Want to Travel? It’s About Taking Control of Your Life

Two weeks ago, The Huffington Post shared an article by Elite Daily on their Facebook page. The article, entitled You Should Never Marry A Girl Until You’ve Traveled With Her, lists some of the hurdles couples face when they travel.

Frankly, they’re the types of challenging hurdles a couple should have to face before they get married.

The author, Paul Hudson, lists some pretty damn good reasons to travel with your partner or significant other before putting a ring on it: stepping outside of comfort zones, reacting under pressure together, and gaining insight into his or her particular level of independence.

I genuinely believe that many of these things cannot be tested to the same extent under any other circumstances, and traveling together should be a requirement for any marriage certificate.

One line from the article, however, which The Huffington Post quoted, reads as follows:

If you travel for a month or two and come back happier than before, then at least you know you can handle the good times together — not all couples can even do that much.

Which quickly elicited the following response:

Who can afford to travel?

And this one:

Advice for the one percent

And then this one:

Who are these people?

Who the Hell ARE These People?

Well, these people are normal people just like you and me. The difference is that these people have prioritized their lives in such a way to place travel very high on their list of what’s important. These people have worked hard to fulfill their dreams of traveling the world for a month or two or, in some circumstances, maybe even years and years.

These are the people who pick up that extra shift, don’t smoke cigarettes, cook at home, drink moderately and live modestly. And they do so in the name of travel.

Traveling is not necessarily a luxury, nor is the experience always luxurious. Many people equate the concept of traveling to a two-week holiday in Cancun. When we travel for two or more months at a time, we don’t live in all-inclusive resorts or $200 hotels. We’re cutting costs, living in shared accommodations, traveling by public bus, keeping track of expenses and maintaining a daily budget.

It’s not always glamorous, but it means that we get to see the world.

I tracked my expenses to learn the cost of travel in places like Thailand, just to prove that long-term travel is possible. I never went hungry and, for the most part, wasn’t uncomfortable. I’ve picked up jobs overseas and created a lifestyle which allows me to make money while I travel.

If you want to travel, take a working holiday. Go travel and work in a country on the other side of the world. You could teach English in China or bartend in Australia. I’ve done both, and it was easier than most people probably realize.

Trust fund babies

There’s more than one way to travel, and there’s more than one way to make enough to support yourself. It can involve risks like quitting a stable job, but like the cliché goes, without risk there is no reward.

I know plenty of people who have earned enough to travel by working for minimum wage, cutting their expenses and living a more frugal life. These people choose to travel rather than drink at Starbucks, dine out or go for cocktails after work.

They make sacrifices in the name of their dreams.

And they travel for a while and then support themselves by going on a working holiday to some place like South Korea or New Zealand.

It comes down to finding out what it is that you want in life. If you don’t want to travel, that’s okay. If you want to build a family and a home, I support that 100%. You will live that lifestyle, and there is absolutely nothing in the world wrong with that.

But if you want to travel, the hard truth is that it’s not going to happen by itself. Like all good things, you must work for it.

It’s about taking control of your life.

Experience the World

If You Want to Travel, You Will Find a Way

If it’s important to you, you will make it happen. There is no magical job which just allows you to travel unencumbered. I travel, but I also work very hard and make sacrifices so that I can.

I have multiple income streams. I live out of a backpack. I’ve paid off my debts (did it while working overseas) and I’m not responsible for any mortgage, lease or two-year contracts.

Those list items did not just occur. I made them happen because that’s what I wanted. I developed a way to live my life. I mapped out a plan and took charge.

The fact is, there is no one way to travel or one way to live a life of travel. There are many ways to create that life for yourself and support yourself while traveling. Frankly, if you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

So what’s stopping you from taking control of your life and making your dreams come true?

READ NEXT: Turning Down My Dream Job to Travel the World

About the Author

Jeremy Scott Foster

Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.
  1. YES! This hit home with me. So many people think that travel is so far out of reach for them, when really it all comes down to prioritizing and making it something you really want. I rarely go out to the bar anymore, and I haven’t done the math but that probably adds up to thousands of dollars a year. Do you really need that 55 inch flat screen? No. Even cutting down on eating out can save SO much. Just about everyone will have to make some sacrifices, but if travel is something you actually want it is entirely possible to make it happen!

    Thanks for a great post, and giving me some extra inspiration to keep on traveling!

    1. Haha it DOES add up! That being said, if you feel like you want to go out, you shouldn’t stop yourself, just for this reason. It’s important to stay happy and provide yourself with what you want and need. It’s all about the balance.

  2. I guess you’re probably preaching to the choir here, but yess I love this! I don’t know how many times we have to explain our lifestyle and finances before other people start getting that you don’t have to be a trust fund baby in order to travel a lot.

    1. That’s a tough lifestyle for people to understand simply because it’s not the lifestyle people have grown up accepting.

  3. I guess because this is my life now and I’m surrounded by people who are also travelers, it just seems normal to me, but I recall feeling the same way 3-4 years ago. How could people just travel long term? How can anyone afford that? It seems like common knowledge now but it really isn’t, as it turns out. I think it all boils down to that last image you have there. Excellent quote and it’s not about having tons of money, it’s about shifting one’s perspective.

    1. That’s what my stint back in the United States has reminded me of–that traveling so often is not normal for most people. I’ve gotten back in touch with the “regular” lifestyle that many people life, and it’s been wildly eye-opening. Since being here, I’m trying to find my own balance between having the money I want and the perspective that I want!

  4. I read the Huffington Post article as well and was really taken aback by some of the comments. How could they honestly believe that travel is only for those that are rich?!?!? I guess until you learn that it’s doable for yourself, it seems like a dream impossible to achieve.
    Thanks for writing a great post on the topic! I hope a few of those that commented on the original article will get a chance to read yours.

  5. Great post Jeremy – really bit a nerve with me. This was actually decision I made recently as I realised that travel is really the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. It’s part of who I am, and I want this to be the FOCUS of my life, not a ‘treat’. Yes, you may have to give up a few things, and forego a few conventions, but knowing that I’m dedicating my life to travel, is knowing that I’m being true to myself. Great read – thank you.

  6. Very inspirational article, Jeremy. It’s easy to criticize and think of excuses why not to travel but harder to follow through like you have done.


  7. Hi Jeremy,

    I gotta agree with the negative commenters.

    I mean, I am a fired, ex-security guard, and I’ve *only* circled the globe for 3 years. Only.

    I have no clue how I’ve been able to afford living in Fiji for 4 months, Bali for 6, Thailand for 21….hell, what trust fund did I tap into? I forget! Sheer luck I guess….oh, wait a second. Here’s what I did: I engineered my life around being free, started an online business, worked at it, and made enough money to travel, and to boost my savings too, and here we are.

    What a post, what a message! And I can hear those paradigms shattering as I write, ouch!


    1. Good for you, Ryan! You give an excellent example for the point I’m trying to make. If you want it bad enough, you will make it happen. Cheers!

  8. Jeremy, what a nice read! Regarding HuffPost comments…critical voices are always the loudest. People who actually travel and take travel as a priority know, it is absolutely possible to travel for a month, two or even a whole life without falling in debt or ruining your career 🙂

    Cheers and safe travels to you!

  9. Hi Jeremy, well written! Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle I face is that I earn in rupees so it just takes me longer to get my budget up and ticking.

    I am, however motivated to set up something which will give me the freedom to do what I really want. Can’t look back and think, “What if??”


  10. So many people wonder how we do it, all this travelling all the time. But it is difficult to explain it if someone is so stuck to a regular lifestyle full with materialistic things and does not understand how i t is to save money for travelling and not buying things you don’t need.
    I also used to have a regular life and career, till I quit it all and went travelling. And then you realise you don’t need all this stuff you used to have and just use that money for travelling.
    And time…well it’s all about prioritising 🙂

  11. Love that last picture and quote! It’s so true that you can make your own path as you envision it! Thanks for sharing this bit of inspiration!

  12. Great article, I totally agree! If you want something (be it travel or whatever) you go out and make it happen.

  13. I would never say “oh, anyone can travel, it’s just a matter of prioritizing’ because I know that there are many people who face serious financial restraints and have significant responsibilities, like caring for aging parents. But I DO believe that many more people can travel than think they can. I travel a lot. It costs a lot of money. But it costs a lot LESS than if I were to get a latte every day, go to the movies once a week, and buy a new outfit once a month. I give up a lot of ‘in the moment’ treats to have fantastic travel experiences. And once I have those experiences, I can make my money go far. I’ve traveled (in a healthy, hygienic, and happy way!) for $50 a day in places like London, Paris, and Boston. I know friends who have dropped $400 a night in a bar -that’s 8 days in London for me!! (and yes, I have a real bed, hot running water, and three square meals a day!).

    In Canada, we often say that a good test of whether or not you should marry someone is to go on a canoe trip with someone – I think the travel principle applies as well!

    1. Of course, not every idea is true for all people. Everyone has their own circumstances, but I hear from a lot of people who have much more ability to travel than they realize.

      I’ll be sure to take the next girl I date on a canoe trip with me!

  14. After eight years of travel with my wife and children, we both can say that a life of travel is not only possible but preferable in many respects. As far as the relationship/marriage test is concerned, we downsized from a farmhouse to an RV. We’re currently in a Toyota/Winnebago mini-home. We sure do face our tests, but all eleven of us have already had a lifetime of memories and opportunities.

  15. Great article, Jeremy! I agree with you that if travel is a priority, you will find a way to make it happen. Where there is a will, there is a way . . . . Cheers!

  16. This needed to be said. I’m only eighteen, a full-time student and I make travel work. No, I’m not in the 1% (not even close) but I make decisions to prioritize what I want and that is to travel.

  17. Awesome post! I have a similar post to this as seen here: https://iamaileen.com/top-15-common-travel-excuses-not-hold-back/

    And I have listed all the things that people often tell me whenever they find out that I lead a life of travel. For one thing, they are always surprised that I wasn’t rich yet I can afford this. They always put forth their assumption that travel is only for the rich or ‘lucky’ people when it’s not. It involves hard work and sacrifice as you said, and that in the long run it becomes a very fulfilling thing because you slip into a rhythm and things become chill as you find a career that you love while on the road.

    1. How true, Aileen! I was recently talking with a friend about life paths and he said, “but you have a better deck of cards.” I couldn’t have disagreed more–I simply prioritized a certain aspect of my life and worked hard enough to allow myself certain freedoms.

  18. For my family and me, travel is a priority; hence the reason we left our comfortable living and leaving New York City to travel the world. We too have a website pertaining to travel and food. Your post is great; and yes, I agree that a good gauge for a life partner is how you travel together. I found my travel partner and my partner for life.

  19. I have travelled for months and lived overseas for a year but I’m a big advocate of part-time travel now. I don’t think everyone should give up work, sell everything and take off for months. Where would the world be if we all threw caution to the wind?! I also don’t think you need months. You can travel in two weeks during vacation time and you can travel smart and do things local too. I do lots of weekend travel and places closer to home. Its just as brilliant as when I was travelling the world for months and its sustainable.
    I think people should be inspired to travel and see the world in whatever way they can. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

    1. Absolutely, Kate. It’s not for everyone, and different people have their own preferred styles of travel. But I think that many people who want to travel and say they can’t are just making excuses!

  20. If you want something badly enough you’ll make it happen, whether its travel , buying a new home or financing a grad degree.

  21. So funny that it went right to money. I mean I get it, we often are accused of being independently wealthy. People envison all travel like a resort style weeks long trip to Maui, but traveling is so much more than that, as most of us know. They just can’t see that travel can be less extravagant than a typical vacation! A change in mindset is exactly what those poeple need. Sadly they most likely won’t get that though unless they stop assuming we are all rich and get out there to try it themselves!

  22. I’m surprised to this day when people ask me, how to travel. I think however that people in the US are not as crazy about traveling overseas as for example people from Europe. And I think one of the reasons is, that you can very well travel within the country and get to a totally different climate. You can go skiing or lay on the beach within hours without leaving your country.

    I definitely have to see it all and like you explained, there are so many different ways to make it possible.

    1. That’s true. There is a much more varied climate in the United States, but there is a lot to miss out on if you only travel within your own country, like different people, cultures and food! That’s not to say it isn’t worth traveling in the United States, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle!

  23. Yes! We love this article! So many people think we live a dream lifestyle and have loads of money without realising the effort and sacrifice it can take to love a life of travel. It definitely does not just happen by itself! Great post! 🙂 ?

    1. Like so many things in life. We have to create our own environment, otherwise we’ll never get what we want!

  24. I’ve just happened on to your site and signed up. My husband and I, both mid 60s, children grown, have done some traveling which just proved we needed to do more. We are definitely not of the 1%….worked regular jobs, husband has a decent pension but we live on a budget. Anybody can travel, like you said, it’s a matter of priorities. We’ve taken 4 trips to Europe in the last 4 1/2 years, now it’s time for Asia. Sharing a trip with my cousin and his wife, we are off to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam for 3 months next winter. I’m keen to find anything and everything out about where we are headed! My motto has always been”LIFE IS FOR LIVING”

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