After having many conversations with a lot of people regarding traveling on a budget, I want to clarify something here. Because, I think there is a huge misconception going around and many people do not understand the answer fully, when they ask travelers if it is really possible to travel cheaply. When anyone asks me this question, I tell them the honest and truthful answer “Yes, you absolutely can,” and give them a list of ways to travel on a limited budget. But there is also something that I recently started adding at the end of it. And that is, “Yes, you and anyone can travel very cheaply for months, even years, it’s not a myth, but, it does take effort.” It is this last part that many people don’t seem to understand.
Just like anything in life, if you want to follow your dreams – it takes effort; if you want to build a successful company – it takes effort; if you want to live a balanced life – it takes effort; if you want to be good at something – it takes effort. EVERYTHING takes some level of effort from you. This is also 100% the case when it comes to traveling on a shoestring. If you don’t put the effort in, you won’t travel cheaply. Sounds pretty logical doesn’t it? It definitely does to me. When you hear a story from someone who has traveled, and they say that traveling cheaply didn’t really work for them, or that it is impossible to do so, what they are actually saying is that they didn’t try or want to try to put the effort in. Ask them what they did, and I can assure you it won’t be much. For most people after a while they start using their money instead of effort. Why? Well let me tell you. It’s way easier.
I mean, it takes much more effort hitchhiking, standing in the blazing sun or pelting rain (or snow) waiting for someone to pick you up for sometimes minutes often hours, than sitting on a bench under a roof, waiting for your bus to arrive at the exact time, that will take you directly to your destination. It takes way more effort writing to a whole bunch of people on couchsurfing, waiting for their replies, going to their place, instead of walking into a hostel, handing 25 dollars over and being set. It’s way easier paying the money and renting a car than having one for free but having to relocate it to a certain destination for someone. It’s way easier traveling around the country spending money on food and accommodation than it is traveling around working for someone here and there in exchange for food and accommodation. It’s way more comfortable sleeping in a nice warm bed than in a tent. It’s way more… alright alright, I think you get the point, right? And while reading this you might think, “Oh but that doesn’t sound too bad” Trust me, I have done all those things, many many times, and it is tiresome. It takes willpower traveling like that, especially in the long run, and that’s where many give up. Because after a while they just don’t like those tradeoffs of effort and putting their comfort and convenience on the line every now and then.
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