For most people, I would say the biggest reason they never get out and see the world is money (or the lack of it.) Coming from a rather large family, the most exotic trip we ever took growing up was to the nearest campground in Northern California. Now if you’re the nature loving, tree hugging, go to all the national parks sort of traveler then that’s perfectly fine, but my point is that the vacations to Hawaii and Europe in my family were non-existent. I’m not complaining (in fact I loved those camping trips) but I knew if I wanted to see more. it was going to require a little creativity.
I began brain storming, and the list of usual suspects came up; teaching overseas, becoming a flight attendant, I even heard about people who picked fruit and worked on farms in certain rural areas for room and board. Although some jobs were not as glamorous as others, they were still options and would certainly add a more “cultural” experience to my travels. With no immediate prospects in sight (but a handful of possibilities) I renewed my passport (which of course had expired as I hadn’t left the country in over 10 years) and got to work on updating my resume.
As luck would have it, a friend of mine in South Florida introduced me to the yachting industry. Even in a down economy, there were still people with money that needed crew members to work on their beautiful yachts. Unlike working on a cruise ship (which just seemed too big for my liking) working on a private boat seemed much more up my alley. And the benefit was that I would get to travel and see the places the boat went (instead of spending my own hard-earned money.) One of the biggest lessons I learned through my years in business and real estate was the idea of leverage (using other people’s, money, resources, talents, etc.) in helping you accomplish your own goals. Even if it was just through the port-hole window, this was allowing me to get to see the world on someone else’s dime and make money at the same time.
I pictured Kate Hudson in the movie “Fools Gold,” and thought it was a little more glamorous then picking berries in the boiling sun or scooping up manure (especially if Matthew McConaughey was swimming around the blue waters of the Caribbean.) So with a few safety courses and some courses in flower arranging and Napkin folding (which I found I actually had a knack for) I jumped in feet first.
It’s not all “cupcakes and ding-dongs” as one of my mentors used to say, (and I still haven’t managed to find Matthew McConaughey) but I’ve seen some pretty incredible things along the way, learned how to live and work with people (which sometimes felt like the perfect setting for another travel reality t.v. show) and I was able to fulfill my dream of travel.
In between seasons, I travel on my own and spend my hard-earned money in the hopes of seeing the rest of the world. Last winter, I saved even more money by working in a hostel in Budapest during the colder months (and if I ever make it to Australia, will still consider the berry picking if the need arises.)
I know everyone has different circumstances and goals, but there’s always a way to make something happen. For ideas on how to make your money stretch while traveling check out my tips page. Other great resources I’ve come across are fellow travelers and bloggers who have a wealth of experiences and resources based on their own circumstances. Just like anything else in life, if you want something bad enough, the world is literally full of possibilities. Now get out there and go see it!