Years ago when my wife and I started attending our home church in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, several of our friends there gave us a hard time over how much we traveled. We both work full-time jobs and have other commitments outside of work, but somehow we were constantly on the road traveling somewhere. It was a phenomenon to our friends and even to us when we realized that we would go to several different places over the course of just a few weekends back to back.
We had a knack for always being on-the-go and experiencing something new together. Whether it was a local trip or an international adventure, we remained on the hunt for our next travel experience. It is a mentality that carried over into our day-to-day lives where we instinctively sought out opportunities for travel exposure. Travel was not so much a question of "when do we have time for this?", but rather "this is a part of who we are".
But in a world where everyone seems to be too busy and leisure time appears to be shrinking by the minute, how can you find time to travel? Maybe you are in the position right now where you are convinced that you do not have time to explore the world. Your work, school, or life schedule is so demanding that you feel little room to experience the world of travel. Is there any hope for you to find that time?
Yes, I believe there is. And if you stay with me, I will show you the approach that has worked for my home for years.
One of my most important lessons learned about time management is that everyone - in the entire world - is on an even playing field. What do I mean by that? Each of us wakes up every day with the same amount of time as everyone else. No one has more time than you. We all operate within the framework of a 24-hour day. The difference is in how each of us chooses to use those seconds, minutes, and hours that make up a single day. So, the feeling of not having time to travel in today's busy world is better addressed by looking at how you can make time to travel.
The strategies that I am going to share with you are not gimmicks. These are the ways that my wife and I approach this topic on a daily basis and it has resulted in tens of thousands of miles traveled around the world in just two years of marriage.
- Plan, Plan, Plan Ahead - Benjamin Franklin once said, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." And I couldn't agree more. Planning ahead is the number one key to making time to travel. Much of our life at home functions on lists and spreadsheets. We enjoy taking months in advance to plan through the different trips that we would like to take. This simple strategy affords us opportunity to save up for our major trips and also have time to work through other details such as finding the best places to stay and outlining our itinerary. If traveling by air, you will also find the best deals on flights when you book well in advance of your trip. Sometimes we take last minute trips, but we find that it always works out best when we can anticipate any obstacles in the early stages of planning. Planning ahead also gives you something to look forward to; it's exciting to iron out your initial travel plan and then mark the date on your calendar for your upcoming adventure. Taking time to plan places you in the driver's seat so that you can start taking your travel goals into action.
- Embrace Your Local Tourist - This second point is BIG. Embracing your local tourist is to treat every day as if it is a vacation. No, this does not mean you should become lazy and sleep until whenever you want every day. Treating every day like a vacation is appreciating the small opportunities all around you to be exposed to travel. Here at WellTraveled, we encourage our Scholars to start small with their travel goals. What are the opportunities within your local community that could expose you to a different culture? Is there a place on the other side of your city or town that you could visit today out of curiosity in seeing somewhere new? How can you get creative with experiencing travel in your day-to-day life without necessarily hopping on a plane? These are the questions that can guide your application of this second tip. Last week, my wife and I took a short drive up north from where we live to have an afternoon lunch at a new restaurant. And a couple weeks before that, we took a nice evening drive through a different part of our town just to see the area. We did not have any agenda other than to have a new experience together. Embracing the local tourist in you is a shift in perspective that will change your entire life on the point of travel. When you begin to see travel possibilities as literally all around you, every day presents opportunity to mark a new adventure.
- Travel = Priority - I saved the foundation piece for last. If you desire to become WellTraveled and experience the world in a way like never before, you have to make travel a priority goal. Remember from earlier that everyone chooses how they spend their time? People make time for what is important to them. If travel exposure is important to you, then that priority will push you to plan ahead and embrace the local tourist in you. Be intentional about your travel goals. Research local museums or free art galas that offer an experience of a different culture. Visit your local library to see what resources they have available on countries around the world. Today's technology even allows someone to virtually explore parts of the world on a personal computer or mobile device. These are concrete decisions that you can make today to show that travel is a priority in your life.
So, why wait? Start today with the above tips and you will find that travel is not as complicated as some would have you believe. Far too many people associate the word "travel" with only lavish, long-term stays in another country. But, that mentality forces you to overlook all of the small travel wins that you can rack up within a reasonable distance from your home. We hope that you will join us in making travel a priority in your life and passing this along to encourage others in their quest to become WellTraveled.
Educators/Parents - Work with your students and/or children to plan out their next travel adventure. Encourage them to think creatively about experiencing something new without having to leave the borders of their neighborhood.
Students - Time for you to take what was shared and put it into action. Think of a travel-related activity that you can experience by the end of next week and then take the steps to make it happen. And if you would like to share with us, we would love to hear what you came up with.
Stay Educated. Stay Empowered. Stay WellTraveled.