Travel: Get What You Can

– by Wendy Morley, Publisher

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I’ve spent many hours staring at atlases, reading travel books and magazines and ogling maps. Tracing my fingers over rivers and mountains on globes. As soon as Google Earth came into existence, I would get shivers as I zoomed in on far-away, lands, equally intrigued and a little scared. That’s probably the best part of travel: that slight feeling of fear mixed with the anticipation of discovery.

Traveling is something younger people dream about and older people either try to relive, wish they’d done or wonder whether it’s too late to have the experiences they would have wished for. Travel brings with it an understanding of the human spirit, and often both a feeling of gratitude for what we have and realization that we don’t need a lot along with a deep knowledge that we are not all so different after all. It brings feelings of awe and wonder at landscapes we’ve never seen and it brings learning ­– of history, of perspective and of different ways of accomplishing things.

There are a million different reasons to travel, but actually doing it is not always so easy. First and definitely foremost as a stumbling block is money. There’s a reason a shoestring traveler who somehow makes it around the world in 13 months and on $2,000 ends up being famous. Doing that is pretty fucking difficult, and for every one who manages it there are probably hundreds or backpackeven thousands who either can’t or are unwilling to figure it out and do what’s necessary to accomplish it. I recently stayed in a few hostels in Scotland and it took effort to find ones that were under $40/night per person. That’s nothing compared to a hotel, but it adds up pretty quickly.

But here’s the great thing. You don’t need to spend 13 months traveling the world on $2,000 to get joy from traveling and experiencing new cultures. You can do it in pieces. Can’t do four months of travel through Asia? How about three weeks through Thailand and Cambodia?

People often have an all-or-nothing attitude. If they can’t get the exact experience they want, then they end up doing nothing at all. But life is about compromise, people! Wouldn’t you rather look back on your amazing experiences than look back wishing you’d done something – anything? If you can manage the massive life-changing ramenjourney then that’s fantastic. Maybe you’ve saved money by working part-time and living on ramen noodles throughout school, you want to take a year off to travel, you’re already used to living on nothing and have no career starting yet, well what the hell! Go for it!

But that’s not realistic for everyone. For some people it’s imperative to start working at their career as soon as their mortarboard has been tossed in the air, or they’ll be beaten out by all their classmates and have to swim upstream just to try to get a foot in the door later on. Others have family responsibilities or just can’t manage to come up with enough money for a lengthy journey. That’s fine. Work for a year, take a little time off, plan well and do what you can.

wallTravel can be challenging, and even the most modest travel is a luxury. If you have enough in your life that you can spend time and money discovering other lands then you are a very lucky person indeed. Take advantage of your situation, sure, but if you have to do it in chunks of time with your vacation time or a small leave of absence each year, then there is nothing wrong. Eventually, you will have managed that trip through Asia. The continent will still be there next year.

 

Wendy didn’t manage to travel much when she was younger. She’s been making up for lost time, visiting nine countries in the past year.

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