A friend posted this quote to my Facebook wall:
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
No matter where you look to for spiritual guidance, the first person in the equation is You. You have to make a decision.
When I decided to travel more, I sought out other travelers and found a community of amazing people with invaluable insight and advice. I booked one trip and received invitations for dozens more. The seeds I sowed produced fields of awesomeness. And travel has changed my life.
If you want to change your life through travel, here are 23 quick actions you can take to get started.
The first part of the journey to change your life through travel is goal setting. In order to achieve the travel you want, take steps toward your dream.
Take small steps – no one’s rushing you to get there. As long as you’re moving, success is within reach.
These steps will focus your actions and make your goals easier to work towards.
1. Open A Travel Savings Account
Pay yourself first.
Designate an amount of each paycheck to deposit into your travel savings account. This account needs to be separate from your emergency fund and used only for travel.
The amount you deposit isn’t as important as creating the habit of putting money into the account.
2. Write The Top Five Reasons Why You Haven’t Traveled As Much As You Want
What’s holding you back? What excuses have you used?
Write these five reasons down on a piece of paper. Then, burn them ( or rip them up). These excuses have been a mental roadblock and once they’re gone you can keep racing.
Tortoise or hare style – take your pick.
3. Pick Out The Top Three Places You Want To Visit
Do a bit of research to figure out the cost of each trip. Some are less than expected, others may be surprisingly expensive. But with a tangible cost, you can now work towards your goals.
Pick a date 6-12 months away and one of the destinations to work towards. Each dollar in your savings account is a dollar closer to your dream vacation.
4. Tell Folks About Your Dream Trip
Tell as many folks who’ll listen.
The more you say your goal, the more you’ll reinforce it in your mind. Words are powerful and repetition changes your mindset.
The people you share your goals with become your accountability partners and your cheerleaders.
5. Plan A Trip That Is Totally Different From Your Norm
If you’re a backpacker, take a cruise. If you’re fond of big cities, stay in a small town.
Getting outside of your comfort zone is important in the quest to change your life through travel.
Challenge yourself to explore the unknown and expand your way of thinking.
6. Stop Comparing Your Trips To Others
You should do this like yesterday. Your travel should be unique, tailor-made for you.
Who cares if your itinerary has nothing from a “top 10″ list?
Can you see yourself walking the cobbled streets of Morocco, smells of curry filling your nose as merchants barter noisily in the crowded market?
The power of visualization is a strong motivator and an essential element to change your life through travel.
The more clearly you can see your vision, the more likely you’ll achieve success.
7. Grab A Travel Magazine
Pick up one from the grocery store. Or ask your dentist if you can have their old copies. Read it. Digest it. See what options are available and relish in how vast the planet is.
The world is your oyster. Cut out your favorite pictures. You’ll need them for the vision board.
8. Create Your Travel Vision Board
A travel vision board a visual representation of your dream. Use cut-out pictures and words to put together a collage that shows your dream life.
When you’re done hang your vision board in a place where you’ll see it daily. It will serve as a constant reminder to work towards those goals.
9. Join A Travel Forum
Doesn’t matter if it’s a group on LinkedIn, Facebook or a Twitter chat.
Find some like-minded people to discuss travel with and glean from their knowledge and experiences. Surrounding yourself with other travelers gives you inspiration, motivation, and proof that your dream is possible.
10. On A Sticky Note, Write, “I Will Use All My Vacation Time.”
Don’t push travel off thinking you’ll always have the opportunities you have today. Enjoy travel now and whenever you can.
Put this sticky on your computer monitor. Unless you’re planning up some super long trip, you shouldn’t have excess vacation time.
11. Go Shopping
Go to Amazon and fill your cart up with everything you’ll need for your vacation. Don’t buy anything until you have enough money in your travel savings account.
Whenever you need a motivation boost, window shop for cool travel gear that’ll make your trip a blast.
While goal setting and visualization provides motivation to change your life through travel, planning puts you to work. It’s in the planning phase where you’ll start inching closer to your dream vacation.
These quick actions create your foundation for an increased life of travel.
12. Automate A Deposit To Your Travel Savings Account
Don’t take too long mulling over the amount. Start with $25 a paycheck. I offer this amount because it’s an easy win.
Increase it by $25 or more when you’re ready. Make sure this deposit to your travel savings account happens before you pay bills. Pay yourself first.
Add more when you can using bonuses, birthday money and change from your couch.
13. Make A List Of Friends And Where They Live
Let them know you want to visit the city and ask if they have a spare room or couch. If they wouldn’t mind being a tour guide, even better.
Depending on where you’re visiting, lodging is a hefty expense.
Use your resources, err friends to save a bit of money.
14. Apply For Your Passport
You’re setting up an automatic deposit into your travel savings account and if you don’t have a passport, this should be your first goal.
Although it’s not mandatory to travel internationally to change your life through travel, traveling overseas attacks media stereotypes and assumptions.
You’ll be amazed at how unique and varied the world is.
15. Follow 10 Travel Bloggers On Twitter And Like Their Facebook Fan Pages
Follow their journey for travel tips and motivation. Engage in conversations when their stories come across your feed.
Ask questions and get answers from frequent travelers.
These bloggers will provide you with social media inspiration and reminders of how close you are to living your passion.
16. Choose Three People Who Live The Travel Life Style Of Your Dreams
Call them (or send an email) and ask for their top piece of advice to travel more often.
Tell them about your dream trip and ask for feedback on how to go about having the time of your life. If you don’t personally know this travel guru, contact them using social media.
And don’t be discouraged if they don’t reply to your first attempt. Try again.
17. Brainstorm Ways To Make Money While You Travel
Do you enjoy writing or taking pictures? Do you have material you’ve collected while traveling that you could use to make a profit?
Explore your options. What world would be more perfect than one where your past travels fund your future travels?
At this point, you’ve taken steps to put your goals on the right track and you’re watching them come alive.
Remember, travel and exploration aren’t hidden halfway across the world.
Opportunities are everywhere; we just have to learn to see them.
18. Pick Up The Local Paper
It’s a great place to find out what’s going on in your city.
Become a resident tourist and get a unique perspective of your local area. There are hidden jewels within your hometown waiting to be explored. Searching for these hidden treasures is an excellent way to combat wanderlust when you can’t take a vacation.
19. Take A Solo Trip
The thought of a solo trip sends my heart into a frenzy. There’s something about Me vs. World that’s exciting.
A solo trip gives you free rein of every aspect of your trip and allows for improvising. The freedom of solo travel is liberating.
And when you really think about it, you are never really traveling solo.
20. Invite Someone On A Trip And Pay For It
It doesn’t have to be expensive. Rent a Zipcar and take a weekend trip three hours away.
Start sharing your travel with others and you’ll be surprised at the good travel karma that comes back your way. Plus, there are few things as gratifying as awakening the quest for travel in another person.
21. Let Someone Else Plan A Day Of Your Trip
As creatures of habit, this will break the monotony in our itineraries. Sure, you may end up doing things you don’t have much interest in, but the reward is that you may find something you love.
Letting someone else take the lead helps you explore activities you may not have thought to try.
22. Give Thanks For Past Travel
While we’re checking flight prices daily and counting down the days to our next jaunt across the country, we must give thanks for past travel.
23. Repeat Actualization Often
I hope that you’ve increased your determination to change your life through travel and picked up a few tips to help you along the way.
A Word of Caution: Be careful when it comes to this travel stuff – I hear it’s addictive!