Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get to travel somewhere new again. It’s impossible to say “never”, because life is just so long, but then again, I could die tomorrow without ever having seen Iceland or the canyons in theAmerican Southwest or Antarctica. Then I start to wonder how to get out of my house and onto a plane without having to take out more loans and accumulate more bills. Then I realize that I probably can’t, and circle back around to the beginning: “Well I have a long time left, I’ll pay off my student debts before I travel again.”
I have the tendency to go stir-crazy after about 4-6 months. Sometimes all I need is to go see my family in another state 14 hours away. Less often is the pressing need to experience a new place, and even less often is the desire to drop everything I’m doing in my life to spend a week halfway across the world (having a blast and going broke at the same time). The more and more often I visit the same old places, the stronger the need to see something new rises up in me.
There is always something holding me back: money, school, job, time of year… Most of the time it’s money. Sure, there are dozens of ways to save money while traveling: hostels, booking agencies, couch surfing, purchasing in a travel package, etc. To me, those are all novel experiences, and not ones I necessarily want to repeat. Some hostels I’ve been in have been completely acceptable and actually quite quaint — I would definitely go back. Others left a lot to be desired. (Of course now that I’ve discovered AirBNB I’m just super eager to hop on a plane again).
Some destinations are cheaper to travel to because they are a transport hub, while others are a more religious or cultural (basically a tourist-y) destination. While those who live for movement and busy nights and bright lights would probably love to visit someplace like New York City or Frankfurt, I myself prefer the small-city feeling of Copenhagen, or the less-inhabited country of Greenland. However, traveling to places like that is neither easy nor cheap.
There is also the dilemma of traveling alone or in a pair. Of course, a pair is most often cheaper for the individual (if they’re splitting costs fairly). It’s also safer. I’ve crossed many places off my travel list in the past based on the feeling of danger I got from them. It is not easy to travel when you are a solo female in certain areas of the world. Even less so if you do not speak the language(s) nor understand the cultural “requirements” for your gender in that area of the world.
Traveling is difficult. It is stressful. It is expensive. People can preach all day about how much money they didn’t spend when they went on their trip to (insert place here) because they did these (insert number here) things to save money. It’s true, there are many ways to save money, but the fact of the matter exists that the farther you go from home, the more money you will have to spend to get there.
I love finding tips on saving money while traveling. My last trip, I saved about $1K because of tips like that. But I still spent about 2x that much on the trip. It was still expensive, it was just less expensive.
I love traveling. I love seeing new places. More than that, I love experiencing new places. I don’t want to see somewhere for only 2 days and then leave before I’ve had the change to absorb all that information, leave before I had the chance to really see what makes the place unique. I want to be in a new place for at least 2 weeks, go to the edges and eat local food, see the local life, see the place for what it actually is, and not just the tourist corners. I want to know what it’s like to live there. And that costs money.