so you have a 9-6 job. 11 things people talk themselves out of travel with

Table Mountain, Cape Town

Table Mountain, Cape Town

A lot of folks are surprised I travel so much, even while I've got a full time job. It was almost a stigma at one point of time that I travelled almost every other month. Conversely I was surprised with all of the reasons why people sometimes talk themselves out of travelling when they have a 9-6 job. Your skin should grow thicker and your courage build as you read on.      

1. My office is swamped! I can't take leave! I can't abandon my clients!

In my previous company everyone worked really hard, and the pace was so fast that everyone frequently got stressed out. Seeing us work a colleague used to come up to us and joke, "Nobody's going to die right? Chill out, guys." It became a running gag and gave us perspective that we weren't working to save lives here. We took ourselves too seriously. When you're in your 9-6, it's a given to give your 110%. But after 4 years there I only ever stopped stressing out towards the end. I only knew how when I realised there was more I wanted out of my life. If you've got a good delegation plan and a supportive team no one should make you feel guilty with above reasons for you to not travel. 

2. My office needs me. I'm indispensable

If you're some one who is REALLY indispensable and saving lives, I salute you. But if you're behind a desk, I'm sure you're not. Managers sometimes think themselves on a pedestal without which the machine will break. Truth is, good managers are able to let go. It means you're able to delegate and empower the people you work with in your absence (I don't mean just shoving responsibility on someone else without proper guidance so you can take off). You not taking a break shouldn't be the basis of how you're "indispensable". It should be based on your skill set, character and value to the team. If you're "always needed on the ground otherwise things won't work", then perhaps it's worth thinking about why that is.

3. I'll travel only when I need a break

Stop using travel as an "escape". I did this too for years, to the point when the "escape" wasn't enjoyable anymore. I wanted to run away from work literally so I couldn't get anymore phone calls, emails or texts. And when I was away, I was grumpy, angry, frustrated because I knew this escape was temporary and I had to come back to it all. Travel purposefully and meaningfully. Use that time to enrich your mind, knowledge and appreciation of culture. Use the time to relax and to center yourself. Don't start thinking of travel as an escape because you're basically thinking of yourself as that person who gets caught and sent back. Don't kick off that negativity. 

4. I don't have enough annual leave 

Everyone has at least 14 days of leave throughout the year. Plan out how you can use a few days in combination with a public holiday to stretch it out. Even if you're planning of using at least 10 days to plan a long trip, you've still got 4 left. Plan a 3 day weekend short trip 4 times, and you'd have travelled 5 times in the year. That's almost once every 2 months! This is how Shawn and I once travelled 9 months out of 12, going to Malaysia, South Korea, Burma, South Africa and more.

Table Mountain, Cape Town

Table Mountain, Cape Town

5. Got no money! Travelling is too expensive

As long as you're working, you have a steady income. No matter what you earn, saving a little bit of that goes a long way to start travelling. Travelling is expensive yes, but it's no different than pouring 1/10 of your pay check into drinks at the bar every month or spending a ridiculous amount on salads daily. It adds up. Spending on travel instead of frivolous impulse buys is a lifestyle change and you have to adjust comfortably as you can. Is it eating in on Saturdays instead of out all weekend? Is it buying clothes every 3 months instead of weeks? Every time I buy something that's 9.99 I always think "so cheap!" and I buy 6 tops I don't need. That's 60 bucks right there and at least a flight ticket to the nearest destination.

6. I can't save 

Honestly, I'm terrible at saving. I spent a decade throwing my hard earned money away on clothes, drinking, food, taxis, gym memberships, random shit, things I never use and things I look at right now and don't even want. I don't own assets and I can't afford to. So when I say I CAN save, I really can't believe anyone else can't. I don't believe in most articles about saving because they're not realistic. Give up eating? Omg, how. Run to work so you get fit AND save at the same time? SURE. Put 20% of my pay check aside and mark that savings with big neon letters saying "SAVINGS"? Yup, I'm never going to touch that money. Saving is not a one time deal. Most people can't do any of these tips much less do it forever. But most people put so much pressure on themselves to do it that they give up and fail. I didn't start by aiming to save thousands of dollars. I didn't even start thinking "I need to save 500 bucks every month". All I did was look at the 295 dollars I had in my bank account in despair and said, "I want 500 in my bank next month by hook or by crook". And that's it. And then 700. And then 750 because SALE month!! (it happens). And then 1,000 immediately after because guilt. Until that motivation every month snowballed and then I could properly put aside 20% separately for travel. 

7. Saving up for the BIG trip. Who cares about weekenders?

Some people dream to "see the whole world": many countries, just once. That's great, if you're travelling with that very specific goal in mind. Some people want to enjoy a different culture, see something different, be outside of our comfort zone, all the time. A big trip can do that just as well as a weekender if you're travelling meaningfully. I used to only travel once a year and that experience comes and goes in the blink of an eye. On short trips I've seen Burma, Vietnam, Bangkok, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan more than once. Travel frequently, deeply, and enjoy each moment. If you're saving up for a big trip, I bet you can set aside at least 10% of what you're putting aside monthly already for a little short getaway too. You don't have to give up eating dinner. 

Giraffes at the Karongwe Game Reserve near Kruger

Giraffes at the Karongwe Game Reserve near Kruger

8. I'm too tired to plan a trip now

I've been down this one. After a long day at the office all I want to do when I come home is order a large takeout meal, watch Brooklyn Nine Nine, have a laugh, and then go to sleep. Repeat. This would have been my life if it wasn't for Shawn. I'd never climb an active volcano in Bali. I'd never dance to Major Lazer (bucket list!!) at the Lovebox festival in London. I'd never snowboard in Queenstown, New Zealand, and realise I suck at it so bad I would never be that cool snowboarder I dreamt of being when I was a kid. And every time I lay down on the couch to watch Netflix I think about how I really want to be figuring out when's a good time I can travel back to my favourite place in the whole world, South Africa.  

9. I've got 2 kids! Logistics is a nightmare 

It's difficult but it can be done. I don't have any kids so it's not my place to say, but I do know planning, and planning ANYTHING is never an impossible task and not something to be scared of. The hardest is always the first time figuring out what your family needs and how to make it happen. Shawn and I travel now and then with our family too where we are the planners, and it took one trip to iron out all the kinks. When you've done it once you've got a template to replicate for future trips. Keep your first trip short and simple but don't shortchange yourself and your family.

10. I'm waiting for a fantastic deal

There are times when deals are too awesome to pass on. Shawn and were a few of the lucky ones to fly to Paris on a SGD400 (usually about SGD1K++) ticket when AirAsia launched that deal. It was one of the most uncomfortable flights of my life, but that's another story. These deals are so rare. Airlines often come up with weekly deals offering flights to closer destinations. Make use of that and plan a weekender. I've done 48 hour trips to Bangkok so often that it's almost my second home. Explore more of a city; just because you've been there once doesn't mean you can't enjoy different parts of it. 

11. I don't want to go to India

I didn't want to visit India unless I had more time like 2 weeks, so I could do a proper trip. But when those 2 weeks freed up I wanted to go to the Netherlands. And then France. And then the UK. For you, it might be a destination you didn't think you'd want to go to for the same reason. But I broke out of this pattern and I'm visiting Jaipur very soon! It's for a short 4 day trip and it's a compromise on my grand plan, but I'm finally going.

So if you feel yourself coming down with a reason to NOT travel, read from the start again! Travelling is one of the most rewarding experiences you can ever have, not retail or food therapy. Some of my best moments in life were spent on the road.