In 18 months, my wife and I plan on leaving for our round the world trip. 18 months is a very long time.
Then again, $40,000 — the amount we’re setting aside before embarking — is a lot of money to save. The math seems reasonable: $100 a day X 365 days + $3,500 for emergencies = $40k.
But you want to know a secret?
We probably don’t need that much.
Scratch “probably.” We definitely don’t need that much. In fact, if we were to leave tomorrow armed with our current travel fund ($11,000) and our fuck-off fund, I’m 100% positive we would have enough financially to travel the world for an entire year.
So it’s not about the money. Then again, when have the most important things in life ever been “about the money?” So what’s really keeping us in Los Angeles? Are we scared to take the plunge? Are we over-planning and wasting the prime years of our youth?
The short answer is this: We’ve come to value the pursuit as much as the thing we’re pursuing.
1. Resolve vs. Impulse
Travel bloggers like to say you don’t need to be rich to travel. Stop being complain-y internet people and making excuses about how expensive it is. Just buy a one-way ticket. Today. What are you still doing here? I said now.
They’re right about one thing — you don’t need to be rich. You do however, need to be privileged. This means no debt, kids, or family or health problems. Unfortunately, that’s just not the reality for the majority of people our age. Even more unfortunately, solving these issues takes at least some planning and time. The good news is, you can make it work if you want to (and you prioritize it).
Basically, how you arrive at a decision is as important as the decision itself.
If you have $20,000 in student loan debt compounding at 6% interest, it’s probably not a good idea to YOLO your way to Regretsville. I mean theoretically, I could airdrop into the Sahara Desert with nothing but the clothes on my back, and pull a Bear Grylls by drinking my own urine — but that doesn’t make it a great idea.
2. Taking The Time To Figure Out The “Why”
This is just our opinion, but traveling to find yourself is a crock of shit. That’s the Eat, Pray, Love method, and we personally hate that book. If you don’t know what you’re about and why you do the things you do, then how the heck is getting food poisoning in India supposed to help you figure things out?
In my case, the goal is simple. When I grow up, I want to live up to my full potential as a writer. Logic dictates a writer gets better by running as many inputs (books, travel, experience) through his/her personal bullshit machine (style), to churn out as much meaningful output as possible (words).
In Jennie’s case, she wants to travel because growing up in a poor family, she never had the chance to do something just for the sake of doing it. There was always this nagging sense of guilt. She wants to find out what she can accomplish without that cloud hanging over her head.
3. Asking Ourselves, Have We Earned It?
It’s a question few people ever stop to ask themselves. As everything in the world gets easier and more accessible, we’ve become the worst kind of takers and consumers: ones with no intention of giving anything back in return.
My theory is if you can’t put in at least 12 months of work into something, it probably wasn’t that important to you. It’s one of the reasons our blog exists, because we believe things worth doing require commitment. Frankly, if we give up on the blog before September 2018, we don’t deserve to go. There aren’t many things in life I can definitively say are true, but one thing I know is that after I ran a marathon, the first sip of water behind the finish line tasted like elixir from the gods.
4. Travel Won’t Make Us Happy
Whatever you were struggling with back home, chances are you’re going to carry it with you when you travel. Same goes for work, life and family. I think many people falsely assume travel is going to fix something. From our experience, travel only amplifies. We want to get our mind, our relationship, and our finances right before we set out (in that order).
5. Nor Is Travel The End Goal
You never arrive; you’re always becoming. The world isn’t something you can cross off like a grocery list. You don’t get extra points if you’ve been to more countries; only the process counts. The process of slowing down, appreciating every waking moment, and constantly learning and iterating.
And maybe through this process, we’ll be able to build a life together that we can be proud of.
Jennie and Ivan are a twenty something couple based in Los Angeles. Together, they run a simple living blog called The Origami Life. It tracks their progress to September 2018, the month they plan on selling their worldly possessions and embarking on a global search for the simple life.
Image via Unsplash