5 Life Habits That Are Killing Your Travel Dreams

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Written by: Cheryl Slayton | June 23

What does it really mean to be responsible? Is it investing in a 401K or saving up for a down payment on a home? Maybe.

With where the economy is going right now, some would argue that you would be better off putting your money in a tin bucket on the side of the road, where at least someone could find it and buy themselves a nice, warm meal. There comes a point when you have to ask yourself a question: would you rather be rich in experiences or rich in things?

Here are 5 life habits that are killing your travel dreams:

1. You’re in love with your car, phone or house.

Every summer when I would come home to visit in the States, without fail, I’d run into a friend or two who would speak the token phrase, “I wish I could do what you do,” all the while signing up for another lease on a BMW or looking for the best possible upgrade on their Smartphone or Direct TV cable package. I just wanted to exclaim, “You can do what I do! You just choose not to.”

If you want to travel, you have to give up the idea that your life is going to be filled with the creature comforts (read: trappings) of American life (unless you move to the Middle East which has plenty of their own). (INSERT LINK)

2. You Don’t Know What You’re Missing

There are two types of travelers in the world: those who can only travel to places they can imagine in their minds (i.e., everyone who traveled to Italy after watching Eat, Pray, Love) and those who get high off the excitement of the unknown. If you’re the latter, nothing will stop you from packing everything you own into two small bags and giving your Passport a run for its money.

If you’re the former, well, you would be surprised how many beauties in the world you’re missing out on by only traveling to places that have been featured in blockbuster films. There are so many surprises waiting for you in the places you think will be “just like the movies”. Believe it or not, there is a LOT more to India than Yoga retreats and spicy food.

3. You Haven’t Experienced The Beauty of Being Alone

We all know those people who can’t be alone for more than a night without having an existential crisis or feeling like they’re living in the rapture. But, even if you’re someone who doesn’t mind spending 3-4 weeknights enjoying the pleasure of your own company, traveling is a whole different ballgame. You get to navigate new Metro lines, use your hands to communicate whole sentences, or take in the beauty of a European mountainside, all by your lonesome.

Now, there are times when you want someone by your side, soaking up the awe of the moment, but there are other times when that “on-top-of-the-world” feeling is amplified simply because you’re alone with your thoughts and your own enjoyment of the moment. It’s an almost spiritual experience that even brings some merit to movies Eat, Pray, Love (for 5 minutes).

4. You Have a Fear of the Unknown

My best friend works at a restaurant in Orlando. I remember visiting her during my summers home, where she would proudly introduce me to her coworkers as “her friend who lives overseas.” When asked why she won’t travel herself, she replies, “I’ve seen the movie Taken. I know what to expect.”

Now, does she really think she’s going to be kidnapped and enslaved in a human trafficking ring? No. But does she truly feel unsafe traveling to foreign countries? Absolutely. There’s a weird illusion of safety that comes from living in your home country. But, in general, safety is a feeling that is created from within (unless you’re walking around the red light district of Amsterdam at 3a.m. or crossing the North Korean border wearing an American flag T-shirt).

I’ve learned nothing truer in my travels and experienced nothing more beautiful than the satisfaction that comes from deciding to trust another culture or nation to protect you, and being proven right when they do. We’re all human beings at the end of the day, and most of us are smart enough not to put ourselves in ridiculously dangerous situations.

5. You’re Living For Your Friends

If you’re a true Wanderluster (INSERT LINK), there are bound to be people in your life who just do not understand your sense of adventure. They give you the same look you give them when they want to spend their 3-Day weekend holed up at the mini-bar at a Mexican resort. Now, they’re your friends and you love them. But, if you are someone who feels a little held down by the status quo or is just plain tired of Saturday night game nights or monthly costume parties wearing the same faux moustaches on your finger, enough is enough.

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Cheryl Slayton

Cheryl has been challenging the status quo since she ditched her training wheels in 2nd Grade and hopped a fence after losing her ticket to the local fair. Eventually, she started pushing geographical boundaries (instead of legal ones) and made travel her best friend. While two-stepping her way through Texas, climbing a volcano in Antigua, Guatemala and teaching Arabian princesses in the Middle East, she made some amazingly adventurous and ragamuffin friends along the way, like a bossy Haitian, savvy South African, wild Canadian and an Indian-French-Canadian connoisseur of bags and wine. Now, she's happy to call Orlando home again (and try her best to stay on the right side of the law) as she puts pen to paper to share her stories with the Ambitious Crew. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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