Jan 11, 2017
People have often asked me how and why I have visited so many amazing places in my life. Honestly the question I get from US citizens refers to more on my ability to afford it. So let me start with the cost aspect.
Like most all people who work for a company in the USA, a certain amount of vacation time is allotted based on hours worked or tenure with the company at the time of the requested time off. If the amount of time I am allotted is not sufficient for my plans, the company will deny my request. I have even requested unpaid time off as I do not feel that any company can own me or tell me when I am allowed to live my life. Being a paid servant is not my idea of living a full life. In some cases I have also quit a job to take my holiday and applied for a new job when I returned. For most people that is not ideal and sounds scary. I have no kids to worry about so for me it is fine. The question of affording the travel is one of choices and priorities. In my 20’s, I thought happiness was owning a nice car and living in a large high rise apartment in the city. That was fun and slightly glamorous for many years until I got a taste for travel abroad.
I made a life change and sold the car, the man toys and downsized my apartment. I also closed the 2 credit cards I had and decided that cash is my new way of life as to not grow any debt. That has worked out very well. So instead of paying out 600$ a month to a car payment and insurance, I can afford airfare and a hotel every 3 months for a holiday. Basically, the more cash you have, the more travel you can do. But it is not just about saving money at home. You must also know how to be a traveler and not a tourist to an extent. The cost of a 4 star hotel in Paris is around 200-300$ a night compared to a 4 star hotel in Thailand at 80$ a night. Look for apartments or airbnb in Paris. Plan your trips wisely based on time of year and length of the trip. My first trip to Europe was to Croatia where I stayed 10 days in a guesthouse in Dubrovnik and spent $800 on the trip including airfare and food. Take the local metro in your destination, buy food and drinks at a market so you can eat in your room, find free tours and contact locals through such sites as couchsurfing.com.
The friends I now have all over the globe mean so much to me and I do not regret any of my decisions to travel. My experiences and life changes have honestly evolved me in to a much better person.
You truly have to make a choice as to what you want in life. If you start to get the travel bug as I did, you will notice yourself downsizing your stuff as most items in peoples homes are not essential to living (throw pillows, large tvs, etc) and take away from money you could be using to travel with. Costs add up. Again, I have no children so this is doable.
On the emotional side of my travels, I know one thing – I only live once and life will not wait for me to always plan everything out. Life will not wait for my company to let me have time off. You are a rock sitting on a river bed and the river is life – sit on the bank and watch life go by or get in that river and experience the ride? I have made my choice and yes it is tough at times but always look at your options and remember the good things.
As for moving abroad, it was simple for me. I seemed to always end up in Barcelona on the last 5 world trips I had taken. I knew I was gravitating to that city and had to come up with a plan to move there. I needed what Barcelona had to offer in my life. the lifestyle is what I had always wanted. I had outgrown the USA way of life. I met two people from the USA in Barcelona that were spending 3 months there to see what jobs were available and what the costs were to live there. This was over the summer and they were tour guests. The fact that they stayed the entire 3 months and felt very positive about it tells me I will see them there again.
The cost is also a lot less for me. A 1 bedroom flat in the center can be as low as 650 Euros or 689 USD near the beach. Most of the food is half the cost at the market compared to the USA and with little to no additives or preservatives. Free health care once you establish yourself. 4 modes of city metro – bus, subway, train, tram. Each ride costs 1 Euro. No need for a car if you live in the center which most all people do.
It is actually very easy to move abroad. Talk to other expats online and visit the many sites that will guide you through it. Every country will have a different set of rules and requirements.
I do still come and visit family and friends in the USA which I enjoy. In all honesty though, I live in a more desirable location for them to come and visit me. 🙂
Visit http://www.norwegian.com for super low fares to Europe.
Please let me know if you have any questions and enjoy the video!