Hi, Taran and Hannah here, two young English dreamers about to embark on a life of travel. Follow our story on Nomader How Far as we embark on the journey of a lifetime to Australia, share our experiences and learn from our advice as you begin a nomadic life.
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”; a slightly irritating phrase, most likely used by an overenthusiastic boss in a business meeting. Nevertheless, it’s true, that whilst you can have the best of intentions when you embark on your traveling adventure, you might find yourself faltering along the way. Why? Because you failed to prepare for a life of travel before you left home. And we aren’t talking about not ordering a visa, or forgetting your insect repellent, we are talking about being mentally prepared, psychologically primed and ready.
We believe, life as a nomad does not begin the day you set off with your backpack and a ticket, it begins when you decide that you want to change your life and leave home for a less comfortable but more fulfilling experience out there, in the great unknown.
The first step to preparing for any big trip, like ours in 2015 when we are heading off to Australia, is making small changes in your lifestyle, so that when you are suddenly existing on a tiny budget, it is less of a shock to the system. It’s like when people decide to go on a diet to lose weight; if they think it will just be about doing certain simple things daily but haven’t accounted for the willpower and focus needed, then they simply wont succeed.
#1 STOP SPENDING NOW!
The first step to preparing for your travel life is realizing you will be existing on a tight budget, which will allow you to travel sustainably, for a long time, and to many great places.
You are likely saving as much as you can for your trip, spending many a day sitting at your desk at work dreaming of the beaches, the food and the fun, in whatever far-flung destination you are heading off to. But are you really being as restrictive as you can in your spending? Could you lower your outgoings further? Are you still enjoying the ‘finer things in life’ whilst neglecting to save for a truly awesome experience in a foreign land? If you intend to live on $25 dollars a day once you are traveling, its best to get used to this kind of spending now.
The traveling life can be a big adjustment, leaving behind the relative safety, ease and predictability of your friends, family and a regular income. Once you are unleashed into the world, you don’t want to end up overspending or letting your precious pennies disappear fast just to create some semblance of the comfort and luxury you are used to; you won’t be able to have all the stunning adventures that often don’t cost a thing if you spend too much from the get-go! Also, the more you save today, the quicker you are on that plane/boat/bus to a different life.
#2 LET GO OF YOUR MATERIAL THINGS.
Traveling is about gathering memories, friends and cultural understanding, not objects. The accumulation of possession’s is something society instils in us, when we are encouraged to spend to have the latest gadgets and fashion, enticed by the cheap throw-away nature of the things sold in the high street shops. Its understandable that we acquire lots of random things, as well as sentimental objects, representing good memories, but much of what we keep is truthfully useless to us.
That’s why we have begun the process of recycling lots of our stuff, finding new homes for things we once purchased but now see little point in keeping, seeing as we will be leaving them to gather dust for a few years in 2015.
Our rule is, if we haven’t used it recently and wont be using it again, we get rid of it; clothes, things we wore once two years ago, and DVD’s of films we will never watch again, books, once read rendered useless if not pretty on a shelf. It’s not so much being ruthless as it is adjusting our perspective, to one of needing few material objects, because only a select few items will have any purpose once we hit the road.
#3 TRY NEW THINGS, MEET NEW PEOPLE.
You might think that when you travel, the natural thing will be to make friends and be confident trying new experiences, but if you approach life now with hesitation and fear, the same attitude might stick with you when you travel.
We are currently trying couch-surfing in our home country, which is where you host strangers from across the world, in your own home, allowing them to travel cheaply. But the experience is also forcing us to get more comfortable talking to people from different cultural backgrounds, who speak foreign languages and thus see the world from a totally different perspective. We also hope to couch-surf ourselves, here in the U.K. before we leave, to get ourselves used to that element. I (Hannah) am hesitant, but we intend to couch-surf A LOT in Australia, so it’s best I get over my fears now!
Essentially, we are breaking out of our shells now, easing ourselves into the travel lifestyle, where we want to happily meet new people, give them an insight into our culture, and ultimately, make the most of traveling.
AHHH, I AM FINALLY WHERE I WANT TO BE.
It’s great if you feel ready and prepared as you are, right now. It’s fine if you think traveling will be a walk in the park, but an optimistic outlook does not change the often stressful adjustment to the realities of traveling. We invite you to take the above steps, in the hope you will get used to the nature of a nomadic life, but also start enjoying a simpler existence now. Maybe you will feel so ready to travel when the time comes, so that the day you arrive at your destination, it will actually feel like you are coming home, finally able to enjoy a more real and deep life experience that you have always dreamed of.
How do you prepare yourself for long-term travel?
(Share your tips in comments)