In July, I was sitting on a train zipping across Italy at 200+ miles per hour. During that train ride, I penned the outline of this article. People must travel the world, I thought.The stroke of inspiration came to me as I saw the countryside flying past me.
I thought to myself, “I’m 25 now. And this countryside isn’t the only thing flying past me…life is, too.”
But do you know the scary thought that accompanied that?
“I don’t really see a way to…well, slow it down.”
That’s a scary thought for a lot of people. As the years accelerate by you, so does the time. It’s an out of control train going in a straight line. There are no brakes.
I was fortunate enough to figure out a lot of things in life early. I am thankful for that everyday. But some people aren’t so lucky. A lot of men spend their lives fighting the effects of a bitter divorce. A lot of women spend their lives procrastinating on starting a family, only to find that when they do want it, biology has reared it’s ugly head.
Far too many people spend their lives trapped in a legal jail cell–a cubicle. The only difference is that in real jail, you get shredded instead of sitting on your ass getting more fat by the day.
I was in route from Bologna to Venice on that train. I had just flown in from Poland, where I’d spent the last couple of days. Prior to that, I’d been seeing my girl in Kiev. I missed her.
But I was going to see my family, who I don’t see enough.
Two weeks of gallivanting around Europe. My dad had never set foot on European soil. Mom had. Once. Nearly thirty years ago. Both of them are now past fifty. I realized by the end of the trip that they may not ever get an experience like that ever again.
Meanwhile, my future travels plans look limitless. As long as I’ve got a laptop, a cup of coffee, and a decent internet speed–I’m set. And I’m very thankful.
The question I ended up asking myself was this: How do I give others enough strokes of inspiration to travel the world?
And God damn, it was a hard question to answer.
But I figured I would start with this article.
There is no once sized fits all blueprint. It’s a lot of trial, error, failing, and trying again.
8 REASONS TO TRAVEL THE WORLD
#1: PERSONAL GROWTH
Simply put, when you travel the world you grow as a person.
I feel that this year alone, I’ve grown more than I ever have. That’s in just six or so months on the road. If I look back at my time in the cubicle jail block, I just remember being stagnant every day.
This year has been a whole new deal. I’ve tackled new business ventures–some of them have been successful. Some have not. I’ve learned a lot about cultures I previously disliked. I’ve learned a bit of a new language.
What did I do when I was a computer engineer?
Well, I sat at the same desk. I looked at the same machines. I did the same processes.
Every. Single. Day.
Simply put, that’s no way for a man (or woman, frankly) to live.
People need excitement in their lives. If you don’t have anything to truly live for, then guess what–you are not living.
You are simply going through the motions in the hopes that someday you’ll be rescued. Sadly, I have news for you. That train only has one destination.
It’s six feet underground and full of regret.
Life is all about choice.
HOW TO GET #1: It really, truly just starts with taking your first trip. Preferably alone. And don’t get me wrong, it’s a damn scary thing to plan your first trip.
Travel is by far the best way for personal growth that I’ve ever encountered.
It doesn’t need to be a crazy trip. If you’ve never left the United States, don’t plan a month in Ukraine. That’s a good way to shock your system into needing real repair.
But start small. Go to a place like Montreal for a weekend, and get lost in the Euro-American wonders of that city. Head to Colombia and check out Bogota for a few days (it’s only a 2.5 hour/~$150 flight from Miami!).
#2: THE SHELL OF CONVERSATION
Have you been to a restaurant in America lately? The next time you’re out eating, take a look around at you.
What percentage of people in that venue are on their smartphone?
Despite the fact that they are out with other people, groups will spend their entire meals scrolling mindlessly through their Facebook feed. I used to think I understood why–they wanted the dopamine hit of getting likes and comments.
But after traveling abroad, I actually disagree with that idea.
Simply put, people are living such mundane lives that they don’t have enough to talk about. When you do the same tedious things day after day…
…HOW COULD YOU FILL AN HOUR CONVERSATION?
I make an effort to call my parents every week, on Sunday evening. It’s been something I’ve done since I first moved to college. For six or seven years, every Sunday I’ve talked to my mom for nearly an hour about my week. I’d always had exciting things to tell.
Can you guess what happened towards the end of my Corporate America tenure?
Yep, those conversations got shorter. Rather than riveting adventures, I was just bitching about my job. Our phone calls were going from an hour to half an hour. Sometimes even those thirty minutes felt forced.
Can you guess what happened when I moved to Europe?
Our phone calls returned to normal.
HOW TO GET #2: You simply must push yourself out of your comfort zone.
If you’re unwilling to try something new, you’re doomed to fail. Ask yourself each and every day what new things you could tell your own mother about.
Repeatedly coming up empty on this matter is a reason to get out there.
#3: THE PEOPLE OF OTHER CULTURES ARE A GREAT REASON TO TRAVEL THE WORLD
This kind of goes hand in hand with #2.
Don’t get me wrong, people overseas work hard too. Many of them have jobs they dislike. However, the beautiful thing about getting to travel the world is that there is always something new to talk about.
Sometimes, my girl and I go out and have dinner for hours. We’ll just sit at a restaurant for three or four hours on an evening. We’ll have a couple glasses of wine and just talk.
Meeting people from different cultures means you can always be teaching something new to each other. Talk about cultural differences. Struggles of getting along. Things you love. Or hate.
I have a great connection with her. We click well. Ukrainian girls are pretty sharp (click here to learn how to meet them yourself).
HOW TO GET #3: But the funniest thing is that I’ve found this is true with the guys I meet, too. Fellow expats who have been all over.
I routinely go to three hour lunch and coffee sessions with some of them. And we never run out of things to discuss. Sometimes those lunches spill into happy hour, and even dinner. Some of them may be coming on Troublesome Radio in the near future, so stay tuned.
Anyways, how do you get #3?
Start connecting with people around the globe.
The internet is a beautiful thing. People who hate on technology and say it has sapped us of human connection are just that–haters. Technology is fantastic. In no time of history have you ever been able to connect so easily with someone around the globe.
So do it!
Look at technology as the blessing it is, not a curse.
#4: BECAUSE YOU’RE GOD DAMN FORTUNATE (THE POWER OF THE PASSPORT)
Most of you reading this blog are Americans. I know, because I know my website stuff.
However, this doesn’t apply just to you. This applies to all of the folks with passports from Western countries.
WE ARE VERY, VERY FORTUNATE.
The fact that we can walk into most countries in the world, with hardly a blink in our direction is…incredible.
Girls here in Ukraine have to practically sell their kidneys to be able to travel anywhere, except Russia or Belarus. And neither of those places have a nice beach to escape to during the frigid winters.
You owe it to your ancestors who fought and died for your freedom to travel the world. Sure, those same ancestors wanted to escape and build a better life in America. But, if they knew the opportunities that behold you today, they’d be proud of the work they did.
And ashamed if you didn’t take advantage of it.
HOW TO GET #4: Well, if you don’t have a passport, get to it.
#5: FINANCIAL FREEDOM (THE POWER OF THE DOLLAR)
The United States dollar is incredibly powerful in nearly every part of the world.
Do you know the one place it’s really not that powerful?
IN THE UNITED STATES.
This doesn’t apply if you live out in rural Iowa or Nebraska. But most of us aspire to live in sexy, big cities. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami. We want the curb appeal of a big city.
However, those places are often incredibly expensive.
I paid $2,000 a month for my apartment in Los Angeles, which was nearly half of what I was taking home from my job. I was working to live at a job I hated, in a town I wasn’t that fond of.
Right now, I’m in the very city center of Kiev.
The nicest nightlife area is about three minutes away. Most of the best restaurants in the city are within ten minutes by foot.
There is a metro next door.
The gym is seven minutes away.
My apartment has two rooms, two balconies, is completely renovated, and I paid $744 to live here this month.
HOW TO GET #5: Even if you can’t break free completely right now, start saving.
$10,000 in the bank would nearly get you through an entire year abroad, and that’s if you did absolutely nothing to make money.
Once you break free, you’ll recognize there is no going back.
PS: You can book and save money on AirBNB using my link.
#6: IS IT HARD IF YOU DON’T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE?
In short, it makes life harder.
But it’s not a reason not to travel the world.
Sure, there are days I want to tear my hair out, because most people here don’t speak English and my Russian is still at a toddler level.
Look at it as an opportunity to grow (remember what I said in #1?)
HOW TO GET #6: You can learn just about anything on YouTube these days.
And if not, there are plenty of online courses that are quite affordable. You can learn the basics of just about any language.
That’s not even the point there. English in most places of the world is pretty good. You’ll be fine.
#7: STUFF SUCKS
Stuff is so unnecessary too.
Why do we buy big screen TVs?
What about luxury cars?
Best yet, what about mortgages we can’t afford?
Is it because we’re supposed to (hint: yes), or because we’re so damn bored with our lives we must fill it with something (hint: yes)?
You know what’s not boring?
Material items are a noose around the neck tethering you to a spot. As long as that crippling debt is tying you down, you’ll never get to see the world for what it is.
HOW TO GET #7: Start selling stuff, and turn it into your travel the world nest egg.
Big screen TVs become obsolete because now you have more to talk about.
Luxury cars aren’t necessary because public transit is an adventure when you travel the world.
The mortgages go bye-bye because you’re a digital nomad with an aspiring business. Now, if you tire of a place–guess what–you can go!
#8: EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WANTED, IS SITTING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FEAR
– George Addair
Fear is a powerful tool in free person’s article.
But only if you use it properly.
To not fear = to never have to deal with the consequences of not taking action.
Of going after what you want.
Do you fear being stuck in your job forever?
Do you fear not getting to see the world?
Do you fear never learning if the grass is, in fact, greener?
Yeah, you probably do. I did. Still do. You must use fear as a motivator. A tool in your arsenal to help you get ahead.
You don’t deserve anything until you’ve put in the work.
I didn’t deserve to sell any copies of my first eBook. But, I think I sold 7. It took a long time to build a blog that reaches enough people to make a living. But now, I get to travel the world as a free man.
HOW TO GET #8: Truly…think worst case scenario.
If you fear traveling, what’s the worst that happens?
Maybe you get a little confused on the metro in a new country and get lost.
Maybe some of the food disagrees with you.
Those are some of the worst case scenarios that have happened to me this year. And really, they weren’t all that bad. I didn’t run home out of fear that something worse would happen.
So as I wrote the outline to this post on that train, I thought to myself.
What do I have to fear?
That train ride in Italy made me realize something.
What I really fear is having to go back to my life of working for the Man.
That’s what I realized as I was zipping across the Italian countryside. Beautiful rivers, mountains, and fields. All of it so serene and peaceful. Far, far away from the jail cell I occupied as recently as February.
I stepped off the train in Venice, ready to explore a new place for the umpteenth time this year.
And if that’s not reason enough to travel the world, I don’t know what is.
Keep on hustling,
PS: The power of choice is very powerful–in all aspects of life. Frankly, the power of choice with women is probably the most important. A good girl is worth her weight in gold.