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6 Excuses Not to Travel (and Why They are BS)

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Enough already with the excuses! I’ve heard them all over the past few years. I never ask for them, but whenever I meet someone at a party, tell them what I’m up to and what I’ve chosen to do, the excuses come pouring out.

It always amuses me a bit, because I would never expect anyone to do the crazy stuff I’m doing unless they really had a burning passion for it. It takes all kinds of people and there’s definitely no right or wrong way to live your life. That being said, I also have to roll my eyes at the folks who clearly would like to travel, but let a bunch of trivial stuff get in the way. Travel, like so many things in life is about priorities. You have to make it one if you ever want to get anywhere.

Which is why none of these excuses work…

Save MoneyPhoto credit: 401K

1. I can’t afford it

Probably the most common excuse for not traveling. Yes, traveling is expensive, and it’s hard to save up when you have bills to pay and all that. But…. there’s a lot of things you spend money on that you don’t need. You don’t need a new car, you don’t need a flatscreen tv, you don’t need a $15 martini. Most people who travel a lot aren’t rich kids, they just make it a point of saving their discretionary money for travel. If travel is a priority, there are a lot of ways to find money to make it happen.

In fact, in many instances traveling for a year can be cheaper than your expenses would be at home.

Gary had a long night

2. I’m stuck at my job

This just makes me sad. I know we are in a recession and jobs are hard to come by, but there are a lot of ways that travel can help, not hurt your career. A career break can re-energize you, give you new skills and resources and help you re-examine your career path. If you don’t believe me check out the guys at Career Break Secrets or Briefcase to Backpack.

Finance maze

photo credit: RambergMediaImages

3. I have too many loans

Yup. I’ve got them too, lovely student loans that I will be paying off for years to come. Actually a lot of travelers I know carry this particular burden. I pay them every month and you can too, you just need to build that money into your potential travel budget. You may also want to look into working on the road.

Tourist information

photo credit: josemanuelerre

4. Nobody will go with me

Well, you already know what I’m going to say. Solo traveling is great and rewarding blah blah blah, but it’s also sometimes the only way to get anything done. I set out to do my big trip solo, not necessarily because I particularly wanted to, but because I knew that if I waited around for the perfect travel partner I might wait a very long time. (As luck had it the perfect partner appeared much sooner than expected, but that’s another story.)

Don't feed your daughter to the crocodiles

photo credit: tm-tm

5. I’m worried about safety

Okay, it’s certainly wise to consider the safety concerns of anywhere you go. That being said, there is a misconception, particularly in the United States, that the world outside is a big scary dangerous place. That’s simply not true. There are many places in the world that can be safely traveled, even by solo women.

Batur Volcano and Lake

photo credit: tropicaLiving - Jessy Eykendorp

6. I’ll do it someday

I say I’m going to do a lot of things someday: write a novel, start going to the gym, learn to cook. How many of them are actually going to get done?

You can put off travel indefinitely, but there’s a pretty good chance that the day you’re waiting for isn’t going to come. There is no perfect time to travel, but the time to start living the life you want is always right now.

The thing is, it’s okay if you don’t want to go anywhere. I don’t really get it, but I respect it. However, if you DO want to make a change, then it’s time to stop lying to yourself and to start living the way you want.

But how? That’s the hard part. That’s why I’m devoting one day a week over the next few months to telling you HOW exactly you can travel the world.

Stay tuned…

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30 Responses to 6 Excuses Not to Travel (and Why They are BS)

  1. Tim L. January 26, 2012 at 10:06 AM #

    And #7 – “My parents will kill me” or the unspoken one “My friends won’t get it.” Peer pressure is a huge (and stupid) hurdle for a whole lot of people. They don’t want to look abnormal, so they buy an iPhone, grab their Starbucks, and go to a job they hate for another day. Now they fit in, without having to think.

    • Steph January 26, 2012 at 10:11 AM #

      That’s a really really good one. It can be so hard to stand up and stand out, or to go against your families wishes. At the same time though it’s important to live the life you want and need to. Thanks for reminding me of that one!

    • Someday I'll Be There - Mina January 27, 2012 at 1:55 PM #

      Well, Tim, sometimes peer pressure has the opposite effect. When many of your peers doubt you can make something on your own, then the peer pressure works for your favour, and you just set off alone ;)

  2. Gemma | Gap Daemon January 26, 2012 at 10:15 AM #

    I think the key is going before you have responsibilities or, a career that you can’t easily leave or even a mortgage to pay. That said, you’re right- there’s always a way and you should never put travelling off as life’s too short…

  3. Political traveler January 26, 2012 at 11:11 AM #

    Thanks for your update Steph, Last August I decided I want to travel all through South America. I’ve been saving up money, cleaning up my daily tasks, selling my personal belongings, and more… ever since.

    The end goals is to start a one year backpacking trip through South America next August (so a year after)

  4. Tom Pinit January 26, 2012 at 1:36 PM #

    Hey Steph, great list you’ve got compiled here. I recently watched a documentary on solo RTW backpacking called A Map for Saturday. You can watch it here: youtu.be/W-TpSCDv04g

    Very inspiring to get out there and just do it. We are currently saving for a big family adventure :)

  5. Daniela January 26, 2012 at 2:32 PM #

    Thank you I will be reading this many times before I leave!! :)

  6. Daniela January 26, 2012 at 2:33 PM #

    your blog is fantastic I’m so excited that I came across it!

  7. Unisse January 26, 2012 at 9:10 PM #

    I guess I’m one of those people who has made these excuses already, though not all of them.

    There’s also the “My dad will kill me” excuse, like what Tim said, but that usually depends on family traditions and stuff. Some cultures aren’t quite so keen about their children going traveling alone for a year or so. They think it’s impractical.

    This post got me straight to the heart!

  8. Amanda January 26, 2012 at 9:36 PM #

    Excuses SUCK. And these are definitely some of the worst ones. I did a guest post last year on this same topic, and the excuses I listed were very similar to these ones!

    The “I’ll do it someday” is the one I think I hate the most. People push so many things in life off, saving them for “later.” But that’s a horrible way to approach life. I know I sure don’t want to have any regrets 10, 30, or 50 years from now!

  9. Kieron January 27, 2012 at 6:34 AM #

    You’d love the quote we put on our Facebook page the other day!

    “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”
    ― Jordan Belfort

  10. Maggie January 27, 2012 at 8:42 AM #

    I always find it entertaining when I talk about how I’m living abroad or planning on traveling long term and people immediately start spouting out excuses about why they can’t do that. They would LOVE to, of course! but they just can’t. “Oh, I wish I could BUT….” It’s so silly because I never ask them “why don’t you travel?? You should pick up your whole life and move across the planet, too!” Still, people love giving up their excuses and then I’m forced to nod and smile or look sad for them since those poor babies are so stuck in their life. It always makes me think of this quote:

    “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
    ― E. James Rohn

  11. Matt January 27, 2012 at 8:54 AM #

    Great points and ones that can be applied to all travelers, not just people thinking about long term travel. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Someday I'll Be There - Mina January 27, 2012 at 1:48 PM #

    Thank you!! I’m one of dreamers, trying to save up now though and selling some belongings…its harder than you think it is for an Egyptian though…and it itches me to stay without traveling for so long so every now and then I just take out of my account for some internal traveling inside Egypt (A) its a guilty pleasure haha

  13. Rebecca January 27, 2012 at 10:34 PM #

    Six years ago I quit my job, sold everything I owned and moved overseas. It was the best experience of my life and I did it solo. Everyone came at me with the excuses why they couldn’t do it (the 5 excuses listed here were prominent) and I shot down every single one. I’ve done almost all my traveling solo or I met fellow travelers with similar itineraries. The world is too big to stay in one place.

  14. Chrissy Travels January 28, 2012 at 8:45 PM #

    Great list! I am 17 months into my life on the road with no home, no car and no cares. It’s been the best. Now I just have to figure out a way to fund it so I can keep going.

    No excuses! I will find a way!

  15. Claire January 31, 2012 at 7:46 PM #

    Student loans are indeed the worst excuse not to travel-I still haven’t paid off my undergrad loans (graduated 10 years ago!) and I have traveled more in the last decade then I probably will the rest of my life. If you wait until your loans are gone, your ability/desire might be gone too! Student loans will ALWAYS be there. That cheap ticket might not!

  16. Ron February 1, 2012 at 2:07 PM #

    Say it like it is girl! lol All so true facts! Quit making excuses and just get out there!

  17. Julie February 1, 2012 at 8:28 PM #

    The biggest thing that holds me back is healthcare. I’m in my 20s but I’m a cancer survivor. I might be able to find a travel insurance or country that might help me out if I need medical tests but if I want to return stateside then who knows what the situation might be with all the healthcare/insurance issues in the US. I wouldn’t want one year abroad to ruin my chances at good (and affordable!) healthcare in the future.

  18. Aryn April 30, 2012 at 11:33 AM #

    I hear ridiculous one’s all the time as well. A lot of people have perceived barriers and obligations that really aren’t that obligatory and the only thing holding them back is themselves. As for #5, I hear that one from American’s all the time and frankly, most places I have traveled I feel infinitely safer then I ever have in any city in America. There are cities in the US where I wouldn’t leave the hostel at night even with my bulky eastern european boyfriend in tow because we just didn’t feel safe.

  19. Kelly Lewis December 4, 2012 at 3:11 PM #

    My least favorite of all time is: “But I have a boyfriend.” SO?? Take him with you, or leave him behind. If he’s awesome enough, he’ll find a way to travel too!

  20. Adventurous Andrea December 4, 2012 at 3:48 PM #

    Awesome post! I’ll definitely be tweeting this.

  21. 25YearsYoung December 4, 2012 at 11:24 PM #

    It is the hardest thing to drop the BS and just do it. It has only been 4 months of our travels and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks twenty something for reminding me how worth it it is!
    http://25yearsyoung.com/how-to-leave-your-comfort-zone-and-move-to-a-new-country-in-14-easy-steps/

  22. Alex December 5, 2012 at 3:08 AM #

    This is such a great article! Well said and to the point. Love your style Steph!

  23. dora December 5, 2012 at 4:33 AM #

    Coming from a country (Croatia) where about 90% or more of twenty-somethings could not save up to travel even if they worked several jobs and sold all they had on eBay, makes me appreciate travel so much more. It’s important to be grateful, as so many people truly can’t afford it! And always be aware of social and economic issues of the place you are in. I am not talking just about obvious poverty, but transitional countries (Eastern Europe, parts of South America, parts of Asia) where you will meet educated young people your age, fluent in foreign languages and with admirable skills, who will probably never be able to travel, not because of bull*hit excuses, but because they make in a month what you make in a day back home.

    • Steph December 5, 2012 at 8:47 AM #

      Thanks for pointing this out. Travel really is a privilege and it’s a shame not to take advantage of it if you can.

  24. Ourjourneytothesea April 30, 2013 at 9:32 PM #

    I agree x 6. I hate it when people say how jealous they are of my lifestyle and how much I travel. I still work full time AND have loans, but can make it happen. Good time and money organization are the key to all your travelling dreams!

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