Monthly Archives: July 2018

How to Expand Your Travel

We were at a party during the holidays and got into a discussion about how few people travel, and in fact, how most of our friends and family had not left their small towns…let alone travel to other parts of the world.

I want to paint a picture of this party for you so that you have some context for this story…

The party took place in a small town high in the Andes of Ecuador. The party took place between Christmas and New Years, but the focus of the party was the first birthday of a local indigenous Indian child whose parents we had met a few weeks earlier. Her extended family was there, as well as 4 other families from N. America and Europe.

Now granted, this group of people is perhaps not typical. Traveling thousands of miles to a small town in Ecuador for fun is not your run-of-the-mill stuff, but I find that we are more comfortable in these surroundings than holed up in the same town.

I began traveling when I was young, my parents took my sisters and I too many states within the U.S., and we traveled to Germany and Thailand as well as other countries. My wife and I traveled after we were married, and we continued to travel after we had kids. All of this culminated in our decision to sell everything, pack up the kids, and set out on an open-ended adventure through Latin America.

Again, these experiences are not typical, but we learned to expand our comfort zone and now enjoy experiences we once only dreamed about.

We can’t imagine living and dying in the same town without ever having left, but our new friends from Germany said that they have many family and friends that this is just the case. They are born, live, work, and die in the same town. They have a very small comfort zone for experiencing other foods, cultures, and adventures that travel provides.

My secretary was one of these people, having not ever ventured out of the state she was born in 50 years. She finally visited Hawaii with her husband…I assume my constant prodding had something to do with it. She loved it and wants to plan the next adventure.

I guess I have always viewed my life as chapters in a book. Each new chapter brings change and growth; graduation, marriage, the birth of a child, a new career, changing interests, or the pursuit of a dream. This growth expands our comfort zone in a myriad of ways and opens us up to the possibilities that our world has to offer.

If travel is something that you want to do but you feel it is outside your comfort zone, I encourage you to take the first step. Your first step does not need to be the jungles of the Amazon, it can be right in your own backyard.

Where do tourists go in your home town? Put yourself in their shoes and view your city as a tourist would. Experience the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that are only a few steps from your front steps.

As you gain experience and become more comfortable, expand your travel itinerary. Try a neighboring state, visit a national park, or learn about the history of your country through some form of travel. As you expand your comfort zone expand your geographic bounds. Taking an organized tour can be a great way to begin feeling comfortable in foreign surroundings, and as you get more and more comfortable you can begin scheduling your own itineraries.

Plan Your Own Round the World

Very few people have the opportunity for a “Round the World Roundup,” that is to travel around the world. Even frequent travelers don’t usually get to circumnavigate the globe-at least not in a way that allows them to enjoy different cultures. If you love to travel, you should consider creating your own personal “Round the World Roundup.”

Traveling around the world is complicated, expensive, time consuming, exciting, adventurous and maybe a little dangerous. Your “Round the World Roundup” will probably take at least several months, and could take several years. Planning it will probably take several years, too.

Planning is the first and most important step in global travel. Get travel guides and maps for every place you want to visit. Learn as much as you can about each area, the culture, the people, and tourist facilities.

Map out a tentative itinerary for yourself. Initially, determine which places you want to visit. Decide how long you want to spend in each place and what you want to do or see there. Check out lodging and local transportation options.

Next, you’ll have to figure out how to get from one place to another. Decide if you will fly, take a train, take a bus, drive, ride a bicycle, walk or use some other mode of transportation.

At this point, you’re still in the dreaming stage, but now it’s time to start putting action to the dream. You still have a lot of planning to do, but now it’s more concrete. You need to decide how long it will take you to save enough money for your trip and start doing it.

When you get within a year of your trip, start planning for the things at home. Will you quit your job, or take a leave of absence? What do you need to do with your home? Do you have pets, kids or assets that you have to take care of? You are planning for an extended absence from home.

At about nine months from the beginning of your trip, it’s time to make sure your paperwork is in order. Make sure your passport is current and won’t expire while you’re out of country. Get any immunizations. Get a physical, dental exam and eye exam. Purchase trip insurance. Begin making reservations. By this time, it’s going to be getting more real-you’re turning your dream into a reality.

World Travel

World travel is something that I’m sure most people dream of doing someday. But the sad fact is that the vast majority of people never get out and do it.

Why not?

Well, the excuses vary, but common ones include: “I don’t have the money”, “I don’t have the time”, “I’m have kids and a house” etc…

The fact is though, excuses are easy, you can always find reasons not to do things. Putting yourself outside of your comfort zone is meant to be uncomfortable, but regret is uncomfortable too you know.

Is not as hard as you think.

These little difficulties are not road blocks, but imaginary hold ups that exist to be overcome.

Taking your kids out of school for a year is a small price to pay for the education that travel brings, and in reality there are few things in your life that you can’t pick up right where you left them.

Holidays are expensive, no doubt – but long term travel is like a normal holiday. The cost of flights stretched over a month or two is a small cost, and accommodation is cheaper in bulk. Many world travellers actually find that coming home is actually more expensive than travelling in the east for example.

Travel Happy, Budget Low

Practical Money Saving Tips for World Travel and Cultural Enrichment

Global traveler Susanna Zaraysky is our tour guide through her book “Travel Happy, Budget Low.” The book is written for budget travelers of all ages, beginners and the well-informed.

Prepare to make your dream trip a reality. Read carefully each of the thirteen sections of the book. You will find “Over 200 money saving tips to see the world!” Plan now to update that seldom used passport packed away with your memorabilia. Take to heart the old adage, “Half the fun is in the planning.” Susanna combines her personal experiences, awkward moments, and disillusionment in an effort to enable the reader to learn from her mistakes and avoid these pitfalls.

These personal stories are helpful as they alert you to the possibility of unforeseen disappointments or serious setbacks. I appreciated the invaluable tips pre-trip planning, securing accommodations, handing the money basics, and the reminders and suggestions for seniors.

Susanna included over 160 helpful website resources covering each of the major topics discussed in the guidebook. I learned tricks on getting, packing, going through customs, obtaining passports, suggestions for finding tables on dollar exchange rates, and for converting feet and inches to the metric system.

“Travel Happy, Budget Low” is a well-designed, wide-ranging easy to read guidebook for self-sufficient travelers. Get on board, sit back, fasten your seat belt, and enjoy the flight, the food, and your accommodations. Experience the fascination of a new culture and the amazing wonder of world travel.