Why AREN’T You Traveling the World?

I’m often told how “lucky” I am to be leading this lifestyle of living abroad and traveling the world in my time off. People tell me they wish they could do what I’m doing, that Spain sounds amazing, that they’d love to live in Europe, et cetera, et cetera. But, hey, guess what guys. It has nothing to do with luck. I’m no one special. You can do it too, and easily. And now I sound like a pop-up ad for a baloney self-help guide.

Heck, technically I didn't even pay to go to the Sahara. It doesn't take a millionaire.

Heck, technically I didn’t even pay to go to the Sahara. It doesn’t take a millionaire.

I didn’t win the lottery, I don’t have gazillions of dollars, I don’t possess any special travel skills. I simply decided I wanted to live abroad and travel as much as I could, and I went for it. And I’m doing it. Granted, I was blessed to be born into a family that has always encouraged me to pursue my education and life goals, so in that way I am very lucky. I also wasn’t in debt after college graduation, and I don’t have to support anyone but myself, which helps tremendously, but I got by fabulously off the €6300 (about $8000) and then €10,000 ($13,000) a year I made in Spain and afforded heaps of traveling on the side. Spain has a relatively inexpensive cost of living, I was smart about my spending, and, after two years of teaching abroad, I was able to take home over $7000 in savings. In my next chapter in Australia, I plan to save up more or at least come out even. So, no, you don’t have to be rich to live abroad; all you need is a bit of financial common sense.

Why not?

Why not?

Nor am I spectacularly brave or daring. You don’t have to be. If there’s something you want out of life, go for it. The hardest part about living abroad is deciding to go. From there, sure, you face a plethora of challenges, but when in life don’t you? It doesn’t take monumental courage to overcome those hurdles. Don’t speak a foreign language? Learn one. Never been out of the country alone? There’s a first time for everything. Scared of meeting new people? Conquer that fear. Really, I dare you to give me one reason moving abroad is as scary as people make it out to be.

Even still, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone tell me how much they wish they could teach in Spain, only to quickly lose interest or change the subject as soon as I tell them how easy it is to be accepted as a North American Language and Culture Assistant. I understand that it’s difficult to move abroad if you’re older, you have a family, you have a career you love, or you’re in debt, but if you’re young and unattached? Why not go for it?

This.

This.

Not everyone wants to live this lifestyle, and that’s 100% okay, but for those who want to travel and are simply scared (don’t be), don’t want to leave people behind (if they’re worth it, they’ll stick around), or claim they don’t have the time or money (you do), stop worrying! So many of the people I meet have it completely within their power and have plenty of opportunities to do what they want. If you want to travel, even if there’s something standing in your way, it may take a little work, but I promise you can find a way to do it.

Go for it now, while you’re young, before you’re tied down. Stop making excuses, and live the life you want. I know, I know, you’ve heard these platitudes billions of times, but for good reason. Dying to see the world? Go see it. Fantasizing about being an expat? Be one. Now’s the time.

22 Responses

  1. Nana says:

    Excellent advice, Sweetie. You were wise to point out the advantages you had – no college debt, for one – not to mention the plus of being fluent in Spanish (I majored in a foreign language yet never spoke it even half decently!) AND a willingness to travel bare bones, staying in hostels, etc. And I am so impressed that you were able to save money after all of the traveling you did! These will be livelong memories for you, and I hope your friends heed your advice and make those memories for themselves. Love you!

    • Kirstie says:

      True, not everyone can actually travel, but the vast majority of people can find a way to do it if they put their mind to it and don’t mind being flexible! As for Spanish, I had a lot of learning to do once I arrived in Spain, and I know others who barely spoke any and left the country fluent! Love you too!

  2. I HATE when people tell me I am lucky to live here. Anyone can be an au pair. And after? Well, I deal with visa and job struggles on the reg., but to me, it’s currently worth it and I will deal with all the crap for this experience. Life at home would be loads easier, but definitely not as interesting or fun 🙂

    • Kirstie says:

      Ohhh yes, visa struggles definitely require a lot of gumption, but I agree that they’re worth it. I figure I have the rest of my life to have an easier, more relaxing life at home, so I might as well use my youth to do something more exciting!

  3. Danielle says:

    EXACTLY. You took the words right out of my mouth! And made those words into an articulate argument 😉 muchisimas gracias.

  4. You saved that much, joooolin! You win.

    • Kirstie says:

      I think only about €1000 was from my year in Sevilla, the rest from Madrid, thanks to the higher auxiliar wage and higher clases particulares rates. Also, I’m just crazy cheap about everything, perhaps to a fault.

  5. Pedro says:

    Spain is far from being inexpensive….i have been to the USA and i say that everything was quite cheaper save for some kind of food. I remember new laptops with the newest INTEL for 300 or 400 dollars (here in Spain you get “a mierda” for 350 euros, more than 400 dollars).
    Also i remember the petrol was quite cheaper, for about 40 dollars your car got full, here in Spain you need 60 or more to fill your car, about 80 dollars or so).
    Any menu at McDonalds, etc was cheaper than in Spain.
    Jerseys, jeans, shirts, etc were also quite cheaper.
    In the US you can get a good house with backyard for less than 100000 dollars depending on the place, whereas in Spain you get a flat with noisy neigbours for 100000 euros or more (120000 dollars or so). In Spain what is similar to a house in the USA will cost 200000 or 300000 euros, i mean, a house or chalet with no walls shared by neighbours, and room or space round the house.

    • Kirstie says:

      It depends on which U.S. city you compare it to and what you’re buying (I used public transportation in Spain, so no need for petrol), but you definitely can do Spain inexpensively. Renting a room in an apartment is much cheaper than it would be in major U.S. cities!

  6. I love this post! It’s true, most people can travel if they make it a priority. I think the most difficult cost of traveling isn’t the money, but leaving behind all the possibilities at home. Still, it’s always been way worth it in the end for me.

    • Kirstie says:

      True, you do leave a lot behind, but if those possibilities back home are meant to be, they’ll be there waiting for you when you return! At least that’s what I tell myself.

  7. Charlotte says:

    Love this post! I’m actually someone who’s in a career I love already, but I always try and make time for travel. I don’t want to let my 20s go without having seen a little more of the world, and if that means balancing travel with my career, I’ll do it. Doing the things you want takes prioritizing, but it can be done!

    • Kirstie says:

      Good to hear you’re making time for travel! You don’t have to quit your job and leave everything behind to see the world, so however you can make it work is awesome!

  8. nicole marie says:

    love this! i completely agree. so many told me time and time again how lucky i am and how they wish they could live abroad… i really do think it just comes down to fear and not actually really really wanting to give up things in order to follow that path

  9. Pedro says:

    i’ve been to New York city and round Philadelphia, and everything was cheaper. the only thing i found more expensive was orange juice….quite expensive, then i had a look at where oranges came from, Brazil, so that explained the high price.

    • Kirstie says:

      Definitely depends on what you’re buying, as well as where! If you want to travel, you can definitely find ways to save, no matter where you go (even Australia, where I am now, which is terribly expensive, but I’m finding ways to live inexpensively).

  10. Pedro says:

    if you talk about travelling, then i agree with you because there are ways of finding cheap flights, cheap hotels, hostels, etc

    i disagree on your comment that Spain is inexpensive, well it was inexpensive before the bloody Euro, but once it was establised everything became quite expensive and prices got really high, some up to 66%.

    i still say that USA is quite cheaper than Spain, but it’s okay if you disagree.

  11. Natasha says:

    Well said — and so true!! Now is the time to do it!!
    Natasha recently posted What to See in Beautiful KyotoMy Profile

  1. November 17, 2014

    […] little over a year ago, I shared a post called “Why AREN’T You Traveling the World?” Now that I’m more familiar with the world of travel blogs, I realize there are a […]

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