How do I travel so much?

Here’s a hint: it’s not because I make a fortune. I don’t have a trust fund or a secret sugar daddy (though I’m sure my mom is still waiting for me to get one of those). I don’t “know someone” in the industry to get great deals. So my great secret? I’ve learned to make travel a priority and I know that the first step out the door is always the hardest.

This wasn’t always who I was. When I was eight, budding artist that I was, I drew tons of pictures of exactly how I envisioned my future self: an awkwardly busty blonde in a slinky red dress, taking my fancy friends to Paris and London and New York (which was equally exotic at that point) in limos, probably by 17, at which point I’d have two kids and live in a yacht by 22.

Well, firstly, I’m a brunette and maybe I don’t prioritize limo rides nearly as often as I should. As for busty: well … at least I can buy those at Victoria Secret when I need to, am I right?
But I am wearing a pair of pants I love from Spain, a copper bracelet from London, and comfortable sweater from Paris. I have friends all over the world and I know any time I put a few hundred bucks aside, I can hop on a plane and go pretty much anywhere. I know that I can go to any cafe on the planet and figure out how to order a coffee the way I like it. I know that if something happens in a country halfway around the world, I can ask someone nearby for their perspective.

However, this didn’t happen for me at 17. It didn’t even happen at 22. I was deep into my twenties before I started reading and studying and understanding what was out there, before technology caught up in a big way to make travel easier, faster, and cheaper. I had a suspicion that something wasn’t right in how I was arranging my life, that this couldn’t be all there was. After falling down the rabbit hole of “The Four Hour Workweek” and discovering the wide world of lifestyle hackers, I found my tribe. Even after all that, however, I still had to work up the courage to step out the door.

Now, as my life becomes more flexible and digital and as I meet more of the thousands of digital nomads and long-term travelers around the planet, it becomes easier and easier to call myself a citizen of the world. People are totally amazed when I show them just how cheap and simple travel really can be!

The more you travel, the more you travel. All it takes is that first step with itchy feet- Maybe you start by exploring your own city, then take a day trip to the larger city nearby. Next, you explore the state, the neighboring states, the country – (or you can just skip this, and go further. Some people need baby steps!) But remember, if you can figure out how to get around in Boston, you can figure out New York. If you can figure out L.A. and Chicago, you can understand London or Sydney. Paris and Hong Kong aren’t much more difficult. All cities, to some extent, are alike, and once you learn to “play charades” in a language you don’t know and the basics of protecting yourself in urban touristic areas (both of which I will be writing about) you’re all out of excuses.

So where have you always wanted to go? What has made you put it off? If someone gave you a free ticket tomorrow to your dream destination, what would you do there? Tell me in a comment!



Author: Mary Paul

Mary Paul is a designer, photographer, and travel blogger out of New Haven, Connecticut

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