If I had waited to travel until retirement or later, my life would have looked drastically different. I would not be who I am today.
Whether you’re in doubt about when you should travel. Or are looking for arguments to do so sooner, what I’m about to share can potentially change your life.
I’ll share everything I’ve learned from traveling for almost a decade. Including things I wish I knew sooner, so you can learn from my mistakes, and take better decisions than I did.
And if working and traveling at the same time is something you dream of, I’ll also show you my exact suggestion on how to do so. It’s not as hard as many people think.
Let’s get started!
📖 Table of Contents
1. It Doesn’t Have To Be All or Nothing
Before continuing, let’s quickly discuss something I’ve fallen victim to countless times. Maybe you have too.
While going all in and dedicating ourselves to something can be a good thing, and even necessary to achieve certain things in life, it can also be a self-constructed trap.
Before you go traveling, it’s easy to feel like you could do so forever.
But the reality is shorter occasional trips can be fulfilling too. And help you maintain inner balance. Whether it’s for a few weeks or several months.
With that said only traveling a few weeks a year wouldn’t be fulfilling for many travelers in the long run. But on the other side, traveling for a year without a break might be too much.
My point is that you shouldn’t wait years to go travel. Even if you plan on dedicating yourself to longer trips or even a nomadic life in the future.
If you wait too long, you risk missing out on what these shorter occasional trips can give you too.
📌 TIP: I prefer the nomadic life. I'm a big advocate for it. But from personal experience, I've never traveled more than 5 months non-stop without the need for a shorter break at home.
2. Traveling Can Teach You Important Things Early in Life
If I had never gone on my first solo trip to Miami in 2014, my life would have been drastically different.
I found my biggest passion (traveling). It taught me how good life can be. Grew me as a person. Changed my dreams, and priorities, and boosted me with motivation.
Traveling is an effective way to get to know yourself.
When you distance yourself from your familiar environment. And Immerse yourself in a new one. Then you create excellent conditions for personal growth.
And with the new experiences that come with it, chances are you’ll also get to know what’s truly important to you, find new interests, or get inspired in other ways.
All these things can ultimately influence our choices in life. Such as our career and other life goals.
And if you’re already pretty sure about all these things. In the worst case, you’ll just be ensured about whatever path you’re already.
📌 TIP: If you want to learn more about the topic, I suggest reading my other guide on this topic: My Goal Is To Travel the World
3. Traveling Will Help You Live Longer
I know it’s a bold claim, but let me explain. There’s some science to this. Though first a question:
When you’re looking back, have you ever had a trip that felt longer than it was?
In that case, you’re not alone. I’ve had several trips where I’m impressed by how much I got to experience in such a short period.
When our brain gets bombarded with information or stimuli, it can cause a perception of time moving slowly.
This is due to a phenomenon called time dilation, which is caused by an increase in cognitive load on the brain.
My point is that the more you travel, the more you’ll potentially harvest from the time you’ve been given.
And you’ve might experience the opposite as well from being in a routine at home. Where it’s not unusual that days, months, or even years can pass by surprisingly fast.
With time easily being the most important asset we have, traveling is a good opportunity to invest it wisely and make the best of it.
4. There’s a Big Difference Between Theory and Practice
It’s easy to postpone taking action by planning things for the future. Whether it’s our biggest dreams or other goals we set for ourselves.
The problem is there’s often a big gap between theory and practice. Where in this example theory is our plans, and practice is the reality that eventually presents itself.
I’m convinced that your life didn’t end up exactly as you planned it. Without saying that it’s necessarily good or bad.
I’m aware timing is important too, but it’s about finding the sweet balance between planning and taking action.
With the risk of you assuming I have a “Live, Love, Laugh” quote somewhere on my body, here’s a quote by John Lennon, that I read for myself almost daily:
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.
And there’s another genuine aspect to consider. None of us know when we’ll check out for good. Or if other life circumstances make it impossible to pursue our travel dreams.
So consider doing it while you can.
📌 TIP: Our priorities often change over time too. Making it hard to predict whether other things will take over our desire to travel.
5. You Might Become Too Old To Travel
I know this headline can strike as controversial.
To make it clear, you’ll never be too old to travel per se. In the end, it depends on your health and mindset.
But some experiences and activities can be difficult to redeem at certain ages.
For example, some hostels don’t allow guests over the age of 40. While most hostels do, you’re likely to be the oldest one, depending on the type of place.
Not that there’s anything wrong with it. But a major part of social life on the road is at hostels, where most other guests are in their 20s or 30s.
And when we age it’s normal to grow strong preferences or less tolerance to certain things, which doesn’t always go hand in hand with all the other dynamics of traveling.
📌 TIP: You'll likely have more responsibility once you get older too. This can make it harder to adapt to a traveling lifestyle. Whether it's due to family, pets, or something else.
6. How to Work and Travel at the Same Time
And now to the last chapter I briefly covered in the intro.
For many the primary reason, they don’t travel eventually comes down to money.
The good thing is that it’s never been easier to become location independent by working online.
One of the positive things about the Covid pandemic is that we globally sped up the adaption of the remote lifestyle.
With that said you’re not limited to working online. There are a lot of different jobs on the road. Both paid and volunteering in exchange for accommodation and sometimes food.
I’ve already made a guide where I go in-depth on how to work and travel at the same time as quickly as possible: