I recently stumbled upon an article called What It’s Like to Have Wanderlust, But Not The Means To Wander. I read it, both sympathetically and critically. See, I can relate to someone who doesn’t have an endless amount of cash and who feels responsibly tethered to their 9 to 5 life. I get that. But I’ve also been to at least a dozen countries in the past two years alone. How, you ask?
A better question is why? And the answer is because I want it bad enough. I have the same money struggles as everyone else. I come from a poor immigrant family so the second I turned 18, I found myself having to pay for everything. I owe enough in student loans to buy a house. I make a modest living and I live humbly, but no matter what, I always find the means to travel. So much so that a couple of months ago, I suddenly found myself unemployed and out my last two paychecks the same month that I had two trips planned to Barcelona and Japan. I went anyway. That’s why I have credit cards.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating reckless spending or living beyond your means. In fact, up until that instance, I had never once carried a balance on my credit cards. But I figured, just this once, I can afford to take these trips and figure out how to pay it back later. And I did. You wouldn’t know it from my pictures on Instagram but I was broke and unemployed when I found myself on the other side of the world.
Almost everyone I meet tells me they love to travel, but only a handful of people really love to travel. They’re the ones that make sacrifices in order to do so. Instead of spending their weekends at the same old bars in town, they save their money for doing what they really love: getting on a plane and discovering somewhere new. They’re not terribly wealthy people – some of them are also unemployed, some of them work in retail or the food service industry. But they find a way to make it work.
It always makes me laugh when someone who leases a car for $700 a month or lives in a luxury high-rise for more than double that tells me they can’t afford to travel. Of course, they can. They’re just spending their money on something else. Whether it’s clothes, shoes, electronics, drinking, or nice dinners, they’re prioritizing other things in their lives.
The other day I saw this flight deal online:
That’s a Friday night for a lot of people. But therein lies the difference between someone like me and the average person that doesn’t have the means to travel. I stay home on a Friday night and watch Netflix or listen to the Serial podcast. Which is fine by me because that means some Friday nights, I’m boarding a plane instead.