Make Time to Travel
Photo Credit: TN

Photo Credit: TN

Make Time to Travel

solo travel
j. nambowa
j. nambowa Apr 16, 2014

As a nomad without a home or clear career path, existential crises abound. The constant chasing after, running from and just plain random living leaves this one questioning what am I doing, why am I doing it and what is the point of life anyway?! The only thing that is clear to me is that tomorrow, let alone the next hour of our life is not guaranteed so I need to make sure that I am enjoying every moment. I am constantly trying to avoid filling these moments with things that I do not want to do, but sometimes that cannot be avoided.

For the last few years I have made it a point to take some time off/away from my job in order to travel. This has often occurred against the will of my boss. At times I have been fortunate to still be paid while doing it and at other times I focused on saving as much as possible while working, only to exhaust all of my savings on plane tickets and memory building in those month of unemployment.

In 2009 between the end of my work contract in Japan and going to grad school in London, I traveled around the world for seven months, the most exciting trip being to Fiji. In 2010, with a lot less money, I used London as a jumping off point and Ryan Air and Easy Jet as my trampolines to bounce around a significant part of western Europe and even a couple eastern European countries. Do yourself a favor and visit Dubrovnik, Croatia. In 2011, I was running very low on funds, so I saw a bit of Italy since I moved to Rome. In 2012, I spent two months hanging out in the US and celebrated my ten year high school reunion with friends. In 2013, I spent eight months traveling the world, after telling my boss that I would not be coming back to work for her. Let’s just say Carnival in Rio was totally worth it. At the end of this month I will start celebrating my 30th birthday (follow me on Instagram at @jnambowa for #30daysof30) and enjoying some time with friends. I will travel for two months and I am completely unsure of what will happen after, but in the meantime head over to my blog for a new contest related to my upcoming travel.

Stop Making Excuses
Many people see how much I travel and think that it is easy to do and that I must be quite rich to pull it off. This could not be further from the truth. I have prioritized traveling, though I intend to slow down significantly after this summer. Since making traveling a priority I have spent a lot less money on clothes, shoes, etc., I try to spend less money on alcohol in my everyday life, I maximize the number of stops on award tickets and most importantly I am willing to take UNPAID time off. For many of you living in the US, you get a measly two weeks of vacation annually, which I personally think should be reported to Human Rights Watch. Some of you may see this as a huge constraint, but rather than thinking about taking time off to travel, you need to MAKE time to travel. This means asking your boss if you can take two weeks of unpaid leave, the worst he/she can say is no, but if you do not try you will be forever staring out of your office window dreaming of overwater bungalows in the Maldives. Another way to make time to travel is when changing jobs. Give yourself a month or two to relax and get some traveling in before jumping into a new role.

A ma52weekjor part of making time to travel is being financially savvy. I am no whiz with money, but because I enjoy having freedom, e.g. taking unpaid leave whenever I want, I have been able to discipline myself and save money for those moments of leisure. You can do this a number of ways, but a good place to begin is to start a travel fund. I also did the 52 week savings plan last year. Since I was successful last year, this year I doubled it and started backwards, so by Christmastime, when we all tend to spend more money, I have no excuse for not making the deposits.

Five Easy Steps to Traveling More:

1. Make a list of the places you want to go. This should serve as your motivation.
2. Stop being a slave to fashion. Who really cares what you wear. (If this doesn’t apply to you stop being a slave to whatever is eating up your disposable income, e.g. expensive meals, alcohol, gambling, strip clubs.)
3. Start saving every penny you can.
4. Ask Tell your boss that you will be taking two, three, four (shoot for the stars) weeks of unpaid leave this year.
5. By the plane, bus, boat ticket and go!

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