better Way to Think About Traveling for Nearly Free: Here are a few general rules or guidelines that I found to work for me to help you get started on your path to nearly free travel.
- The Best Travel Hacking Advice for People Who Can’t Get Credit Cards: Credit cards are an easy way to earn a big boost of miles and points in many different programs, but they aren’t the only way.
- You Don’t Have to Be Uncomfortable to Have an Authentic Travel Experience: Traveling on the super-cheap can be fun in its own way, but it’s also okay to enjoy a different kind of travel.
- Travel Hacking Resources: The absolute “Motherload” of all Travel Hacking information from credit cards to how to use all of those miles and points you are certain to earn.
- 11 Travel Hacking Tips, Stories, and Ideas Combined into One Post: This post is a “greatest hits” mashup of travel hacking tips, travel stories and features. Take a look and see if anything might be helpful to you.
If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some great profile pieces that I’ve featured on my blog from people who have found their own unconventional travel paths:
- Long-Term Travel Through Five Continents: The story of how one woman found a way to incorporate her love for yoga and travel by sharing her knowledge and experience of yoga and spiritual practice with yogis worldwide
- How Traveling Can Change Your Life: Traveling can truly change your perspective on life, and in this travel profile, one corporate worker describes three interactions in her travels that changed her perspective forever.
- How to Talk to People While Traveling: One man explains how putting himself out there, asking for help, and talking to strangers everywhere he goes has completely changed his travel experience.
- How One Couple Created a Lifestyle of Travel and Discovery: They planned to be away for just two years, but prepping for their trip and leaving completely changed their outlook and their lives.
- Taking a Travel Break Mid-Career: How one couple realized that life is short and that there’s never a better opportunity than the present to do the things they’ve always wanted to do.
- Travels With a Hospitality Career Consultant: How one woman travels solo and advocates traveling as a normal way to live one’s life.