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Dreaming to Travel, Traveling to Dream.

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Dreaming to Travel, Traveling to Dream. ~ A Blue Pearl
Dreaming to Travel, Traveling to Dream.

Remember when I said I don’t travel because it cost too much? Or was it you that said that? Well whomever was totally right. But that is not going to stop me this time. I want to start traveling so by golly, I’m going to start traveling!

Here’s a peek into what makes me tick and why taking time to save then travel will never work for me. It may be the reason you never began as well. But it turns out I have done a few things right so I can start living my life. Finally.

FYI, I’m the most impatient person that has ever lived.

I’m talking deep breaths at stoplights, counting steps on the way to the kitchen, distracting tabloid perusals in checkout lines, finishing people’s sentences because I might explode impatient. Before Netflix and DVR I was constantly missing the back half of my favorite shows because I couldn’t handle the commercials.

I’ve never finished a lollipop by sucking on it. My paint-by-numbers and fingernails? Always smudged. Braids only go halfway.

And I’m pretty sure I stay single because I want to skip through the awkward getting-to-know-each-other part of the relationship. Never mind, that’s a whole other issue.

I’m not sure if the quitter in me is just competing with the lazy-ass in me but I tend to get obsessed with a whole other life goal before the current one has a chance to get its sea legs. That’s why I knew I couldn’t do the save for a year then take six months off to go traveling thing. It’s not just the time it takes to get to that point; I am the incarnate of the old “money burning a hole” cliché.

I have an extra $20, I think what do I need right now?

And yes need is more relative than an Einstein theory. It’s not that I’ll go buy something whimsical or frivolous but I will stock up on lotion. Or toothpaste. Three shampoos for the price of two when you don’t even need one at the moment? Sold to the sucker in aisle 3!

Point is, if I wait to travel until I save a couple thousand for a trip, I will never go. This is a lesson I have learned well. And I so, so, so want to go. Everywhere!

Though this isn’t a budget travel blog, I want to address this ubiquitous struggle anyway. (Especially since this is a why-aren’t-we-all-traveling-all-the-time-since-it-makes-us-better-people travel blog.) Paying for trips is something the vast majority of us wrestle with and it often keeps us home. It’s what has held me back for the most part. Sure much of the problem is fear of the unknown, crashing, failing et cetera, but I’m pretty practiced at that. I’m back up before I know I was down.

The lack of money, however, is huge.

traveling in Chicago
Chicago, 2005. I bet that skyline has grown more than I have.

Confession:

I have issues with credit cards. Again, this isn’t so much my love of luxury or high fashion. But I do go on weird binges, like buying everything Mark Twain related or needing every Marvel movie ever made. I also work in a cash-based job and every server knows that a random $200 Wednesday night does not translate into a strong $100 deposit into your savings account on Thursday morning. In my twenties, I bought rounds of shots. In my early thirties, I bought…rounds of shots. But my middle thirties? Extra shampoo and toothpaste stockpiles for the… I don’t know, apocalypse?

The big problem here is that a rando big cash night is often followed by a couple of slow shifts that would’ve evened out. But now you are worse off than if you just had three slow shifts. My point is not to complain about my job. I hate my job and that is no secret.

But! I want to make it clear that all is not lost, even if you suck at this money thing.

Something’s missing…

Things are looking up.

I paid for my recent Ozarks trip with cash. Since it was just a weekend, even I couldn’t fork over a fortune. I spent a total (gas, food, motel, snacks, and souvenirs) of $360 on that trip. It would have been less but I could not find this tiny little street and used up a half tank of gas searching for it.

Ozark National Forest
New muse, new views…

However. I did put the motel on a credit card and paid it back my first shift back in town. Gave me around a buck in rewards too. (Those don’t add up quickly, do they?) I plan to do the same on my next trip, mostly so the cash will be there just in case. (And I get my 1.5% cash-back rewards.) I will then pay off the card when I get back.

Adjacent perk, my credit score has increased 32 points in a couple of months. I call this a win-win.

One thing I am allowing to go on credit? My gear. It’s not a lot of stuff, mainly shoes, a pack, stuff like such because I want to be prepared and comfortable. But I’m not letting myself become obsessed. And I did stop myself from buying a kayak. However, I think, come December or an even colder month, this’ll be a smart buy. Yeah? Yes.

But the biggest reason I am able to start traveling?

Because I made the decision to stay with my parents for an undetermined amount of time. This is huge and harder than you think. I have been out since two days after I turned eighteen. I came back for a summer after my  freshman year at Ole Miss and bunked for six months when I moved back from New Mexico. But other than that, I’ve been OUT for half my life. Not only out of their house, but without a roommate for the last ten years, with a 1200 + sq. ft. house all to myself. Now I’m in a room (thankfully they’ve moved since high school so it’s not my childhood bedroom) that serves as my office, living room and bedroom all in one.

That’s a panoramic shot, obviously. Should’ve put a cat on the bed for scale…

Two things:

I am not trying to sound ungrateful as my parents helped me out of a rough jam and welcomed not only me but my pup and a couple of fluffy felines into their home. Most importantly this gave me the space, headspace I guess, to find my path. Secondly, now that I’m getting used to it, it’s really not bad at all.

I understand if you have a couple of actual babies instead of fur-babies, this option is out. (Unless Grandma has some empty-nest issues, then it could be great.) I don’t have a lot of advice for you there, but there many travel blogs that focus on family travel. Also, mazal tov. Someday I’ll have an kiddo all my own too. (Or, preferably, shared with the love of my life…)

What I’m saying is that living with the parents again has given me hope that change is not only possible, it’s afoot. I successfully took a trip not on credit. I have checked off so many to-dos, my list looks like I forgot to write it. Miraculously, I freaking quit smoking. (That I am POSITIVE would not have happened without living in their house. It helps to see that many people actually just go through their days without cigarettes. Wow. What will I see tomorrow, a yeti riding a unicorn? In Shangri-La? That was a traveling tie-in by the way. Hehe…)

Anyhow I recently remembered why I don’t have any little ones and the old reasons (versus the new excuses) why I never stuck to one guy. Because I wanted freedom. Yes, naps were high on the list but mostly I wanted to be able to go traveling and see stuff at my own pace at my own leisure. My biggest regret in life is not the extra cash I spent on rounds of shots. It’s not taking those shots in Dublin or Hong Kong.

Chicago
But sometimes shots lead to karaoke-ing some GNR with the band. Ah Chicago. How I love thee.

So, a digression for the single ladies (and men…)

Remember that joke I made about relationships? There’s a part of me that has been alone so long that I feel that it’s supposed to be like this. That I want it to be like this. Maybe I do. It’s not like I’m lonely and I love not having to tell anyone where I’m going, what I’m doing, what I’m planning. My weekends are my weekends and I don’t have to check with anyone else. I also don’t have to call/text just to make sure they know I’m thinking about them. For heaven sake, give me space. But feel free to call or text me that you’re thinking about me. Yes. I suck.

The one thing that nags is that I don’t really know the other side of things. But I don’t look back and think what-could-have-been with any guy I dated or wanted to date. What I do know is right now I have complete freedom. I can choose the itinerary, the destination, the time I wake up and go to bed. It’s my adventure to have, my mistakes to make, my memories to cherish. And in the end, it’s my money and my time to spend how I choose.

Eureka. I think she’s got it.

So, that line of men waiting to sweep me off my feet is going to have to wait. (Squint, they’re there somewhere.) Because these feet have some trekking to do first. I gotta make up for lost time. Mostly, I have to honor my life choices in a way that is true to me: my personality, my education, and my dreams.

Travel is what you make of it. So start making it today.

Just try not to go into debt in the process.

Here’s some things I’m trying:

  1. Saving $5 dollar bills, y’all. The thing is, four of them is $20. This is both a positive and a negative…
  2. Saying no to Starbucks two out of three times. And two out of three ain’t bad.
  3. I set up an automatic transfer to my savings account for $50 a month. It’s also quite amazing I have a savings account in the first place.
  4. Paying an extra $100 on my car a month. This will get it paid off a year faster however, I could be putting $100 to a trip a month. Again, a blessing and a curse.
  5. Not eating out as much though eating out is sort of a serenity thing for me. I get to try new food and spend time with me. But instead of three times a week, I just do the one. Not sure it’s translated into savings but it does help me with that car payment!

So it’s too soon to tell if this will all work out. But the point is I’m trying. And, a bigger point? I’m trying with a goal in mind. Even if that goal is to get to a beach as often as possible.

traveling to Cancun
And why not? It’s lovely at the beach.

Anyone else struggle with finding time/money/wherewithal to travel? What helps motivate you to follow your dreams?

Written by

My name’s Becke and this is my blog about life, travel and making a difference out there. I talk about the stuff we aren't supposed to talk about and about the stuff we all want. Having made a mess of my life (pretty much so far) I decided to turn things around, document a bit for posterity. Because posterity will surely care.

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