Travelling the world might not change your life. So what are you waiting for?
Seems cool in theory right? Jet around the globe, stay in a new city every month, and keep doing the same job you were doing anyway in an office that looks more like a page out of a travel brochure. It’s doable. You know this, we know this, you’ve seen the pictures, we’ve posted the blogs. People are really actually doing this… so why am I still stuck in this office?
Then you remember all the little things, the creature comforts, the small conveniences that make life cozy. You say: “Yeah, I could do this but I’ve got enough on my plate as it is”. You know it seems like an awesome experience but it’s just so much work to get out there and do it. You’re stuck in the comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to admit it, it’s called the comfort zone for a reason. It’s safe, it’s dependable, it’s consistent. The comfort zone is like like a Big Mac- no matter where you order one, you always know exactly what you’re gonna get.
And you know what? People who travel full time like McDonalds sometimes too. In fact I, ahem.. a friend of mine might have forgotten about a drunken Uber ride to one at 4AM in Lisbon until he saw his credit card bill the next week (Uber ride at 2.6x surge pricing- €32. Assorted items off the “Euro Menu”- €27. Lingering feelings of shame - priceless). So let’s just acknowledge that sometimes it’s okay to enjoy the little things that remind us of home. There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable-but like McDonald’s, gratuitous comfort is best served in moderation.
My first post was about embracing the uncomfortable and I still back that mindset. But here I want to bring your attention to a few little things that ARE like they are at home when you travel.
I’m going to tell you something that’s going to blow your mind: your cellphone contract wasn’t signed in blood (if it was- disregard this and seek legal advice). Your phone more than likely is fully capable of working almost anywhere in the world without much hassle. Call your carrier, ask them to unlock it, travel freely. Bonus if you are Canadian/American/Australian — enjoy the heaps of plentiful 4G data available outside your home country without getting gouged by your friendly local telecom conglomerate.
Could you read this post out loud without much difficulty? Congrats! You now have one less excuse to avoid travelling the world because English is the second most universally spoken language on Earth after Mandarin. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure fluency in Mandarin is a major asset and you should probably load it up on Duolingo and one day fully master it. But for now, I imagine you might have better luck with English when trying to explain what exactly a “flat white” is to your local barista. Speaking of which…
In this big beautiful world of ours, there is a wealth of diversity in language, culture, and custom. But if there is one thing that universally brings the human race together, it’s coffee. And though it might be a different style in any given region of the world, chances are it’s good, it’s available, and you can find a local cafe as passionate about making it as you are about drinking it. In fact you might be surprised how many cities out there define themselves by their coffee culture. From Auckland to Zagreb, many of our global neighbours pride themselves on a good cuppa. So when you arrive don’t sweat it if there isn’t a Starbucks in sight.
Friends and Family
Making friends while travelling isn’t always the easiest thing, but it’s not much different than it is at home. Every relationship involves a strategic investment of time and commitment and sometimes the pursuit of that will lead you to a friend for life who might do stuff like drive you to the airport, help you move, or let you crash on their couch. Sometimes it might just lead you to a new Instagram follower. It’s hard to express the importance of the community aspect of Remote Year without experiencing it yourself, but I can say that by the end this experience, you’ll have dozens of couches to crash on around the world. Ultimately, when it comes to connecting with new friends and keeping in touch with old ones, you get back what you put into it. But when you’re travelling to a new place and sharing a new experience with someone, those encounters can be exponentially rewarding.
Look, you probably have too much stuff. At some point in your life when packing your bags, you’ve probably wondered to yourself:
How much stuff do I need to bring? How will I pack all of this stuff? Do I need all this stuff? What should I do about the stuff I can’t bring with me? Can I find more of this stuff on the road? Will I need to ditch some stuff along the way?
I just want to reiterate: you probably have too much stuff. My suggestion is to start getting rid of some of it. Try packing a suitcase and living out of it for a week. See what you actually use. Then try two weeks. Then a month. Then… a year while you travel the world maybe? Seriously it’s doable when you start realizing exactly what common-sense items you need to survive. Everything should serve at least two purposes. Bring layerable clothes for colder climates and countries where more conservative/modest clothing is expected. Buy a pair of boots that you can use in frosty weather or as moderately more formal wear for special nights out, etc.
One important thing to remember though: it’s okay to bring along those one or two weird personal items that you probably will never use. Maybe they serve one specific task, maybe they are crucial to your favourite hobby, or maybe they just remind you of home. If it makes you happy there’s nothing wrong with stepping back into your comfort zone; if only for a moment.