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In Sight, In Mind: Travel Tuesday 1

"Travel board on the wall, where's the best destination of them all?"

Pictured above is an actual shelf in my apartment. Come to think of it, it resembles more a shrine dedicated to past adventures and future endeavors. Above it, I have hung masks collected from different countries I've visited and a map that holds my dreams and recounts my destinations. It is a place that is just mine- that motivates and inspires me. It looks back at me every time I glance at it, actively reminding me of its presence and its purpose.

I've recently started reading The Alchemist for the first time, and yes, I realize how behind the times I am in doing such. Author Paulo Coelho writes the story of Santiago, the shepherd boy, who leaves his home in search of earthly treasures, but instead embarks on a journey to realize his destiny. It's a story that we can all relate with, and an idea that we all can empathize with.

Coelho, in his foreward written for the book's 25th Anniversary edition, recounts and summarizes some of the main issues of the text. In it, he writes the phrase that I've come to not only agree with, and personally believe, but one that has shown true in my own life and journey. In it, he writes, "when you want something, the whole universe conspires to help you."

I, one hundred percent, believe that mindset is key when making life changes and life growth. Where you put yourself in your own mind, how you see yourself, how you hold yourself, and your level of expectations directly affects the outcome. The notions of fear, doubt, unsteadiness, and belittlement can crush a dream before it even begins.

When I began to travel at 19 years old, it was something I had never done before in my life. I had never flown on a plane, I had never really left the southeastern part of the USA, and most importantly, I had never been dropped into the midst of a distant and different culture. However, when I made the decision in my mind to do it... I did it! There was no doubt it would happen. I was bold in my moves, I spoke as if it were already true and carved in granite. There was no turning back... and behold, it happened- I moved to Australia... twice.

Did it take work? Of course. I saved money from my job I was working at the time. I had a huge yard sale. I sold doughnuts. I emptied my savings. And I collected every coin I could find. My parents didn't pay for it, I didn't have a loan, and I wasn't rich. BUT- what I did have was a plan... and I was NOT backing down.

So why do I say all of that?

Since then, I have been able to travel to many different places for extended amounts of time. Many people ask me "How do you travel? How do you afford it? How do you plan it?" And, my answers to those questions are very simple... I take time to research and make a plan and I stick with it. I plan out where I'll stay, researching the most cost-efficient locations that work for me. I research the cheapest and easiest flights to and from. I research what there is to do, and I find that out from locals-- not big tourist websites. I don't stay in lush condos or five star resorts, I eat where the locals eat, and I see the sights, enjoy the people, and make time to explore the land.

Travel isn't difficult- but having a plan far enough out is the key. You want time to prepare and to save. You want to do things in stages. Book the flight three months out. Book the accommodations two months out, and save for food, transport, and souvenirs during that last month before you go. And just find ways to save and squirrel away money in the meantime. You'll be surprised what you can do when you put your mind to it.

One day will NEVER come without action... you must be willing to put in the work. But, I can promise, when you start living out your dreams of traveling and seeing the world- or whatever dream you may desire- you'll be happy that you made a plan and carried it through.

What are you dreaming of? Where do you want to be? What do you want to be doing?

Make a plan today- be proactive- and allow yourself to think differently than you previously have. Be innovative and excited, and then allow that excitement to carry you through. Making things like a travel board, or vision board- can help keep you motivated and remind you of the reward of all of your hard work. I highly recommend a visual during the process. Allow yourself to dream, and then find ways to make it a reality.

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