Wise words from the late great Anthony Bourdain on truly what travel is and isn’t. I can tell you one thing…travel isn’t what you see on your social media channels. It is easy to look at your favorite blogger, influencer, and celebrity and have travel envy as they “jet set” to exclusive getaways and post pictures effortlessly. Social media has given a false reality of many aspects of our lives especially with travel. If you are doing it just for the ‘gram…you are in for a rude awakening of the true meaning of travel.
Rarely do you see the delayed/canceled flights, travel illnesses (Google Montezuma’s Revenge…that alone will make you give major side eye), lost baggage, language barriers, or the real dangers you can experience while traveling. Bourdain’s words resonate because it captures the essence of travel.
As someone who frequently travels, l get a lot of questions…the main one…how? I want to be very transparent about my journey on how I do it and how many of your faves do it too. Forgive me if I ramble on this post, but I am coming from the heart…LET’S GO!
You Gotta Make Travel A Priority
Have you ever heard the phrase “you make time for what you want to make time for”…? Insert an eye roll here because I hear my personal trainer now after I have slacked from a week’s worth of workouts. But it is true, you make time for what you really want…we text, call, spend on what we want. The excuse of “too busy” or “I don’t have the money” are LIES we tell ourselves and each other. Don’t believe them or even you if this is what you are telling yourself or others. If you truly want to travel, you must prioritize it as a part of your life. Until brands start to sponsor your trips, you will need to be aware of what is in your account and budget accordingly. Which leads me to my next point…
You Gotta Cut Your Expenses
When I got my first big girl job I was excited…Webbie’s I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T rang out from heaven’s ghetto and here I was doing the thang. Webbie and Boosie backed me up with their liberating verse “She got her own house, she got her own car, two jobs, work hard, you a bad broad.” Yes! That was my girls and me, shouting at the top of our lungs “”If you ain’t on, SIT DOWN!”
I had the nice studio apartment on the 3rd floor, my own car, bought a nice living room and bedroom set, and cable with the premium channels. ALL BILLS PAID ON TIME! I finally made it…right? Uhhh no…I had it all and was miserable, the loneliest period of my life. It also didn’t help that I was in a toxic relationship that no one knew I was in until the end. The main reason I was miserable is because I listened to what people thought would make me happy. I didn’t heed to the inner girl who rather take a trip to Paris than buy new Louboutin’s. I had to shift my mindset on what normal was to me. I loved experiences over things and thank God for social media for confirming there were others there like me. So with a lot of prayer and gumption, I broke up with the guy and broke up with my lease (side note: I do not recommend breaking a lease, I was fortunate and left without penalty due to a loophole..now a toxic relationship…BREAK IT OFF BOO!).
You Gotta Sacrifice
I started to create a life that excited me and also afforded me to travel again. Jesus be out here answering prayers precisely. I wish I still had the paper I wrote down my prayer. But I asked Him for low rent (but safe housing), a God fearing tribe, and an opportunity to go back to school to get my Master’s. I mean…HE DID THAT. When I tell you I put down the actual amount for rent and in a few weeks my amazing friend blessed me with an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. I moved into her house paying the exact rent I wrote down on paper. I have not had my own space in almost five years because I have been saving, traveling, and finishing grad school. Traveling is so important to me I have sacrificed having my own home and space.
When traveling is a priority, life is about many sacrifices. I have had the same car for 11 years (paid it off five years ago), I don’t have cable, I use someone else’s Netflix and other streaming services. I buy cheap clothes and shoes for the most part. I just wear them over and over again. If you check out my Instagram, you will notice. (Heeeey boyfriend denim shirt..it’s my fave) I live with low overhead and direct my disposable income to travel and doing things that make me happy.
I recently moved in with my best friend to cut even more cost to prepare for the future. Maybe buy a house soon…👀Though traveling is a major priority, saving is still my top. I have about three retirement plans (401K, Roth IRA, and whole life insurance), I have a travel/slush fund, and of course my regular savings. We can discuss finances in another post.
In the end, you will need to shift your mindset about what a “normal” life looks like, nothing anyone says will move you to live the life that you desire. I created this blog as a platform to inspire travel and not for you to want to duplicate my life, but rather to dream bigger and create the travel journey YOU want to live.