Living your life on the fly is hard, amazing, but hard. Here are five things you should make sure of before you pack up and head for the horizon.
You might land and be fundamentally unhappy with wherever you’ve decided to go (or find yourself or explore or learn a new culture…) Maybe you’ve spent thousands of hard earned dollars getting to Sydney, Australia, just to realize that it looks and feels a lot like a cleaner version of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It’s still a beautiful place, filled with kind people, but it isn’t the magical version of Oz you pictured. That’s on you and not on not the place you go. Make sure you do your research.
Traveling costs A LOT. You will be nickel and dimed by your home bank, as will you if you open a bank account in a new country. Everything you do will be taxed. Make sure you figure out, and stay aware, of the exchange rates between your home country and the one you travel to.
3. The people you leave behind
All of your friends will keep going whether or not you’re there, and this will hurt far more than you can anticipate. They will work on their careers, they will enter and end relationships, they will make new friends, and they will be different when you return. Telling them about your travel stories will feel like telling someone about your dream last night; they won’t really care that much. They’ll try their hardest, but that time you took one too many shots in Amsterdam won’t resonate with them. They weren’t there and you can’t blame them. Understand that before you leave.
4. The people you will be spending time with abroad
Whether you are traveling alone or going with other people, who you spend your time with abroad is crucial. You will be with them day and night, without fail.
Traveling with people from home? Awesome! All those quirks they have will become way less fun. You love how good they are chatting with locals, right? It’s awesome…until you’re in an unfamiliar Thai village. It’s getting dark, no one speaks the language, you’re both pretty lost, and still, they want to down another one with someone you’re pretty sure is an international gangster. Yeah, stopped being fun.
Oh, you met someone in a hostel? They’re good looking and love everything you love? Awesome… call your friends and family and tell them where you are. Please. For me (and your parents.)
5. Understanding everything might fail
Traveling is an amazing experience. It will most likely alter everything in your life, open doors, make you a bigger, better version of you. If flying around the world wasn’t so great, then no one would do it. Traveling makes you grow, makes you hurt and dig and lose and live in ways you never thought humanly possible. It did it for me. If it isn’t for you, that’s fine too. The answer to who you are as a person isn’t laying on a beach in Fiji so don’t stress.