How to motivate yourself to travel long-term

words Alexa Wang

Making the decision to travel long-term can be unnerving. Not everyone will agree with your decision, and it can be difficult trying to explain the reasoning behind it. But everyone who hits the road has a reason they yearn for the nomadic lifestyle: whether you’re seeking to embrace new cultures, cultivate a newfound independence, or rejuvenate after a breakup or long career in an unhappy role, travel can help invigorate and restore. 

And yet, so many people with travel dreams never take the leap. Fear, judgement, and assumptions about long-term travel create unnecessary barricades that prevent you from having the journey of your dreams. With that in mind, here’s how you can motivate yourself to take that initial travel leap:

Watch Videos 

Carving out time to watch travel video blogs or travel-inspired feature films is a great way to gain a better, real-world perspective of what certain countries will be like and what to expect from long-term travel. There are dozens of video travel video bloggers who offer tips on traveling to certain countries and advice for the road. 

Many times, however, you’re not looking for a guide; you’re looking for a story. You want to see a place through the eyes of someone else and share those experiences. Fortunately, there are plenty of other platforms that offer a narrative. For example, Active Traveler is a platform that features adventure travel videos from around the world. The purpose of these videos is to get your adrenaline pumping and offer a glimpse into the type of activities you can find across the globe, from hiking the Rocky Mountains to surfing waves in Hawaii

Vimeo is another great example of how videographers use travel as a storytelling tool. Simply browse the travel section or filter results based on the countries you’re interested in viewing. 

Have a Safety Plan in Place

One of the biggest fears people have of traveling long-term is lack of safety. Being far from the typical safety net at home can be scary. The Barnes Firm, a personal injury law office, advises travelers to secure travel insurance and look into local emergency numbers in the event of an accident (you can reach them here: https://www.thebarnesfirm.com/contact-us/san-diego-personal-injury-attorney/). Having the right preventative measures in place will help you react quicker if an accident were to occur, on or off the road. 

Head to the Bookstore

There’s something silently pleasing about peering across the hundreds of titles that line the travel section of a bookstore, pausing every so often to thumb through the photos of a particular book. At a major bookstore, you’ll find several books per country, and can easily get lost amidst the shelves. This provides inspiration because books are something you can physically touch, and a bookstore indulge all your senses, igniting the wanderlust in you. 

Pick up a few books that intrigue you—whether they’re Lonely Planet travel guides or a collection of travel essays and pictorial books—and sit down with them with a nice cup of coffee or tea. As you turn the pages, you’ll find yourself inspired by the images you see, and might even get some new ideas about where you’d like to go. 

Read Travel Blogs

This goes without saying: travel blogs can offer unparalleled advice from people who have been there and done that. Travel blogs also help bridge the gap between travel advice and travel emotions. How do people feel when they travel? What makes them travel, what inspires them to take the leap, and how do they handle the pressures of long-term trips? Sifting through some of the best travel blogs can put things into perspective for you.

For example, renowned travel blogger Matt Kepnes once posted a very popular blog post about the concept of “running away.” Many long-term travelers face this criticism when they decide to leave their homes, and it can be difficult trying to decipher your own feelings—much less explain them to a close-minded family member, friend, or colleague. Here’s what Matt Kepnes had to say on the topic:

“While there may be exceptions (as there are with everything), most people who become vagabonds, nomads, long-term travelers, and wanderers do so because they want to experience the world, not escape problems. We are running away from office life, commutes, and weekend errands, and the corporate 9 to 5. We’re running away from the strict path society has laid out as normal.”

Maintain a Travel Fund

One of the biggest issues with long-term travel is how you’ll save up enough money to afford life on the road. Of course, finances are never fun. Saving and managing expenses can feel draining when you’re not getting immediate results. But there are ways you can save and cut costs on the road to make your trip more attainable. Start by doing your research and determining how much you’d need to travel for your desired time. Then considering your current expenses, create a budget to determine how much you’d need to save weekly or monthly to meet your goals. Use budget apps to help you keep track and visualize your progress. 

While you’re on the road, use platform like Workaway or WWOOF to volunteer and work at organizations and businesses in exchange for free housing and food. A working vacation in different destinations allows you to save while you see more of the world. You can also sign up for house sitting services. 

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