If you want to travel the world

November 5, 2014 in Career,Featured,Life,Philosophy,Travel

The email I often find in my inbox goes a little something like this: I’m unhappy/bored/trapped in my current lifestyle. I want to travel the world. How did you do it? How can I do it?
Christine Amorose in New York City
For the sake of efficiency and maybe for everyone else who’s thinking the same question, here’s my answer.
Hi,
Thanks so much for reaching out! Such a big question you ask, and I’m not sure that I’m necessarily the best person to answer it, but I’ll try to give a little personal insight.
In terms of “how” I did it: I earned my degree. I got a “real job.” I saved a lot of money while working hard. And then I bought a plane ticket! And then I kept working hard–I waitressed, I worked in a cooking school, I got a desk job on the other side of the world, I wrote (a lot!)–and I kept buying plane tickets. I learned that I would rather have an address than live out of a backpack, and so I lived for about 6 months to a year in France and Australia. And now I live in New York City, where I still work really hard, and still save (some) money, so that I can still buy plane tickets.
I don’t have a magical answer to how to travel the world, other than to save your money and buy the ticket and go where you want to go. That’s the thing about life; sometimes, it’s just that easy. If you want to travel full-time, you have to be willing to leave your old life behind. If you want to travel more, that might mean cutting back on new pairs of shoes and fancy dinners out and putting that money into a travel fund instead. It might also mean looking into study abroad options, talking to your boss about how to best allocate vacation days or figuring out a way to work remotely.
But more importantly, I think it’s essential to figure out what makes you happy and to create habits that make you happier, no matter where in the world you are. I highly recommend The Happiness Project to get the juices flowing on what that might be, and to embrace an attitude of travel every day: to go for long walks in new neighborhoods, to seek out new restaurants and try different cuisines, to look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time (thus is your time on earth filled with glory).
If you’re unhappy right now, flitting over to Bali or Hawaii or whatnot isn’t necessarily going to make you happier. It might distract you and it might create some awesome Instagrams and it might make other people jealous, but sometimes those are just fancy ways of running away and masking the problem. So instead of hopping on a plane immediately, I’d spend some time thinking about what makes you happy and figuring out if being on the road is going to make you truly happier. For me, riding my bike and taking photos of colorful new streets and reading a book in a sunny cafe and walking on the beach makes me really, really happy: some of that I can do at home in New York, and some of that is just better in a sparkly new country.
The real world, and the rest of the world, will always be there. Enjoy where you are right now!
Cheers,
Christine
Here are a few more of my favorites on the subject:
  • Great advice! I love saving my money and traveling when I can, even if it’s around the corner or across the world. If your job doesn’t make you happy, change it. If you can’t, find a side gig or hobby that does. Only we have the power to change our lives and live it to the fullest. I’m definitely trying to enjoy the day-by-day more than usual even if it’s mundane things like a cup of warm coffee at work in the morning. It makes you enjoy life so much more.

  • Corinne

    beautiful answer! You have to like what you do in your everyday life as much as possible, there are just too many everyday days to go through.

  • Paige Miller

    I might not be travelling the world at the moment, but I’m on my 4th year of living abroad and the first step is buying the plane ticket (and, of course, have a little funds for the moving costs). However, you’re so right…you can’t run away from your problems. Selling your things to travel the world isn’t going to change you’re life if you’re not ready to be happy.

  • Wonderful! I think society now believes there’s a quick answer to everything, including happiness. Sometimes you just have to make due with what you have.

  • sapana

    Great information on travel. It will be definitely useful for people searching the information about travel and tourism. I personally hope to get more information from your blog. I even like this place norwich and found cools stuff in http://www.norwichwalkingtour.co.uk walking tour norwich.

  • Liz Carlson

    Perfect as usual twin. I read this feeling like I could literally just exchange words like NYC to New Zealand ect. You rock

  • camorose

    Yes! So important to be able to find joy in the every day :)

  • camorose

    Exactly!

  • camorose

    Yup–it’s all about taking that first step.

  • camorose

    Sometimes it takes hard work, and other times it just takes making a decision to be happy!

  • camorose

    Thanks lady! Means a lot :)

  • I am currently on my second solo trip in Paris and couldn’t agree more! Loved reading The Happiness Project as well.

  • Carissa @ Start Wandering

    I get asked the same question now that I have quit my full-time-7-year-long “career” to travel. All the power to you of you take the leap of faith!! Xo

  • Great post!
    My partner and I like to go overseas at least once a year. People often say how lucky we are to be able to do this, but really it comes down to taking control of our budgets! We both set aside money each pay cycle to put towards a trip, even if we haven’t started planning one. Because we include this in our budget, we are still able to do the day-to-day things we enjoy, and once we start planning a trip, it’s simple enough for us to put aside more money/curb our unnecessary spending if we think we’ll need it for our travels.

  • Katherine Huff

    Oh, you quoted my #1 favorite book! I love it. “Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” <– There are just so many life lessons to be learned in this book, and I wish more people had read it. I re-read it once or twice a year.

    I love this post. Taipei is my New York. During the week I can live like a local, but on the weekends I can play tourist in this lovely city and discover all the sites. Thanks for the great read! I always enjoy your posts.

  • This is such great advice — and inspiring! “The Happiness Project” is one of my favorite books.

  • Great advice and very well-written! I left my job in the U.S. and moved to Spain to teach English for a year. I like having a “home” or a permanent base while learning about another culture and doing some traveling. I don’t like the idea of living out of a backpack for years at a time, but I do like to travel. I found a compromise between the two. I have really enjoyed making Logroño, Spain my city and setting up a base here, for the time being. I’ll be sure to share this with people who I hear asking this question. Thanks!

  • camorose

    Yay! Have the best time in Paris–I can’t wait to go back in early 2015!

  • camorose

    You too! Enjoy!

  • camorose

    Yes! Totally agree. I take the subway instead of cabs and make sandwiches instead of going out to lunch, and that’s all so that I can put more money in my savings–so that it’s not a big deal when I want to book a plane ticket or a hotel. Keep on keeping on!

  • camorose

    Yes! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my favorites ever, and I love it even more now that I live in Williamsburg. It’s crazy how much it’s changed!

    Keep enjoying life in Tapei. Thanks so much for reading :)

  • camorose

    Yes! So many good life lessons in the Happiness Project.

  • camorose

    Thanks, Mike! Really appreciate the kind words.

  • Mike Smith

    I love how concise and to the point this article is. Excellently written.
    All the best,
    Mike

  • Julia

    Just found your blog through this post and really love your theme and overall message of finding a balance between having a permanent home and still being able to travel both locally and abroad. It’s also reassuring to hear that exploration doesn’t always have to be in some far-off country, but can happen in your own backyard.

  • Dana

    Great post, and so, so true. It’s all about taking that first step and making that commitment! Get a degree, get a job, save some money, build on your experience. Figure out what kind of traveling is for you.

    I’m like you in needing a permanent home base– 3 years in France has allowed me to do that! Hopefully Asia will be next.

    Thanks Christine!

  • Annnna

    Spot-on! During one of my trips a few years ago I realized that the real reason I wanted to go away was not my ever-strong wanderlust but rather some problems I didn’t want to face. Luckily this realization didn’t take too long to kick in… Such moments are brutally honest, yet really refreshing.

  • piinkvegas

    Simplely great. I wouldn’t Sahara it better **

  • How to travel the world = “decide” that you want to. Once you decide, if you truly want it bad enough, you’ll figure out a way to make it happen :) Most people don’t want it bad enough.

  • Not a profound statement. Relatively practical, but definitely not profound.

  • Most things in life come down to that one simple question. Do you truly want it? Most people don’t.

  • There are so many aspects to this—no profound or ultimate conclusion; if you want it, go for it but sometimes it is your destiny to pursue or not to; anyway whether you think on it or procrastinate on it—actually one can presume to acquire and still be left to assume. There is no key to unlock or provide for decisions—only time and relevance.

  • Shireen

    Fantastic letter! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for the past few years as you’ve seemed to have struck that great balance of having a fixed life (still full of adventure) and still traveling abroad. This letter was a great reminder to myself to enjoy traveling in my own corner of home as much as possible, and also to stop dreaming about that long-term trip (because, I also like having a home base) but taking your advice to save money for a travel fund! Well done.

  • ReRemote.com

    Thanks a ton for a great post! I always enjoy reading your posts! As Shireen wrote, this was a great reminder of why it’s worth travelling to work abroad. I am already crafting a plan to go to Malaga, Spain later in 2015. Drop by http://reremote.com/ as I gather useful articles for digital nomads and remote workers there. Thanks for inspirations!

  • camorose

    Thanks! So glad you enjoyed.

  • camorose

    So glad you found the post, Julia, and glad you enjoyed the message :)

  • camorose

    So glad you’ve been following along on my adventures while you’re out there creating the life you want, Dana! Asia would be epic–enjoy :)

  • camorose

    Totally true. Just have to figure out what you want!

  • camorose

    You can definitely relate :)

  • camorose

    Thanks, Shireen! It’s so funny to see where life has taken both us since meeting up that one random night in Thailand!

  • Indeed I can, and now it’s my companies mission to extend that. I believe people that travel extensively give back more to humanity over time, and that we need more of those people in this world :)

    http://www.horizonapp.co/blog/what-horizon-dream/

  • Beatriz Bajuelos Castillo

    That was a great response. As you said, there’s plenty of ways of traveling the world: living abroad, traveling or maybe just exploring different neighborhoods or the cities close to where you live. Traveling doesn’t solve your problems if you’re feeling depressed/bored/unhappy but it can help you see things in a different perspective.

    http://bettyfromnowhere.blogspot.com

  • Hi Christine! I’m an American student currently studying in Europe and have the time/means to do a little bit of traveling. The issue is that I would be traveling alone. As a woman and as someone with minor anxiety this makes me very nervous. I want to visit France and Italy but don’t know the language for either place. How does one overcome the fear of taking on adventure alone while being smart about it?

  • camorose

    Glad you enjoyed the piece!

  • camorose

    Hi Sharon! Thanks so much for reaching out. I think the key when traveling to new places with a different language is a) being polite and b) learning a few key words. France and Italy are both used to A LOT of tourists–and many of them are English-speaking. If you’re sticking to the main cities, you shouldn’t have a problem finding someone who speaks English in most hotels, restaurants, tourist sites, etc. And treat people as you’d like to be treated! Learn how to say hello, please and thank-you–it goes a long way. Smile and be friendly when you’re asking for help. And remember that even when things go wrong, it usually makes a good story :)

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