You scroll through Instagram, passing photo after photo of all of these people, going to all of these incredible places, and doing all of these amazing things...and you're just sitting there, behind the computer at your nine-to-five, wishing that, that could be you. Sound familiar?
I too have social-media coveted for more hours than I care to admit. Sometimes even thinking to myself how a place isn't even that far, or that, that is something I could, "totally do," and yet, I don't go, and I don't do it. Why?
I very rarely meet people who don't want to travel. Most, if asked, say they would love to go to a new place. And yet, they never seem to get much farther than the dream itself.
So why is it that so many of our bucket-lists are still bucket-lists? The steps to cross these items off aren't that hard:
Getting in our car: easy
The act of purchasing a ticket (if the money is available, and our wifi doesn't feel like being a jerk): easy
Calculating our PTO: supposedly "easy"
Jumping from "I want to go to..." to "I'm going to go to...": a lot harder than it seems
Believe it or not, the absolute hardest part of planning a trip is our own self-determination and drive.
There's a large difference between:
Thinking we want to travel
Wanting to travel
Let's take a journey through an all-too familiar scenario:
You ring in the new year to a chorus of Auld Lang Syne. This is the year you're going to finally take that trip to Greece you've been talking about since you were eighteen. You're going to hold yourself to a savings schedule - putting a certain percentage of your paycheck away each month. By this time next year you'll be sharing photos and recounting amazing adventures from Athens and Santorini!
Fast forward two months.
I know I said I wasn't going to buy lattés anymore, and instead save that money for Greece, but just one can't hurt, right?
I could really use a new laptop - this one's getting slow!
It's already September!?
Ugh, I'm exhausted from work today - I'll research hikes in Athens tomorrow.
One Year Later
This is the year I'm going to finally take that trip to Greece!
It's so easy to watch the years pass and go nowhere... literally.
There's a large difference between thinking we want to travel, and actually wanting to travel. Sure, you may covet some social media snapchats, and wish you could be there right now, but that desire is created in a false sense of reality (usually one where winning the lottery is involved): you don't have to be concerned with money, time off from work is no longer a worry, you can buy a plane ticket this instant, and just go. When we picture ourselves standing beneath the Eiffel Tower, or at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, we don't also picture the hours of work we'd have to do to get there.
We claim to be committed to a trip, but the steps we need to take to actually arrive find themselves insanely easy to just... push aside.
Life is a series of choices:
Should I get fried rice, or a burrito for dinner? (The correct answer is both)
Should I go to the gym tonight, or binge-watch something on Netflix?
Should I go to work, or call out tomorrow spending the entire day watching re-runs of Criminal Minds?
We face them constantly - making decisions, often on the spot, as to the whats, wheres, and whens of our days. And, while there is no right or wrong, per say, there is always the opposite of our final decision - the consequence. By choosing one, you refuse the other... at least for that moment.
But fret not! Just because travel, for the average human, means choices, they're not of the Sophie variety! You can go everywhere you want - just probably not in the same year.
So you want to plan a trip? Priority is the name of the game.
You say you want to travel, but do you really? Are you willing to give up your bi-weekly Chipotle runs in exchange for a brown bag to save some money? Can you fight your own instinct to crawl into bed after a long, terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day and, instead, research neighborhoods, hotels, and airbnbs like you had planned? What, truly, means more to you?
Priority. Priority. Priority.
We don't like to think honestly about such concepts of humanity: free-will, priority, choice, for it demands that the blame lie only with ourselves if/when we are disappointed. We made a decision, and now we must face the result of it.
We don't like to admit that maybe travel is not more important to us then, say, the newest iPhone; we're taught to want certain things, to associate travel with being well-rounded, cultured, and intelligent.
We want to want to travel, but, for many of us, it is a far-away goal - something we will "get around to tomorrow." And if tomorrow becomes never, then so be it. Obviously more important things have come along.
So sacrifice your Starbucks for a few months - the view from the Grand Canyon will be much more memorable than any frapp.
You'll lack the funds to make the trip you claimed to want then, but if the coffee turns out to be what you actually want, then I wish you only good sips.
The choice is yours.