Let’s face it… We all have those moments sitting behind our desk at work, day dreaming about exotic destinations and escaping our realities. We read amazing stories of courageous people who quit their jobs and are living the dream of being full-time travelers, moving from country to country and inspiring us with their daring lifestyle. But let’s be realistic… How many of us can actually just pick up and leave? Most of the time we feel trapped and on some really stressful days we feel like we’re suffocating from our responsibilities and work demands.
I came to discover that it doesn’t have to be that way… It doesn’t have to be black or white. In fact, there is a way you can live in the grey area and feel satisfied with all aspects of your life.
I’m not only here to tell you how NOT to quit your job and travel the world… I’m here to tell you how to balance your adventures and real life, because in my grey area I’ve found my ultimate happiness.
Collect experiences, not things
When you’re looking back at your life 20 years down the line, what will you remember the most? The expensive clothes that you bought or the amazing memories you made during a crazy adventure? We all have those moments where we waste our money on things we don’t really need. What I do is put 10% of my salary every month into a travel fund. If you really think about it, 10% is really not that much… Sometimes we can spend it on a few nights out! Use them to start your travel fund and you will be able to travel at least a few times a year.
Dare to travel to the unknown
The best trips I’ve taken in my life were the ones I discovered just by opening a map and exploring different countries and cities. Yes, we all like to visit the top destinations, but not every trip has to be that way. There are amazing untouched gems that are perfect for small getaways. Two summers ago when I was searching for a detox retreat, I was looking at beautiful resorts in Austria and Eastern Europe. All the top travel sites recommended the same countries. I then decided to do my own research and found an extraordinary retreat in the south of Sri Lanka. Instead of spending 10 days in a typical commercial retreat, I ended up having a crazy tropical adventure!
Work hard, play hard
It’s a cliché saying for a reason! If you don’t work hard then it’s simple… you’re not doing what you love. And if you don’t work hard, you will never reach the ultimate balance in your life. A lot of people feel trapped in their jobs and don’t want to face the fact that it makes them so miserable. My advice: STOP! Yes it’s as simple as that! A year ago, I quit my corporate career and entered the world of entrepreneurship. It was the hardest decision of my life, but I never felt like I was in full control of my life until that moment. After a year of instability, a million and one business plans, and starting my own company, I will tell you it’s one hell of a journey, but it has been the most rewarding thing I ever did. It’s never too late or too early to do what you love. Your only limitation is yourself.
Comfort zone… what comfort zone?
Traveling is all about adventure. Leave your comfort zone at home. You don’t have to plan your trip down to the last detail. You don’t have to be picky about what you eat or stay at a luxury hotel to enjoy your trip. The whole point is to experience the things you’ve never experienced before. The only real thing you need when you travel is to just let go and turn any obstacles you face into funny adventures. On my first day in China, I was holding a map and wandering around by myself. After a few hours, I got lost in an area where absolutely no one speaks English… It was getting dark and there was no public transport to be found. The few taxis I had stopped couldn’t understand where I was staying, because I had written down my address in English and they only read Mandarin! My first reaction? Yes, I did panic, but I decided to make the best of it and ended up finding a beautiful pedestrian road full of cute little shops and restaurants. Instead of heading home, I had an amazing evening and discovered a place I would have never found on a tourist map!
Make the most of your vacation days
10 years ago I decided that I will not take any days off unless I’m using them to discover a new destination. Whether it’s a little getaway or a long trip, use your days off only to escape to the places you daydream about.
Plan your own trips
Never rely on anyone to plan your getaways, especially commercial travel agents! Part of the joy of traveling is the actual planning! Besides, no one other than you knows what you really want out of your trip. It may seem scary for some people to do everything themselves, but if you do it once you will never go back. There are so many amazing blogs and websites that can help you book your trips and save you a ton of money.
Why experience one place when you can experience 2 or 3 in the same trip? With so many value airlines and public transport info being easily accessible online, country hopping is easier than ever. Stay tuned for an upcoming article about some of my country hopping adventures!
Travel whenever you can, wherever you can
There’s no right time or place to travel. Some of the best trips in your life will be the unplanned ones. I’ve traveled quite a few times by booking a ticket literally hours before my flight and they have turned out to be the most memorable ones. There’s no city less interesting than the other. It’s all about what you make of it, so be spontaneous!!
Make the most out of your loyalty points
Don’t be lazy about signing up for loyalty points, because this can save you a ton of money. First, I would recommend getting a credit card that rewards you with airline points. Use this as your main card on every trip and you will collect points without even realizing it. Secondly, book your accommodation from 1 or 2 booking websites instead of different ones each time and you will start getting offers for secret deals and special discount coupons.
For me, traveling is not just a holiday or vacation. It’s all about the adventure… It’s the thrill of going to unknown places, discovering cultures you’ve only read about, and most importantly it’s all about that feeling you get seeing breathtaking places for the first time. My upcoming adventures will be to: Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia.