I have to make a confession: I’ve never been to Machu Picchu. I know that might not mean much to you, but to me it’s a big deal. It’s been on the very top of my list of places to see for several years and yet I still haven’t taken the time to travel there.
I can live with that though since I’ve made travel a big priority. I know I will see it because I put a lot of time and effort to fit travel into my life. But many people don’t make travel a priority. And they don’t just put off traveling to their top location, they put off traveling altogether.
Putting Off Travel
I have a friend who loves to travel. He doesn’t want to see every country in the world like I do, but he still wants to see all of Europe and Australia. And for a few years after he graduated college, he took yearly trips. However, one year he just suddenly stopped.
He told me that he was putting off travel for awhile. His plan was to earn enough money so he could retire early. At that point he would start traveling again. In total, it will take him about 40 years.
I can’t tell you enough what a mistake I think he is making. And even though he is an extreme case, I think others’ have similar attitudes. Many people put off traveling until they think they can find a good time to do it. Unfortunately for those people, a good time to go never happens.
What’s Stopping You?
When it comes to travel, I can understand if there is a good reason holding you back. For example, if you’re completely broke, you can’t buy a plane ticket to go anywhere. But other reasons I’ve heard include that the timing is bad or they have kids or various other reasons.
Many people make it sound as if they’re waiting for the perfect time to go. They’ll travel once they have no money worries and are secure enough to take a little time off to explore the world. It’s not so much about factors in the present holding them back; it’s their uncertainty about the future.
This is no reason to stop you from traveling. The future is inherently chaotic and unpredictable. People can be happy and secure in their job one minute and unemployed in the next. No ideal time to travel will ever happen.
The worst part about waiting for the ideal time is how many travel opportunities you’ll miss out on in the meantime. Or worst of all, you’ll miss out on going anywhere at all. I’ve known many elderly men and women who waited and waited only to be struck down or bedridden with illness before they could go. To them, the chance to see other places is gone forever.
On Making Travel a Priority
When it comes to making travel a priority, stop thinking about doing it “one day” and think about doing it in the next few months. Give a specific time frame for when you want to do it. When you set a specific time in the future, it will make it more likely to happen. When you think of doing something “one day”, you’ll just keep putting it off and it will never get done.
Take a look at the other reasons that are keeping you from traveling. One of the biggest ones I hear is how you have kids now so traveling has to stop. I never quite understood this since having kids shouldn’t necessarily mean stopping travel entirely. In fact, when I was in Central America, I saw a large number of families taking vacations. Having kids makes traveling a little more difficult, but not impossible.
Also remind yourself of why you want to see parts of the world. Was there something that made you want to go there in the first place? Revisit your passion for traveling to those places and your motivation and desire will come naturally.
In many cases, the best time to travel is as soon as possible. Don’t wait until retirement or when the kids are out of the house. That could be too late. If you have the money and time to go than do it. Just because the place you want to go will always be there doesn’t mean you can take forever.
Part of the fun that goes into traveling is the adventure it entails. And adventure is about not knowing what will happen next. Think about it like this: nobody ever accomplished anything by waiting for it to happen. You have to make it happen.
As for me, I’m not waiting to travel. Another friend of mine has a saying, “you never regret spending money on travel.” I couldn’t agree more. I haven’t regretted it yet and I still won’t regret it when I’m sitting on the side of those Incan ruins enjoying the view. See you in Machu Picchu.
photo credit: y-a-n