How To Travel Full Time – A Guide For The Future Full Time Traveler
As I reflect back on the beginning of my full time travels, I realize there was no guide. I set off on my adventure, presuming it would be like my vacations, and learned, along the way, that full time travel is much different than I had expected going in to it. It’s definitely not a vacation. I remember desperately wanting someone to help advise me before going. Can I really do this? How will I afford it? Where should I go? What type of insurance should I get? were but a few of the many questions I had. Unfortunately, back then, there was no such thing as a full time travel coach, such as I am now! For those of you future full time travelers, you may think it’s as simple as packing up and taking off, but in reality, there’s a lot more to it. Here are a few tips on how to make the most out of your future full time travels.
Find Your Pace, But Try To Go Slowly
In my last article, I talked about boredom and burnout, and you definitely have to find your own pace. However, the whole point of traveling full time is that you are no longer at the mercy of someone else’s schedule. You can travel indefinitely, which means staying in one place as long, or as little, as you like. Some of the most boring activities lead to some of the greatest insights. I’ve taken long walks in nature and experienced wonderful epiphanies. I’ve sat at a cafe and spoken to everyone at the tables next to me, or the barista and sparked friendships. I’ve taken an unexpected path and discovered lookouts I might never have gotten to admired. I’ve stayed in places for weeks and began to feel like a local, and learned new vocabulary words. These are just a few of the many impacts of traveling slowly.
You Don’t Need A Goal Or Structure
I put a lot of pressure on myself, when I started out, to have a goal. There had to be a reason I was traveling the world, and it had to relate to getting another job. I tried to find a way to measure my success with my goal, as I had been trained to do in corporate. That magic job idea never happened for me (instead, I created my own!) It was when I arrived in Chile, on year two of my travels, that I met a young man who had been traveling for 18 months. When I asked him what his goal had been, he said, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” That moment gave validation to everything I’m doing. I stopped worrying about where I was heading, and, instead, decided to live in the present moment. It’s a place we often don’t spend enough time. It’s ok to travel just for travel’s sake. You don’t need to plan every moment. You can just focus on being.
Leave If You Don’t Like It
One of the moments where I truly connected to my freedom was when I arrived in El Chalten, Argentina. I had booked a couple of nights in a youth hostel. I spent my first day doing a hike and then came into the town and realized it was a complete tourist trap. Though the hikes are ungodly beautiful, it felt to me like the town was literally constructed around sleeping and eating venues to cater to the tourists that wanted to hike in the area. I couldn’t find the essence of the town itself and I didn’t want to stay. So, I fled a day early. Though I of course lost the money for my hostel room, the sense of satisfaction and freedom I felt for choosing my happiness was worth it. This is one of the greatest parts of full time travel – being able to choose yourself over your circumstances.
Say Yes (Unless Your Intuition Says No)
Another aspect of this wonderful journey is meeting new people or showing up someplace and finding an unexpected event, restaurant or activity. I’ve learned that traveling full time gives me opportunities I never dreamed of, and that by saying yes, I got to make new friends, learn a new skill, or discover a beautiful place. I met two wonderful women on a boat tour in Argentina. I said yes to meeting them a couple days later and we spent the day hiking a trail I would have never heard of without them. We dared to walk to the out of the way paths and I ended up with some of the most beautiful views I had ever seen.
In Costa Rica, I became friendly with the owner of a wonderful coffee shop in La Fortuna, called La Vaca Purpura. I went every day and we developed a friendship. She invited me to dinner with her husband one evening, and I said yes. Not only did I enjoy getting to know them more deeply, I discovered a restaurant outside of town that I’d never have found, and I was introduced to new foods that I might have missed.
Always listen to your intuition first, and if it warns you of danger, then heed that feeling.
When Things Don’t Go As Planned, Find Another Way
The greatest advantage you have as a full time traveler is, time. If a flight gets canceled, you can rebook, or travel a different way. If the tour you wanted to go on gets postponed, you can sit in a cafe or find something else to do. The one thing not to do, is get angry and blame everyone for ruining your trip. There’s no point when you can, literally, make a new trip. On vacation, you have a finite amount of time and it’s upsetting if you can’t visit or experience something you had planned. When full time traveling, plans not working out is often a blessing that guides you to a wonderful experience you would never have had without the mishap, and it creates some of the best memories of your travels.
When you travel the world, you’ll see that people live very differently than you do. Sometimes, you may not like how they live. You may find yourself uncomfortable or missing parts of your own culture. If you truly want to experience a new culture, then try to adapt to it as best you can. That’s going to mean trying strange foods, possibly wearing different clothing, and seeking to understand things, rather than change them. There are times that’s not easy. You may find your values and assumptions challenged on a regular basis. That’s what causes you to grow as a person.
Observe Local Rules And Traditions
I think this is one of the most important areas of full time travel. Respect local laws and guidelines. In many places, it’s greatly disrespectful to enter a religious venue without covering your limbs. You’ll find signs telling you not to climb to spot that looks like a great Instagram shot, and others instructing not to feed animals. If you’re going to experience cultures, learn to respect them while you’re there. Follow the guidelines, take the time to ask questions, learn why guidelines are in place (often for your safety). I learned, in New Zealand, that if their Department of Conservation (DOC) puts up a sign telling you not to use a walkway, and you disregard it, get stuck, and need to be rescued, you are potentially taking away resources from an emergency situation, and costing them a lot of money, all in the name of you disregarding the rules.
In my esteem, the point of travel is to discover and respect both the places you go, and yourself. In doing so, you will find the greatest growth, many friends, and wonderful experiences to light your way. If you’re curious about how to make it possible, let me know.
Full time travel offers a very deep and rich way to discover yourself through other cultures. It’s definitely both a process, and a journey, and they are worth taking.
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If you want to see every post I’ve written, starting with the most recent, this is the place to start!
If you need some tips on getting started, traveling safe, and saving money while traveling full time, go here!
I’ve been traveling the globe solo, and many of my posts share thoughts and resources specifically for other solo travelers. If you’re a fellow solo traveler, or you’re thinking about solo travel, this is a collection you will find of interest.
If you’re looking to read blog posts about specific destinations, click the country of your interest below to go to it’s blog page and get country-specific reviews and thoughts.
Sometimes I write posts where I give insider information on certain cities I’ve visited, which may be more along the lines of places to go, how to save money, etc. If that’s your main interest, check out this compilation of posts.
In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.
At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I’ve had.
Many of my blog posts are about things I’ve discovered about myself or about being, while I’ve traveled. If you’d like to focus on posts that only have self-discovery themes, click the button below.