I travel a lot. Not as much as people who travel for work (business women and men, flight attendants, etc) but a lot for a regular working mom and wife. I seem to have a very high tolerance for the effort it takes to make travel happen. I don’t mind juggling work and family schedules, spending time opening and closing and monitoring credit cards so I can have airline miles, packing and unpacking then packing again, working harder between trips to make up for time away. I don’t take what I can do for granted. I have a supportive husband and son (they love to travel too), understanding co-workers and lots of frequent airline mils and hotel points (1,323,298 to be exact).
But I still don’t feel like I’m really living the travel lifestyle that I dream of. I have managed, thanks to credit card sign up bonuses, to make travel way more affordable – which felt like overcoming a huge barrier. But I feel this itch to take it to the next level. Having the miles is not enough.
I still take short trips for the most part. 1 or 2 weeks is the norm for bigger trips (no more than 3 weeks), with a bunch of shorter trips in between. I fly somewhere (Brazil, New Zealand, Japan), dip my toe in the water, and then leave with a craving to return and spend MORE TIME. I want the time to dive in and stay awhile, immersing myself in the culture, the landscape, the people, the experience.
So where I used to be envious of people who traveled for work because they racked up miles, I now envy and look up to the people who have made travel their lifestyle. My friend, Kelly Scott, who continues to travel the world year round as an international pet sitter. My other good friend Kristen Winn who quit her job and traveled the world solo for a year. Another friend and artist Terrell Lozada who just moved to Paris (my favorite city on earth). Rachel Hill, the travel entrepreneur I met at the Women in Travel Summit who just moved to South Africa and plans to stay at least one year (I’m interviewing her and Terrell soon for my podcast). Rita Golden Gelman who literally spent decades traveling – with no permanent address for 30 years (Ok that might be pushing it for me on the travel front but I love it nonetheless).
This is the new frontier for me.
I want to start taking 4-6 week trips instead of 1-2 weeks. Travel maybe less often, but stay longer. I want live in Portugal and/or Spain for a year and use it as a base to further explore Europe (and study Flamenco dance). I want to spend 3-6 months traveling in Southeast Asia, South America, or Australia and New Zealand. And of course I have other countries and destinations on my wander list.
Anyone out there feel me?
This is why I started the Globetrotter Lounge podcast. I wanted to start talking to other women who have said – “To hell with it, I’m doing this”. Who took that leap and found the resources to make it happen. Who stopped putting big travel on hold, stopped saying “well I just don’t have time to do something like that,” who stopped being limited and started being bold. I want to know how they did it. What was in their minds. How they made their plans. I want to get some new ideas and be motivated to take flight myself – even if it seems impossible.
I’m starting to take actions – small steps towards what seem like impossibly big goals. I’m writing this on an airplane to Portugal, where I might want to live for a year. Helps to visit and find out if I like it. I also am pursuing flexible career options – making sure that my next primary job is one where I can work remotely, increasing my ability to work from anywhere in the world. I’m keeping my side-hustle web design business alive for the same reason.
And our next big family trip in summer of 2019 to Singapore, Bali and Hong Kong? Minimum of 4 weeks. Which means I’ll have to tell my job (I’m on the edge of starting a new one) that I might need to work on the road. Hopefully my husband will be on board – if not maybe he can join us a couple weeks in. That’s how serious I am about this new goal.
Life is too short to waste time wishing I could make these deepest desires come true. It’s time to start acting them into being. It’s not that I’m throwing all caution to the wind, or forgetting my responsibilities. I have a teenage son who needs to finish high school and launch himself. I need to save more money. I need to build my location independent income streams. But I’m putting a timeline on it. 4-5 years.
And if I can start doing small things towards that goal – like slowly start getting rid of things we don’t need, restructuring my work life, exploring how to rent our house while gone – it will feel like it’s no longer a dream, but a concrete plan.
So that’s the journey I’m on. I plan to write about how it goes along the way, and keep learning from the incredible guests I’ve invited into the Globetrotter Lounge. They are the ones who are keeping me motivated and inspired.
So who’s in? Anyone else on this path? Anyone else want to challenge themselves to create a life that includes more time for travel? I”d love to hear from you and find out what your dreams and goals are. Let’s do this.
Life is short. Travel more.
This is incredibly moving and I 100% can relate. The longest trip I’ve taken was a solo backpacking trip through Europe for 5 weeks after graduating college. But I had all the time in the world then. I also didn’t stay in places for too long. We’ve talked about picking up and moving abroad for at least a year in a few years, and we’d love to either move to Cape Town or Budapest. It’s hard going to a place for a short time and not knowing when you’ll return and even how to possibly stay longer. I’m glad to see you’re making a great goal of traveling more! I am definitely right there with you! I can’t wait to see where you end up!
Hey Kat – glad you can relate! Thanks for sharing your goals around living abroad… Cape Town sounds incredible – in fact both Cape Town and Budapest are solidly at the top of my wander list. If you move to either I’ll come and visit. 🙂 Keep me posted on how it all unfolds for you as well!
Yes, yes and yes! While I don’t think that I want to leave my home base for good, I definitely want to do more of what you are talking about. I’m a teacher and while I have summers off, I still have to contend with my hubby’s 17 vacation days. It’s just not enough. Within the next 2 years, I want to buy a smaller motorhome so that we can travel throughout the US and Canada. But ideally, we would be location independent at that time. We are also planning to go back to New Zealand for our 10 year anniversary in 2020 and I don’t want to spend any less than 4 weeks there. So…we’ll see. But I am right there with you!
I love all of your travel goals! Let’s say YES to staying longer when we do travel. New Zealand is marvelous – I was there in November 2016… and you won’t believe this but I was there for 4 days. Yes you heard that right – 4 DAYS. I was there for work and I had traveled so much in the 8 months before that (lots of 5 – 10 day trips) that I just turned around and came back home. I like your approach to NZ much better. And I hear you on the issue around your husband’s 17 vacation days. My husband doesn’t have a tolerance like I do for longer travel so it’s about 2-3 weeks for him and he’s maxed out. I think getting creative like going alone for a bit and then having him join me later is what I’m going to have to start exploring. Any concrete steps you are taking now to help make your two travel goals come to fruition?
So funny – after a few long trips, I decided that I really prefer shorter visits (5-10 days, depending on how far I have to fly). I love travel, but I really love home, too. I really hope you find the balance you’re looking for and I commend you for trying something different and chasing happiness!
Hi Becky – I get that! I actually had a bit of that happen to me a few years ago after I had traveled too much…I needed to be home for quite a while before I felt like traveling again. And I may try the longer stretches and decide that it’s not for me either. 🙂 But I would definitely regret not giving it a go – and admire that you gave longer trips a shot too. It is indeed that quest for balance – mixed with going on new adventures. Thanks for reading and commenting!