The Courage to Travel

February 12, 2016 – What does it take to travel, whether a local stroll through unfamiliar neighborhood streets or a faraway journey to a distant land? If I had to draw a Venn diagram, travel would require three things:

  • Freedom of Time
  • Financial Ability
  • Courage

YellowBlueRed-Labeled-Purple

Where the three circles overlap is that perfect purple zone (above), which makes travel possible. So how do we get to that purple zone of freedom?

For many of us, Freedom of Time is the first constraint (sometimes imagined, but sometimes real). Do any of these Time arguments sound familiar? “I can’t get away from work. I have this big deadline I’m working on, and there’s simply no time to vacation this year.” OR:  “Who’s gonna watch the children and pets? No one’s available.” OR: “I’ve got too much on my plate right now.”

For others, Financial Limitations put the brakes on any excursions in the near- and far-abroad. How can we think of taking a vacation when there are mortgage and car payments to be made, the children need new shoes, and we are living paycheck to paycheck? (TIP: See “Living Well, Spending Less”)

Even if we have time and money to spare, the final obstacle is Courage: the courage to translate that dream holiday into a concrete itinerary; the courage to live boldly and to override the complacency and humdrummery of our everyday lives; and the courage to overcome our nagging fears. (What if I can’t speak the language? What if I don’t like the food and I get sick? What if it’s not safe? How will my family and co-workers survive without me?)

Time we can find, even if it means saying “No” to other demands.

Money we can save, through financial discipline and prioritizing.

But for many, courage is  the most difficult commodity to muster – the courage to try a new city, a new culture, a new language, and the courage to “just go” and leave all our imaginary fears behind.

These three “obstacles” aren’t really obstacles at all. They are simply excuses and justifications we make to our inner psyches to avoid feeding our adventure-starved souls.

As someone far wiser than me once said: We don’t live to work. We work to live.

So let’s start living. Let’s travel!

GoTours-Lindisfarne Castle

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