“I want to travel, but…”

So you’ve met someone cool, someone who clearly has an adventurous streak who you get along with. Nothing frustrates me more than when a potential free spirit drops the dreaded “I want to travel, but…” bombshell.

My heart sinks. My eyes glaze over. Cue generic excuse from the list below.

We’ve heard it all before. But fact is, at some point, we’ve also all probably been guilty of it ourselves. Can you honestly say that you haven’t used any of the 5 excuses below, even once? I guarantee that even the most intrepid traveller has done it (personally, I’m thinking of the guys with dreads who have given up western culture and moved to ashrams in India…I reckon that before discovering they didn’t need it, they worried about money too!).

But travellers, the beautiful thing is that, one day, in each of our lives, the scales tipped more in favour of the “I want to travel” than the “but” part of this pretty complicated dilemma. That moment was your epiphany and your life changed forever. All of a sudden, the wanderlust was unleashed and there was no going back. You had seen. You banished the “but”.

Now think about where you’d be right now, if you hadn’t had this realisation? Doesn’t bear thinking about, right? So next time you hear “I want to travel, but…” don’t let your eyes glaze over and don’t write off a potential new friend. Try to remember what it’s like to know there’s more out there but at the same time, be too scared of actually taking the jump to go find it. Think back to what it was that inspired you to “throw off the bowlines” and “sail away from the safe harbour?” (Cheers Mark Twain…)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could be that inspiration to someone else?

Here goes…

1.” I don’t have enough money.”

“You don’t need money.”

“Huh?! Have you seen the cost of getting to Australia?”

Ok, so you need a bit of money to actually get there. But I’m talking a bit. Once you arrive, you can live cheaply by using sites like Couchsurfing. It’s easy to pick up work and you’ll be on your feet in no time. Hostels always need people to help out and you may be able to live there for free.

My response, “You’ll be ok. We’re all skint.”

2. “I don’t have anyone to go with.”

“You don’t need anyone to go with.”

“What?! It’ll be no fun on my own and everyone will think I’m a weirdo!”

Remember, it’s you that wants to travel. If you don’t have anyone that shares your passion, or your best mate that you were counting on lets you down last minute, why not try it anyway? What have you got to lose? Solo travel creates the most exciting opportunities to meet people who share the same dreams and passions as you. I can GUARANTEE that you won’t be alone for long.

When I took my first solo trip, yep, I also worried about walking into a bar by myself the first night. I had my fair share of crazy irrational thoughts such as “everyone thinks I’m a loner”, all of which dissolved within 2 minutes of actually working up the courage to actually just do it. Consider this, if you saw someone walking into a bar alone, would you really think anything of it? More than likely, you’d admire them for having the confidence to not be phased by being alone.

Boom. I have just shown that creating false alternative realities fuelled by fear prevents us from doing what it is that we actually want to do.

“So, go solo”

3. “Have you seen the movie, “The Hostel?!!”

“Yes. But hostels are not really like that. Hostels are AMAZING”

“But…aren’t you scared of being killed!?”

No. I am no more likely to die in a hostel whilst travelling than I would be by crossing the road to go to the office in the morning.

But less about death already. I’ve realised that people are just people, and that if you ask citizens from opposite ends of this planet what’s important to them, they will probably say the same kinds of things. So I repeat, just because you are in a new country doing what you want to do, does not mean that you’re more likely to die than would be the case if you had stayed at home.

Although, and this is just my opinion, if you did have to choose a preferable way to go, isn’t it infinitely more enjoyable to do so whilst pursuing your passions, as an alternative to sitting at home waiting for the life you want to come knocking on the door? Cus it’s not gonna. Just sayin…

“Hostels rock. You won’t die”

4. “I have a job.”

“Leave it”

“I can’t. It’s a good job. It’s well paid. I worked hard to get here. Plenty of people would give their right arm to have this job…”

“Do you love what you do every single day?”

If you do, well, I commend you. You followed your heart. But if you’re good enough to get there in the first place, you’re good enough to pick it up again after you take some time to pursue something which has been calling your name your whole life. Following this calling may take you in a new direction completely, and isn’t that exciting?

But what if you don’t love what you do every single day? Then you need to leave, right now. Life is too precious not to fill each and every moment with people, experiences and accomplishments that satisfy your soul. The first step is the hardest. But take it. You won’t look back. Just imagine what you can achieve when the heart and mind work in sync.

“But what if I fail?”

“But oh, my darling, what if you FLY?” – Erin Hanson

5. “You have to settle down sometime, right?”

“Define settle down?”

“Well, you know, partner, kids, mortgage on a nice house in suburbia. Plus, I’m probably too old now anyway.”

When 2.4 kids plus safe, conventional lifestyle and dog is not truly something that you want right now, trying to make people believe that there is a shred of truth in these words is about as straightforward as attempting to knock someone out using a feather.

And the age bit. You are the same person now as you were when you were 18. In fact, you’re probably in a better place now, having had the chance to get your head together. Does life stop just because you’re no longer in your 20’s? Nope.

I ask, simply, “Why?”

Conclusion

So look out for wanderers who are struggling to take the jump! They’re easy to spot. Their words may be dull and their tone resigned, but their eyes still have the fire of curiosity. You can save them!

And finally, I thought I’d share my own inspiration which helped me to set out 8 years ago on my own journey. So here’s to Mark Twain’s famous quote, one of the first signs laid out on my path which told me that it was ok to follow my dreams:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Lyndsay Scott, on behalf of Team Podstel, 13th February 2015