Before embarking on my trip around the world, I received many well wishes from my friends and family which were all greatly appreciated. But amongst the sincere words was the occasional “You’re so lucky Sam!” and “I wish I could do what you’re doing!” While admittedly this was being said in good faith, it couldn’t be more from the truth. I am not lucky to be travelling the world. Luck has very little to do with the matter entirely.
Okay, let’s start off with the obvious – I live in Australia, which is literally known as the lucky country because of our beautiful land, culture, society and economy. I know you’re thinking: quite a difficult fight you’re trying to pick aren’t you Sam? Just wait, hear me out. I was lucky in the sense to be born there and be raised by two wonderful parents who taught me a lot and made it viable for me to save. But I’m still not lucky to be travelling the world. The concept implies I simply fell into a ticket, saving money, travel plans and all the necessary purchases leading up to packing my bags and leaving.
So how did I manage to travel the world at my age you may ask? It’s very simple and it comes down to two basic elements. The first is sacrifice. Throughout my school and university I always worked weekends, sacrificing nights out and such in order to save money. I knew from a young age I wanted to travel and that I’d need money for it. After graduating university I continued working, eager to save more money in order to reach my goals. But there are many people I know my age that work full-time and couldn’t dream of travelling the world and this why it seems ‘lucky’ for me to do it. Incorrect.
What it comes down to next is priorities. I never was too fussed about driving an expensive car, buying a house or partying excessively. Not saying there’s anything wrong with any of them, but they would be a big hindrance for anyone who wanted to travel the world for an extended period of time. I simply chose to prioritise my desire to travel over the need for these things and everyone can do that. It comes down to your mentality and your ability to prioritise these things in your life. I worked an average job working casually and didn’t save to the point of being in poverty. I still enjoyed lunches out with my friends, the occasional expensive dinner, movies and regular indulgences. What I did with my disposable income was put it towards seeing the world in the future.
Once you realise what you can accomplish with your hard earned money you will revel in the act of saving. It won’t become a burdensome chore but more of an exciting accumulation of future memories.
So the only thing it comes down to is your mentality. Work harder, work smarter and make priorities. Drop the smashed avo on toast every second day. Try cooking at home. Go easy on the SportsBet (one of my less intelligent investments).
With a little research and planning, a backpacking trip can be as affordable as you make it. I’ve met people who only travel by airplane and others who never eat a meal outside. You can find your balance and mould your travels around your budget. My only piece of advice is to smell the roses along your journey – there’s no point of a long trip if you’re not enjoying yourself.
As I type this to you, I’m relaxing in the beautiful country of Colombia, sipping a one dollar beer and enjoying every minute of my time abroad. It might be tough to save, but I can assure you it is so worth it in the end. As the old quote goes, travelling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Your travels will more than likely open your eyes to a new world of experiences and lessons that you never could have had in your comfort zone at home.
Let’s just hope luck is on your side.