car mapDo you have a dream of long term travel or living overseas?

When we’re just starting out in the world after high school or college, many expect to travel before ‘settling down’. These days dealing with huge tuition debts or struggling to find work, can make that dream feel distant. If you’re at a transition point in your life – newly widowed, divorced, between jobs, empty-nester – there may be no better time to travel.

One of the best things I ever did was to take some of my savings after my divorce and venture to Peru with a group of Toltecs under the guidance of a Quero Shaman (who also happened to be a savy businessman – but I digress). The trip refreshed my spirit, bolstered my confidence and shook me out of a slump. I returned to the States better prepared to start the next phase of life.

But, really, who doesn’t love the idea of escape? And that’s where travel dreams can serve you well.

I’ve been meeting boomers, students, long term unemployed or under-employed, all dreaming of traveling the world and it’s an inspiring group. I’ve spoken with travel experts and writers, all committed to getting out and experiencing as much of the world possible. It’s sounds wonderful to pack up and get away but beyond the idea is a world of challenges and uncertainty. That may be at the heart of why we really do it. Travel makes you feel alive in ways you could never have known if you’d stayed home in a safe, familiar bubble.

So, how to do it for a long while?

Most of us don’t travel with trust funds or independent means, but there are new options opening up everyday.There’s a world of volunteerism and eco-tourism, teaching ESL opportunities and online communities to help you find your way.

If you need help organizing an itinerary, setting up a budget and arranging travel, the best organization I’ve encountered is Meet, Plan, Go.

They’ve got a program and lots of resources to share. Here in San Diego I’ve hostedtheir bi-monthly gatherings and met wonderful travelers and would be travelers.

Here’s a few things I noticed when I traveled for 6 months:

  • It took me nearly 6 weeks to get into the rhythm of being on the road!
  • Americans don’t travel as much as other world citizens….yet.
  • Once you’ve booked your plane ticket, everything else will fall into place.
  • It was always best to find the night’s lodging by early afternoon – otherwise I ended up staying in places that weren’t the most comfortable, safe or clean.
  • That said, sometimes ‘getting stuck’ can lead to incredible discoveries. More stories on that at another time.
  • Don’t even try to be in control. Open up to the world, the situation and become absolutely present. There are treasures you miss otherwise – new friends, new options, more fun.
  • Don’t be afraid to take off or expect things to be the same when you return. I had a job to come home to but returned to discover that my company was going through a restructuring. After a few weeks of turmoil, I won a better position and it opened up precisely because I had been gone for months!

If I can’t be traveling then being in the company of adventurers is the next best thing. Perhaps I’ll meet you out on the road!

*It’s a volunteer position but in the desire to be fully transparent if you click on their logo or link and sign up for one of their programs, you’re helping support the meetups and me.

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