5 Essential Steps to Travel
When I think about how much really fulfilling living I have done in the past 1.5 years of travelling, its overwhelming.
So many days have gone by that have been actually pretty life-changing. From being super relaxed in the tranquil heaven of Whitehaven Beach to having an adrenaline overdose jumping out of a plane recently, its been exciting and challenging.
That's not to say its been months of constant awesomeness.
There's been some real moments of difficulty. We have had to deal with a horrible boss in a stressful job, and there was 3 months where we worked outdoors on a farm, and that was definitely a major leaning curve.
Either way, I wouldn't swap a moment of it for having been at home, where the days always passed too quickly and too routinely in a way that left us both lacking vitality and passion for life.
Travel has reignited something within us both, and we want people to have the chance to experience the same.
Here are 5 essential steps on how to bring the magic of travel into your life:
Fix Your Finances
Before you embark on an adventure, be it 6 months or be it forever, you want to have your finances neatly tied up.
I don't mean writing a will, I mean paying off all your debts. In the year before Taran and I left England, I cleared around 1500 pounds in credit card debts. I did this through sheer determination. I made it so that my income was directed at my debts straight away, throwing as much as I could at them each week.
Unexpected income meant unexpected extra debt clearing!
I used the snowball method whereby I cleared the smaller debts first, which spurred me on. It helped that I was living at home, and was thus able to keep expenses low.
If you really want to get out of debt, then you do need to consider cutting back wherever possible. Sometimes it means 2-3 months of absolute suffering and then maybe 2-3 months of mild discomfort, but it is worth it for the sense of freedom and relief when you can finally say that you no longer owe any companies any money.
Building A Savings Account
Once you have paid your debts, this is when you can focus all your energy on building a healthy savings account to allow you to begin your travels.
Taran and I set up premium bonds, which meant our savings were kept entirely separate from our bank accounts. It also meant we got entries to the draw that means you can win anything from 25 to 25000 pounds.
It goes without saying that of course you need money to go travelling but you don't need as much as you might think.
We took around $10000 dollars between us, which when broken down was about 7000 from me and 4000 from Taran. That 7000 when back into pounds is around 3500. It really isn't an unreasonable figure to save. And the reason I say this is because I was running my own business, earning between 700-1300 a month (and one month only 400). My job was very changeable and so my income was unstable. And yet I was able to clear my debts and save up a good portion of that money within around 6 months.
I could have saved more, had I taken on new clients or got an extra job, or even just spent less. Where there's income, there's a way. It certainly is possible to save up a decent fund for any trip length, if you are willing to adjust your spending habits and make small sacrifices.
De-cluttering Your Home
My favourite part of the run-up to travelling was getting rid of my possessions and organizing my bedroom.
This was a really logical step for me, in getting prepared for my future, one that would be far more minimalist and frugal. I loved rifling through old photos and mementos, and found it super satisfying ridding myself of clothes and random things that I never used. I even did a car boot sale which gave me a little bit of pocket money, but was mostly just a fun way to give my stuff a new home.
I found that this step was integral to helping me see why I was making this big life change; why I was throwing hundred of pounds at debts I had previously avoided and why I was going without things in favour of saving.
I was steering my mind away from a path previously marked by materialism and a focus on acquiring things that I believed would make me happier. Thus this step was therapeutic and calming. I couldn't wait to actually pack my bag and walk away from the lifestyle of excess that had entrapped me in the past.
Making Peace With People
So this is a rather unconventional step not revolving around money. In the lead-up to our travels I made a conscious effort to leave my friends and family on solidly good terms.
I wanted to mend rifts and reconnect with those who mattered most to me. I wanted to feel like I was leaving behind people and relationships that were healthy. I wanted to go out into the world feeling that I could be free but also have people that I could talk to and share this life-phase with.
I was conscious of people understanding that I wasn't abandoning them or unable to relate to their life choices any more, I was simply following my heart.
Your life can't always revolve around the routines of family and friendships because if you, at the centre of it, are not content with your lifestyle, then you are foregoing the chance the fix that by staying with them.
Travel doesn't have to be permanent and home will always exist, but instead of a weighty anchor it can be a place you think of fondly and return to when you have experienced what you need to in order to feel fulfilled.
Plan Where To Go
You don't need a 5 year travel plan, but maybe a 6 month one is a good place to start.
Deciding on the first destination is important for many reasons, not simply for getting excited about all that there is to see.
You do need to plan for medical and insurance, as well as maybe topping up your vaccinations. I had to organize for some mandatory medical tests that I get for free on the NHS in England, so I made sure I was in tip-top condition before we left.
We knew that we wanted to see all of Australia, and so we found out what was the best way to get the maximum time out there. It worked out that us being aged 25, we were able to do a working visa which gave us 1 year, and if we did specified work, we could get a 2nd year. So we planned for maybe 2 years in Australia, and that is what we told all our families and friends much to their initial horror.
We worked out where was cheapest to fly into and when was cheapest to fly via kayak (and nowadays we'd use google-flights). We got a vague idea of hostel prices and food, to predict how far our savings might stretch. But in reality you can't be sure how well you will go financially until you are there. If your a hotel kind of person, checking rates is an essential part of travel planning, HotelsCombined provides awesome accommodation deals to help manage your travel finances.
Australia has obvious appeal but also the ability to work as we travelled, and in short-term positions, was a key part of why began there.
The most important thing is to figure out what you want out of the places you plan to visit, and launch from there when deciding where to visit and for how long.
Travelling isn't ever a perfect journey of endless smiles, although there are many days where I have felt so deeply happy I just wish I could bottle the feeling and sell it. Instead I just come here and blog about it.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah here, one half of NomaderHowFar. I love reading, the beach, proper fish and chips, and a good cup of tea. But I mostly like to chat about minimalism, simplifying your life, the beauty of travel and sometimes I get a bit deep. Get to know us here!