August 18th, 2011
So…as some of you know. The first leg of my RV trip has come to an end. I’ve had mixed emotions about it all, and have mostly been spending this time at home (with my family) as a time to reflect, and largely, a time to work on my next project, Girls Gone (muthafrickin!) MOTO! Which is all about YOU getting the life you want by getting moving, getting moto (motorcycles, trucks, and RV’s optional). There are some new twists and turns to this, but it’s all still getting hammered out, so mum is still slightly the word for now. HOWEVER, I have a very special treat for you today.
Since, I started traveling, I’ve come across numerous amazing people who are doing something similar…jumping out of their comfort zones and taking their lives on the road. One such person is my friend Jeannie Mark, who has successfully been doing this for awhile. She is smart, interesting, travels for a living, and spends her time inspiring you to create your own gypsy lifestyle, so I asked her to write an article for you on just these things, since she is the PIMP DADDY GYPSY TRAVELER you’ve always wished was your best friend. She is…NOMADIC CHICK (dot com). And here is what she has to say:
How to Squash Fear and Get Traveling
by Jeannie Mark
“Are you filthy rich?”
“Do you have a trust-fund?”
I get these questions frequently. I wish all of them were true. If I could convince a geriatric Texan millionaire to fly me around the world, yet be kosher with some pecks on the cheek (I’m not that cheap), my life would be a snap.
Yet, no matter how often we pull it apart, muse upon it, life is simply not like that.
Some people can’t conceive how I ever got started traveling in the first place.
Pay attention. Put down that coffee. Shut the blinds. Mark yourself as busy on your calendar.
I’m here to tell you how.
1) Find a Breakthrough
What makes you happy about traveling? I mean, really, down to the skin and bone, what? Is it the unknown factors? Potential new experiences? Backpacker sex? For me, stepping into the blank slate of a foreign city does it, way more than Taylor Lautner’s biceps. The auditory beauty, odors and visual lushness leave me wide open to possibility. I immediately let down my preconceived assumptions and walls. And just exist. Hell yeah. We all do things for a reason. Find yours and embrace it. Whatever pumps you up about travel is what you have to hold onto, especially against doubters and naysayer types. Believe me, they will emerge. Be strong in who you are, and what you want.
I’m not referring to reading a guidebook. Anybody with a bachelor’s degree can do that. Guidebooks don’t inspire; they just regurgitate information. You need a human face. The honest to god tipping point for me was reading travel blogs. I could not just read facts, but absorb personal stories of travelers. The highs, lows, internal and external changes that happen. What I came away with is how goddamn worthy it is to travel. Since I’m kinda a lazy git, I let other people compile some places for you to start. Christine Gilbert’s The Best of 2010 Inspired Travel Blogs is a decent round–up, or skim Wes Nations’ list of Top Ten Travel Blogs of 2011.
3) Try Something New, Something Small
Okay, so maybe it’s time to try a caramel latte, instead of the standard vanilla you always order. Or how about walking a whole new route to work? Take a chance on a Rebecca Black song (although we know how that will turn out). You’re rolling your eyes now; I know it. But, hear me out. Change is necessary, yet never easy. Our fallible human brains typically freak out and run from overload. Trying something new, albeit small, mentally prepares us for those huge changes that we desire. The small changes show us we can take risks, be open-minded and look! You didn’t fail or fuck up. The more you open yourself up to small steps, the easier it will be buying that round-the-world ticket.
4) Stop Buying Crap
This is the number one question I am pelted with constantly. Where did you get the money?? As the whiner clutches a Coach bag, towering over me in her Jimmy Choo stilettos. So, maybe I have an irrational prejudice against tall women, but the truth is you will never travel unless you shift financial priorities. Gasp! What does that mean? I’m going to introduce a word into your vocabulary: budgeting. Sit down in front of an excel spreadsheet, input your monthly expenses, which includes rent, utilities, car payment, credit cards, and extra spending money. Where could you cut expenses and shift that freed money into a high-interest savings account? Buy fewer coffees? Cut your clothing budget in half? Only one dinner out per week? Better yet, stop using credit cards as money and start paying with actual cash. Once you have a big picture of where you are financially, treat it like monopoly. Start plunking money where you want it: towards travel. It isn’t as hard as we think! I’m pretty impressed with Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s post on how to create a budget. You might be too.
5) Don’t Go Overboard
Let’s imagine that you’ve had your breakthrough, are starting to save money, and even hopped on to implementing little changes into your life. You may be tempted to chuck your job, buy a hundred plane tickets, and then sell anything that could possibly be price tagged, including your dog, but don’t! The flesh may be willing, but the spirit is still weak. Instead, try to pick at least one thing that scares you more. Whatever that may be. I say one thing, so we don’t blow your newfound budgeting skills, wink wink. Maybe you’ve always, always wanted to try skydiving, longed to finally get your motorcycle license and want to work that into your travel plans or even embark on a weekend trip to start flexing those risk-taking skills. Take those baby legs and evolve them into adult legs, which will eventually explode into elephant legs trampling towards a burst of that wonderful unknown – travel. Building up your ‘brave’ will make the transition feel easy.
People think travel is complicated, but it’s not. The base line to anything we want to accomplish is understanding ourselves, and then taking the steps to attain it.
Although travel may be your final goal, just remember that the journey there is just as important.
Now, get traveling!
Author bio: Jeannie Mark’s sassiness emerged in June of 2010 when her job suddenly quit her. She sold all her possessions (don’t worry, she gave the cat away free) and set off to explore the world and herself. She’ll be continuing her world domination by participating in the Ultimate Train Challenge in September, where she’ll start in Lisbon and end in Saigon in 30 days. After that whirlwind, she’ll kick around Southeast Asia and beyond. Check her out at www.nomadicchick.com or follow her exploits on Twitter or Facebook.
Leave a comment and let us know what some of your traveling fears are (so we can squash them with our sheer will!)