Life Is Short. Travel Now.

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We've all heard the saying “Life is short.” And, sometimes, it is.

But life is also unpredictable.

Even though we all probably have dreams and goals and plans for our lives, there are certain things we have no control over. Our lives could be going along on right on track, only to be shattered by something we could never have seen coming.

A tornado that rips through a neighborhood. A flood that devastates farms. An earthquake that reduces a city to rubble. And these are just the unpredictable things nature can bring about. There are also accidents, health problems, financial woes…

Life is too fleeting and changeable to take for granted.

Red Berries

I have a tattoo around my wrist that reads: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” I try to recite this quote every once in a while, in order to remind myself to live in the here and now, and not in the future or the past. When it comes down to it, we can only live with what we're given, taking advantage of the opportunities that come our way.

This applies to travel, too.

I'm not a full-time traveler. I spend most days working to make a living just like you do. So when a chance arises for me to visit some far-off country or exotic locale, I jump on it.

Lake Tekapo

Take, for example, my recent trip to New Zealand. I won a prize from the Blog4NZ campaign, and decided to plan an impromptu trip to NZ. I bought a plane ticket and was South Pacific-bound within a month of winning. Sure, I could have postponed it, saved up some more money and planned to go sometime later.

But, I thought, what if “sometime later” never came?

I know where I would like my life to be headed in the coming months and years. But there are no guarantees that things will go as planned. In fact, more likely than not, nothing will go as planned.

Western Australia

Last summer, when I was on an Alaskan cruise with my family, I made note of the prevalence of older couples on our cruise ship. Old men who could only walk with canes. Old women who didn’t even leave the ship when we pulled into port. It was almost comical, the number of electric wheelchairs positioned outside staterooms at night.

And, while I’m glad that older couples still travel, I couldn’t help feeling a bit sorry for some of them on this cruise. No doubt many had dreamed about and saved up for this trip for years. For many, it was probably meant to be a retirement gift to themselves. But were they even enjoying it?

How often do we hear others say, “Oh, I’ll travel when I retire,” “I’ll travel when the kids are grown,” “I’ll travel when the house is paid off”? I hear these excuses all the time. But you know what happens? Age. And stress. And, well, life. Life happens, and by the time you retire and your kids are grown and your house is paid off, you have bad knees and weak lungs and you simply can’t visit all those places you dreamed about in your youth.

How sad. I don’t want to end up like that, holding on to youthful travel dreams that will never be reality.


So I travel now, in whatever way and to whatever place I can. I scrimp and I save and I make it happen. I took the Blog4NZ opportunity placed before me and embraced it, despite the low balance in my savings account. I'm glad I did, and I was lucky enough to have a lot of my expenses covered on that trip.

But even on trips where everything has been paid for out of my own pocket, I grasp at every opportunity and unique adventure. I travel with reckless abandon — often to the detriment of my wallet.

Is this wise? Probably not if you’re a long-term traveler. But, for someone like me who tends to take shorter trips to distant places, I attack travel with a no-holds-barred attitude.

Bungy jumping? Helicopter rides? Expensive tours? If I think they are worth it, then I will not hesitate to shell out for experiences. I treat every trip I take as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Sure, I'd like to think I'll be back to Ireland or Italy or Australia someday. But what if I never make it back? I don't want to have any regrets in my life, and this includes travel regrets.

Franz Josef Glacier

I know not everyone shares this travel philosophy, though. Many travelers stick to a strict budget so they can travel for as long as possible. Others simply don’t wait to pay for anything beyond the necessities.

When I was studying abroad in New Zealand, I traveled extensively all over the country with two friends. We booked everything from whale watching to zorbing to a private flight over the Southern Alps, and racked up some impressive credit card bills. I think we spent more weekends outside of Wellington than in it. Another international student that year almost looked down her nose at our pricey adventures, declaring that she had come to New Zealand to study, not empty her savings account on travel.

My question to her was, why would you come literally halfway around the world to hoard your money and keep your nose pressed into a book every weekend? Would you go to China and not visit the Great Wall because it costs money? Would you go to Italy and skip visiting the Vatican because it requires an admission ticket?

Cottesloe Beach

There are so many worthwhile experiences to be had in the world — and yes, many of them require money. But it’s my travel philosophy that you shouldn’t deny yourself any of these experiences just because they come with a pricetag.

If you are privileged enough to be able to afford to travel, then you should attack it with curiosity and vigor and a sense of adventure. And to hell with the bank account.

So travel now. Make memories. And enjoy your life.

At the end of the day, I'd rather die with a million memories than a million dollars. Money won't comfort me on my deathbed, but knowing that I lived a full and fulfilling life might.

What's your take? Do you take full advantage of every travel opportunity as if it were your last, too?


"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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126 Comments on “Life Is Short. Travel Now.

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  1. I like this post a lot! Makes me think of my uncle, who was, in many ways, my travel inspiration. He was waiting until he retired to travel (to have the time and money) , and his dream was to get an RV and go cross country.

    Unfortunately, he had a stroke and never made it. He died a couple years later in a nursing home.

    It was sad, but it inspired me to travel–and not to wait. Whenever I think about the money I don’t have (and the house I don’t own, etc.) but the incredible journeys I’ve taken, I think of him. I remember the first major trip I took–Egypt–at age 27. I was on the fence about going (because it was a tour and quite expensive). My uncle, who could barely speak (from the paralysis), told me–with his eyes and the few words he could say–to go. And I did. And I’m glad I did. I was able to show him the photos while he was still alive…and I could see the tears (of happiness) in his eyes.

      What a touching story, Lisa. It’s good that you were able to share your first travel experience with you uncle, even if the circumstances were sad. And that’s exactly what I was getting to with this post — you never know when those travel dreams will suddenly become unattainable.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

    We are in a similar situation – I don’t travel full time, don’t make a lot of money from my blog, and I work full time. However, seize the moment when you can and you don’t need to go far to do it! Today is a great reminder that we may not always have tomorrow as the bombing in Norway helps us remember our time is short and life is unpredictable.

      Exactly, Jeremy. You never know what tomorrow will bring, so embrace today! The bombings in Norway are a scary reminder of this.

    I agree with your post. Life can be so unpredictable and delaying gratification for too long can mean that one never gets to experience the journey they’ve been dreaming of.

      People give far too many excuses for why they don’t travel (or, worse, why they ‘can’t’ travel). And, unfortunately, many of these excuses mean that a lot of people don’t ever reach their travel goals.

    Life really is too short Amanda. Six weeks before I was due to leave for Asia last year I had a death. I was a total and utter mess but you know what? I packed my bags and left. I got on that plane and found life’s medicine – travel. If I’d stayed, work probably never would have given me the time off again, I would have been in the wrong financial state and before I knew it, I would have been 65 still a secretary telling people ‘I had dreams’.

    Sure, money is a worry (and I worry A LOT about it) but at the end of the day, I would rather my happiness. My favourite place was Koh Tao in Thailand…it had rolling blackouts, the bumps on the road were enough to give you bruises and shower water came out as a trickle but I could have lived there the rest of my life.

    In 40 days I’m about to get on a plane to Africa for 7 countries in six weeks. My family and friends tell me that I’m going to get killed but you know what my answer is? At least if I do then I would have died doing the one thing I loved…travel =)

      I love that last paragraph, Toni! Life is way too short to live with fear and avoid doing the things you really want to do. I’m sorry to hear about your loss last year, but it’s great that you didn’t let it get you down or hold you back. I’m sure whoever it was that passed away wouldn’t have wanted you to skip out on your dreams anyway. I know if I died tomorrow, I wouldn’t want that to stop my loved ones from being happy.

      So good on you for chasing those travel dreams!

    ahhh couldn’t be more true. and i know that tree! that’s the southern shores of lake wanaka! oh, how i miss new zealand.

      Actuallyyy, that tree is in Queenstown, on the shore of Lake Wakatipu! But you were close! 😉

    I totally agree with the “life is short” philosophy. I try to make travel and other things I’m passionate about a big priority and try not to buy in to the wait to enjoy it later philosophy.

      There ARE some times in life when a little delayed gratification is a good thing. But I don’t think travel (or anything you’re truly passionate about) should fall into that category!

    I could not agree MORE wholeheartedly. All we have is today, my desire is to use it for others and to travel.

      Awesome, Kirsten. It’s great to see so many others embracing this “live for today” mentality! Thanks for reading.

    Great post, and it’s so true. I am not travelling full-time but I try to take advantage of what travel opportunities I get. There’s so many people who put of travel for someday, but you never know if someday will come. I do tend to worry about money, it can get overwhelming, but I try to remember that I’m not the only person in the world with student loans and others costs. I can sacrifice quite a few things, but I’d never want to give up travel.

      I’m obviously not advocating to travel if you really have NO money, or if you’re buried up to your eyeballs in debt. I feel like most people my age are struggling with money to SOME extent. But I don’t let that stop me from traveling. I save up for a few months or a year, and then I spend my money on travel. Do I have a lot of “extra” funds? No. But do I regret that at this point in my life? Not at all!

    Most of my family is hitting milestones this year (dad turning 70, mom turning 60, I’m turning 30 (and the house I grew up in turning 100!)) and I am starting to move some more active travel items that I have wanted to do my whole life up on the list, because really, why am I waiting?!

    My mom would have loved to come with me to Peru next month, but she would have to take the train while the big reason I want to go is to hike the trail. I don’t want to get to that point anytime soon.

      Yes, why ARE you waiting?? Lol. That’s great that you’re doing the Inca Trail next month! You would hate to put it off until YOU’RE 60, and not be able to hike it. Do it now while you’re young, girl!

    I absolutely agree with your philosophy. Tomorrow may never come. All we have is today. I’m so glad I’ve been able have the adventures I’ve had so far; I wouldn’t exchange them for anything. When it’s my time to go, I want to have the sort of life that I can look back on and know that I’ve done all the things I really wanted to do. Great post, Amanda.

      Thanks, Marsha. I, too, am so thankful for the life I’ve been able to lead so far. I know how lucky I am to have been able to travel as much as I have. But part of the reason I’ve had so many great adventures so far is because I’ve gone after them! As soon as I save up enough money to go somewhere, I go. I’m like you — when my time is up, I don’t want to have any regrets about the things I didn’t do.

    My hubby and I are of the mindset to travel now and not when we retire. That is not to say we won’t but we too have seen older couples who really struggle and can’t as much advantage of the locales they visit due to health issues or fragility. We don’t want to wait either and travel as much as possible. We don’t have kids which makes it easier to. I take advantage of every possible opportunity to go somewhere and will continue to do so until I can’t walk anymore!

      Sounds like a great plan to me, Andi! I would love to still be able to travel after I retire. But, with people working until they’re older and older these days, you just never know if it will actually be possible. So I’m going to travel as much as possible before then!

    YES YES YES! When I studied abroad in London, my roommate never went ANYWHERE, claiming everything was too expensive. I could not imagine going halfway across the world, to spend my entire time there staring at the walls of my flat. Sure, I came back to America with some debt, but the memories from my time there were completely worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

      EXACTLY! That’s exactly how I felt about New Zealand (how I STILL feel about New Zealand!). Sure, I went into a bit of debt during my study abroad stint, but I don’t regret one cent of it. I could not fathom traveling all that way just to treat it as though I was back home in Ohio.

    You are so right. Now that I am at home visiting, I hear a lot of excuses–mostly how can I afford it and am I afraid not to have a career and things like that. A lot of people say they are jealous and I don’t know if they are just saying that so I think they agree with me or if they really wish they could do what I do. Either way it always reminds me that even in tough times of travel I’m doing exactly what I want to do. Everything else to me is just a minor detail, it will fall into place!

    No matter what it is, I just wish that people would start listening to themselves to find happiness instead of listening to everyone else!

    And I don’t even want to talk about my credit card bills when I got back from Australia!! haha.

      We really are a society of sheep, though. Even when we SAY we don’t care what others think, we honestly do. Desperately so, sometimes. Which is sad. I think we’d be a much less stressed society overall if people just did what made them happy (well, within reason, I suppose… if killing puppies makes you happy, I wouldn’t really advocate for that). But I know what you mean!

      Unfortunately, there will always be people who just don’t “get it.” What you do and what I do will always be something they just can’t fathom. But keep doin’ what you’re doin’ Annie, as long as it makes you happy!

    Great post — so true! It’s unfortunate that many people put off their dreams because of “what ifs” or fear of stepping outside their comfort zone. I love your tattoo’s message. It puts the responsibility on individuals and their freedom to choose. You don’t have to wait til retirement to travel because that’s the norm — it’s your choice, so don’t wait!

      Thank so much! I’m glad the post resonated with you. The quote of my tattoo is actually a quote from “Lord of the Rings,” and I chose it because, not only is it from my favorite movie/book, but it’s so completely applicable to everyday life. And travel often IS all about choices. If you want to travel, YOU are the only one who can make it happen!

    Bravo. At 64 I can certainly vouch for the truth in your post! I’ve always loved travel, never done enough to satisfy me, but I my best memories outside of those with kids are of travel, and the years when I didn’t travel I see as a total waste. A 70 year old I know said to me the other day that he had saved his money over the years so that he can travel now that he has the time and money, trouble is that his wife died last year, so now he has no-one with whom to share travels. He’s not a loner, so solo travel isn’t for him. I don’t doubt that he wishes he’d taken the opportunities he had when younger.

      That’s so sad about that 70-year-old man. That’s what I’d be afraid of, if I decided to put travel off until later. Now what will he do with all that time and money? 🙁

      Thanks so much for reading, Linda. And I’m glad you can vouch for the message in this post! 🙂 I hope you’re getting in as much travel as you possibly can!

    You’re so right and this couldn’t have come at a better time for me to read because now that we’re in Europe everything seems SO expensive compared to South America where we spent the last few months. While we aren’t cutting out anything that I think we’ll miss, we do have a tendency to question money more now. You’re right though, we took this trip so we could see all the things we won’t want to drag a child around to if we have one in the next year or so – it’s stupid to scrimp too much!

      Awesome, so happy to hear this post has inspired you a bit! I know that paying attention to your travel budget IS important. But, will you have the opportunity to do some of these things again? Maybe. But maybe not. Don’t go home with any trave regrets!! You saved all this money in order to travel. So put it to good use!

    I’m so jealous of you for admitting that you travel with reckless abandon!

    Deep down, I know I’m the same way. But all I do is lie to my wallet and justify those spontaneous trips or spur-of-the-moment decisions in some ridiculous sense. Needless to say, my wallet knows I’m in denial.

      Hahaha, I didn’t expect anyone to be jealous of that admission of mine! It’s true, though. I make sure I have all the important things covered when I travel (flights, places to sleep, food), and then I try not to worry about the rest. I hate feeling restricted (or worse – stressed) when I travel. Not worrying about how much money I’m spending is actually sort of liberating!

      (Granted, I never do things I can’t truly afford. But I also don’t count my pennies, or keep a running tally of what I’m spending. On a short trip, I don’t see the point, so long as my bank account still has money in it!)

    Excellent post and very good points all of them. So why do you travel? Ever had the desire to do some long term travelling?

      I travel because I love it. I love the adventure, meeting new people, seeing beautiful places in person that I’ve only read about in books. The world is so big, and traveling makes me realize how little of it I know about.

      I won’t ever rule out some long-term travel, but it’s not something that will be in my immediate future. But travel? Travel (in some form) will always be a part of my life, past, present and future.

      Thanks for reading, Steven!

        Agreed on this point-travel will always be part of my life, simply because it’s what makes me who I am.
        Thoughts on the older people on the cruise with their canes and wheelchairs: Maybe they were just like us at one point and vowed that travel would always be part of their lives. Props to them for still doing it, no matter the difficulties. Something to think about!

          Good point, Claire! And I certainly like to think that those older cruising couples spent their whole lives chasing travel dreams. I’m happy to see people of ANY age traveling — I just hope they’re actually enjoying it!

    I definitely agree to some point. I don’t see the point in traveling if you’re not going to do DO anything: if you’re simply going to hole up in a hostel and cook your own food and not spend any money on experiences! I tend to be fairly frugal, but I do splurge on once-in-a-lifetime experiences: paragliding in the Bavarian alps, canyoning in the Swiss Alps, eating at haute gastronomie restaurant in France. However, one of the things I’m most proud of is that I have no debt and I don’t carry a credit card balance. I’m all for traveling and having fun, but I cringe when I see friends taking out massive loans to study abroad and travel every weekend while they’re there: sure, it’s fun, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be paying the INTEREST on that loan for years to come. To me, it’s all about acting as if there is no tomorrow–but also planning just in case tomorrow does comes 🙂

      You have a great travel philosphy, Christine. And I like that last part — traveling as if there’s no tomorrow, but planning just in case there is… Good stuff!

      I certainly wouldn’t encourage anyone to go into massive debt in order to travel! But a lot of people already have a lot of debt from school, etc., and I would hate to think that that would stop them from traveling. You are very lucky not to have any debt! I’m jealous.

    I have friends who had 3 kids, saved for years and waited until all was right with their young-adult kids and just as they were getting ready to buy their round-the-world tickets she was diagnosed with MS. Rather than leaping on the opportunity to GO immediately they spent years watching her become more disabled and ultimately die. The trip never happened for either of them. I can’t help but think that any slight decrease in her lifespan caused by the travel would have been more than worth it.

    In the last decade or so (I am, annoyingly, in my 50s) I have had friends make comments like “I wish I could do what you’re doing…”. I’ve stopped sugar-coating my response as I’m tired of hearing it. I say, “Well, you *could* if you didn’t marry yourself to your McMansion, or if you hadn’t decided that breeding was more important than travel.”. OK, I only think the part about breeding, but I do make the point that they are doing precisely what they’ve decided to do, as am I.

    I own a house in Colorado and there’s not a week go buy when I don’t think about selling the house, renting a tiny apartment somewhere and traveling more. And perhaps working less 🙂

      That’s so sad about your friends. 🙁 That’s exactly the reason I wrote this post, however. It kills me to hear stories like that; of people dreaming their whole lives of traveling, only to have life catch up with them too soon.

      And good for you to point out to your seemingly jealous friends that they, too, could be doing what you are if they really wanted to. Sometimes, I think people are under the impression that we travelers are somehow different than them; that we live differently or have uncovered some secret that lets us travel as much as we do. But there’s no secret. We just go after our dreams, and mold our lives into what we want them to be. ANYONE can do it if they want. But it takes effort. And, unfortunately, most people are lazy.

        I have a 4th edition “Europe through the back door” that I bought in 1984 when it was the current edition of the book and I was 25 and getting ready for my first trip “on my own” to Europe. He espouses in that book the concept that it’s all about choices. At the time Steves was young, single and had a tiny apartment in Seattle filled with second-hand furniture. He was all about saving money for travel and not attempting to be just like everyone else with car/house/mortgage, etc… I have tried to take that philosophy to heart over the years, and while I’ve not traveled enough, yet, I’m still working on it.

        One thing I’ve discovered over the last couple of years – traveling with a laptop is a huge PITA. Not only are they heavy (the penultimate evil for a “light” traveler like me) but they inspire you to “be connected” wherever you are. And thus you never get away. I semi-ruined 3 weeks in Sweden (my second home) by never disconnecting from my “world” when I was visiting friends and continuing my explorations. In NZ this year I took an iPad configured with gmail only so I could make reservations and use google maps, but ignored all e-mail, facebook and everything else for the entire time I was gone. It was awesome. I was always in the moment and didn’t care about the world.

          The availability of being “connected” on the road these days can indeed be a bit tricky. It’s not any fun lugging a laptop around, but I’m one of those people who actually feels quite weird being disconnected on the road. Then again, I do run a frequently-updated travel blog on the Internet, so perhaps that has something to do with it. 😉

            I suppose that’s true. People would probably think you’d died if you stopped communicating while on a trip 🙂

        Oh yes.. people are *definitely* lazy. Everybody wants to have done what you’ve done, but nobody wants to actually do it enough to make the same sacrifices. I call these people “losers”.

    Truer words were ne’er spoken. Life is definitely too short to be spent chained to a desk.

    Loved seeing a few of my favorite NZ locales in there too. Making me miss the place.

      Thanks so much, Chris. And yes, life is WAY too short to spend in a cubicle! I know this economy is tough right now, but that still doesn’t mean anyone should be miserable in their jobs… Half the battle of being happy is deciding that you WANT to be happy. Life is too short to decide anything else.

      And as for missing, NZ — I miss it every single day.

    This is a very inspiring read! When I was standing outside of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, contemplating paying the steep entrance fee, I realized that I just might not return. I must go in, no matter the price. I learned this attitude I think from my Dad. When he travels, he always travels as though he will never return, doing and seeing as much as he can. I think you have a similar philosophy. I keep waiting for my bank account to grow to make my next big travel move, but I should just go, as you say.

      It’s so sad that money gets to dictate so much in our lives. Wouldn’t it be great not to have to worry about it??

      But yes, your dad sounds like me when I travel. Even though I’d LIKE to return to many of the places I’ve been to, I know that, realistically, it may never happen. So I try to do and see as much as possible. I don’t really know the meaning of “slow” travel because of this. Lol.

      I can understand wanting to pad your bank account a bit before a big trip — I do this, too. But, if you know where you want to go and think you have the funds right now to make it happen, I say DO IT!

    Yes, yes, yes! It’s especially important to do it when you are young. As you said, you may not be physically able to do those things when you’re older. And there are so many other reasons– that it’s hard to travel with kids (it is, I know), that it’s really hard to travel when you have a career and little time off, etc….. I wrote something similar to inspire young people to get out and travel (I traveled a lot when I was young but realize now I could have done so much more!):

      Thanks for reading, Jenna! And, yes it is important (to an extent) to do as much as you can when you’re young! Sure, there are plenty of people who travel after they’re married, once they have jobs, and even with kids. But, let’s be honest — it’s not the same! The longer you put it off, the tougher it gets to actually make it happen.

      I will be sure to check out your post, too!

    Wonderfully put. Reading this post reminded me of this quote by Mark Twain, “20 years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.” It’s so true in the context of travel. Thanks for reminding me 🙂

      Thank YOU, Shivya! And yes, that Mark Twain really knew what he was talking about! That quote is so perfect, especially in the context of what we travel lovers do.

        An American wrote that quote but always dedicated to Mark Twain for some reason?

          Well, Mark Twain was an American…

    Beautiful Words. I agree with what you say here. A lot of people have questioned my dedication to travel, using the words ‘frivolous’ and ‘selfish’. What I’ve enjoyed most about the blogging community so far is knowing there are people who feel the same way I do about traveling.

    Looking forward to your ‘Out West’ adventures!

      As baffling as it sometimes is to me, there are some people out there that just don’t like to travel, and don’t want to travel. And yes, they call us “selfish” and “childish” and accuse us of running away from something. And those people are just never going to “get it.” But there are plenty of others out there who do! And that’s who we should surround ourselves with. 🙂

    Great article! Very inspiring! So true that plans never stay the same. I’ve learned that and now I act more in the moment than I used to.

      Thank you, Bob! I’m glad you pulled some inspiration from this — that was the whole goal of my writing it! 🙂

      And there’s nothing better than just living in the moment!

    great advise…. Indeed your observation during your Alaska cruise is right! People wait for their golden days to enjoy life and travel.. unfortunately, as much as they wanted to enjoy, their physical body limits them..

    Great post!

      It’s not to say that ALL older travelers have postponed travel. Some have probably been traveling their entire lives. But it does sometimes make you wonder. I just know that I want to travel NOW, while I still can!

      Thanks for reading!

    Carpe Diem 🙂 That’s all there’s to it. For those of us who might be far away from where we were probably intended to be, life is not only about taking the chances we are given but about creating the chances ourselves without waiting for them to magically occur. The time is now!

      I couldn’t have said it any better myself, Rodney! Carpe Diem indeed.

    This just made my heart race. I LOVE this post. I feel exactly the same way, and you expressed it so incredibly eloquently!

      Thanks so much!! I’m really glad you could connect to the post. It’s been great to see so many others sharing the same sentiment!

    Totally agree. I recently convinced my 78 year old mum to commit to a 3 day Lake Eyre trip that cost alot of money. She had the best time, and who knows whether it will flood again in her lifetime?

    I so don’t get people travelling and being more concerned with not spending money than on enjoying where they are. Newsflash guys: you can’t take it with you.

    Live every day like it’s your last, you won’t have to pay the debt if you’re dead right??

      Great points, Naomi! I can’t understand the people who travel cheaply when they have money, either. Now, if you really are strapped for cash, then I suppose I understand a little better. But if you have the money, why not enjoy it and actually do the things you want to do??

      Good for you convincing your mom to go on that trip! I’m sure she appreciates it now.

    To be fair (and I hate being fair) we live in a society that prioritizes being safe and conservative over being adventurous. Travel in itself is way outside the bounds of most peoples’ comfort. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had people say to me “Oh, I could never do that” or “you must know someone there” when talking about such challenging destinations as .. New Zealand, or the slightly more difficult European countries. Or for that matter a two week road trip in the northwest of of this country. I’ve actually had someone say “I’ve never been to Oregon – I don’t know anyone there”, as if somehow you can only go places where you know people. Oregon might as well be western Uzbekistan for some people who live two states away.

    And (more being fair) I just read this interesting article. Only about 35% of Americans even have passports.

    Not that you have to have a passport to explore this rather diverse landscape in which we live (as proven by a recent road trip someone’s been writing about) but the world would seem a smaller place without the option of hopping a plane to .. wherever.

    So.. enough with being fair. I wholly subscribe to the notion that if you can afford it, TRAVEL. Even if you have to do it on the cheap, travel a *little bit*. Hop in your car and take a long weekend one state away. See the sights. Visit the special places that the people 300 miles away enjoy that are not on any tourist map, finding them by making new friends in the local coffee shop. Or take a long day and explore what the town 90 minutes away has to offer. Break through that boring old “just like every other day” habit! Of course, you do need to be careful. It’s a dangerous business going out your door………

      Thanks for this great comment, Rob!

      I agree that we live in a society where the “different” is usually deemed as being “scary.” Some people (perhaps most people) would only feel comfortable a on a big package tour, where they can still enjoy all the comforts of home. It all has to do with the desire for novelty vs. the desire for familiarity. Someone like you or I has a strong desire for novelty in life. We don’t so much need the familiarity — we can go somewhere where we don’t know anyone, and we can go alone. But for some people, that amount of novelty would be too much, and they would feel uncomfortable.

      But it does make me sad to think that only about 30% of Americans have passports. I throw that figure around all the time when I’m discussing travel, especially when I’m traveling somewhere without a huge number of other Americans (for example, this last time I was in New Zealand, I came across NO other travelers from the U.S., save for the 2 expats I met up with in Queenstown). But it all comes back to that need for familiarity. Sadly, we Americans seem to cling to that need, which is why a good number of U.S. residents have never been on a plane, or have never been outside of their home states!

      But to them, I say, live a little! Get out there and see the world while you can!

        It’s hard to believe that many of us are the descendants of people who put all they owned into a trunk or two, dragged it onto a sailing ship, and embarked upon a new life with no guarantees at all. And their descendants did the same with covered wagons to hack a life out of the west.

        Of course, those statistics don’t apply to me. My grandparents emigrated to Canada from Scotland and Wales, and *my* parents never lived further than 250 miles from where they were born. I, on the other hand, have lived more of my life outside the country where I was born than inside it. And there are lots of places that still call my name. 🙂

        Oh yes… I’ve just been checking out next summer’s travel and round-trip tickets to Copenhagen/Stockholm/Oslo are less than $800 return. That’s pretty cheap for a flight that will take you to the lands of the midnight sun. Or in the case of Copenhagen, a day’s train ride to anywhere in Europe!

          Nice! I’m planning to make it to Europe next summer (though right now I’m planning to focus on Scotland and England), so I’ll have to keep that in mind!

            Amanda, check out (if you don’t already use them)…

            An $800 flight to Copenhagen/Oslo/Stockholm and then a cheap flight to Glasgow/London is hundreds of dollars cheaper than flying to the UK directly. In fact, osloLondon is about $15 each way on ryanair.

            I don’t know *why* the flights to Scandinavia are so cheap, but I’m going to bite. They are cheap enough that it’s cheaper to fly to Scandinavia and visit friends/explore and then do a round trip StockholmKEF for 10 days in Iceland than it is to do Iceland as a stopover.

            Yep, after years of wanting to do it I’m going to visit Iceland next summer 🙂

      Regarding passports; I wish the U.S. government would either substantially subsidize the cost of issuing a passport, or just issue them freely! I just spent big bucks on passport (renewals) for my wife and 3 kids.

      That cost alone is quite burdensome, even before paying for the actual trip itself, not that it keeps me from traveling, but it surely keeps many people from venturing internationally.

      That is one thing which I would actually LIKE my tax money to be used.

        I totally agree, Mike! The cost of a passport is just one more reason people often don’t bother with international travel.

    I have 5 kids and pretty expensive to travel with all five of them in tow. But as they were growing, we’d bring them anyway. My 3 elder ones have gone to places that they would remember always. It’s now time for the little ones to explore the world, too. So I am taking my youngest to Australia this March and he doesn’t have a clue that he is going on a trip.

      That is fantastic, Connie! Good for you. A lot of people are intimidated by the thought (and cost) of traveling with kids. But that’s great that you’re doing it and taking them to some amazing places! I’m sure they’ll really appreciate those memories when they’re older.

    A friends father-in-law was diagnosed with a brain tumor just before Thanksgiving and died today.

    Life is short and unpredictable. If travel is your thing, *DO IT*. There’s always a way.

      I’m really sorry to hear that, Rob. How sad, especially around the holidays. 🙁 But you’re right — life IS short and unpredictable. Which is why we should all follow our passions (whatever they are), take every opportunity that comes our way, and live life to the fullest every single day.

    I really love your blog… It inspires me to travel more..

      Thanks Rhye! That’s so good to hear! Happy travels. 🙂

    Thank you so much for your blog – you really speak my mind 🙂
    I have the same attitude and follow my travel dreams, even though I’m not rich and have a full time job. And a house, and two cats and three ducks 😀 What I don’t have is a travel partner but I decided long ago that this would not stop me.
    So far I’ve been to:
    Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Singapur, Thailand, Maldives, Egypt, Japan, London, Ireland, Montreal, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Barcelona, Milan, Mallorca and other places in Europe. This year I am going to Florence, Gothenborg, Iceland, Rome, New Zealand, Australia and Shanghai.
    Most of my trips I made alone – for the big one this year I will be driving from Christchurch to Auckland in a camper van. Alone.
    So, thank you again, I hope your site inspires a lot more people to just do it 🙂
    (I am planning on getting a tattoo on my wrist as well, reading ‘no regrets’)

      So awesome that you are chasing your travel dreams!! You’ve been to some great places, and you’re going to some of my favorites this year (New Zealand and Iceland)! Have a BLAST.

    I love this post! you took the words right out of my mouth.People wait to long to do the things they want,I am in the medical profession and so often see people that have waited to travel until they retire and then they or there partner get sick or worse… it now while we can …thanks for a great read!

    I see you are taking a cruise to Canada this month it is one that goes to New Brunswick,Nova Scotia etc???

      I’m glad you agree and can relate, Marianne!

      And yes, the cruise I’m going on in about a week goes to Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia (on Carnival).

    You make a good point, why wait to travel in your golden years when you are less physically capable of doing it. None of us know how long we have, so we should get as much joy out of today and stop putting off our lives for those grand plans in the distant future.

      Exactly. Putting anything important off for “later” is never a good idea.

    I try to inspire people to travel every day! It is definitely where I’m most at peace and happiest in life. Great post, it will definitely inspire many others to travel as well!

      I’m with you – it’s great inspiring people to follow their travel dreams!

    I love your travel blog! everything from tips, photos, inspirations, sense of humor …
    Congratulations! Great job!

      Aww thank you so much, Nini! Glad you like my site, and I hope you’ll come back often!

    I like your attitude to life and adventure Amanda. We only pass this way once and we sure as heck aren’t going to get a second shot at it (never believed in reincarnation myself). When I was younger, I travelled all over the world, including forty-two states in the U.S. Had a great time with memories I’ll cheerish for the rest of my life. All the best from a Kiwi.

      Thanks, Matt! I’m all about taking opportunities as they come along. Like you said, we very rarely get second chances, and that definitely applies to traveling, too.

    Ooops, I spelt cherish incorrectly. I’ve got this bad habit of not checking my messages before I post them. Anyway, you must have a lot of guts to do the Nevis bungy jump. I think I’d freeze with fear.

      Haha, I was terrified for DAYS before my Nevis jump! But once I got out there, I was running on pure adrenaline, and I’m really glad I did it in the end!

    Beautifully written Amanda! I can definitely agree with what you are saying. You have several wonderful one liners in here. Especially things like, what if later never comes? It might not. What about sitting on your death bed realizing that you didn’t do what you wanted? Both are quite scary to me. Thanks for your thoughts, I enjoyed reading your post!

      Thanks, Andy. I’m glad you can relate to and appreciate this post!

    That is brilliant…I love your philosophy…more people need to live life to the fullest…the world would be a happier place!

      Thanks, Anita. And I totally agree! Living each day to the fullest definitely makes for a happier person.

    I love your ethos. I try and do the same. I never forget when we were in NZ driving around the south island in our little campervan. We stopped for a cup of tea in a car park and a helicopter landed next to us! Turns out they were flying people over Mount Cook for about $200…and they took Visa! Best spend ever (even though it made us broke later on).

      What an awesome story! I have many similar ones (including quite a few from New Zealand!). Life really is just too short to pass up awesome opportunities like that!

    Just clicked on your site while I was searching for money hiding underwear and have really enjoyed reading your article. Wholeheartedly agree with your outlook on life and travel and a lot of it reflects my own attitudes towards them.
    In a couple of months I’ll be one of those 60 year olds (where has it gone) whose knees are no longer able to tackle some of the things I’d like to do. My wife and I will visit Peru in a couple of years but doing the trail is probably unrealistic for me and not possible for her, so going the guided route is the way it will have to be. One of these things I should perhaps have done several years ago but it wasn’t really on my horizon at the time. So, something that younger travelers could think about is to do some of the more physically demanding trips when you are young and able instead of waiting till life catches up with you.
    Leaving for England next Saturday for my daughter’s wedding and then we fly over to Italy for eighteen days. Last time I was there was 37 years ago and of all the countries I visited (which is lots) it is the one that I promised myself I would someday return to. This time will be a little different as the first couple of times I had a backpack and was hitch hiking round Europe. can afford more than bread, cheese and wine this time around but I doubt it will taste any better than it did in those heady days. Between hitching and spending several years in the British merchant navy I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel and still love to take vacations as often as possible. Looking forward to RV’ing in North America and doing a trip to Africa in a couple of years as well. lots of adventure to be found out on that open road Amanda and it makes me smile when I see young folks like yourself who reach out and grasp the opportunities when they come along. I’ll never be financially rich but wouldn’t trade a single one of my travel memories for the dull lives and larger bank accounts of so many folks I know who have never traveled.
    Looking forward to reading a lot more of your articles. Keep up the good work.

      Thank you so much for the fantastic comment. It sounds like you have had some amazing adventures – and have some more amazing ones planned! Good on you!

    I agree – life is too short. Travel when you are healthy enough to enjoy it – you never know what will happen tomorrow.

    Life is too amazing to be ignored. it can never be too short for those who enjoy every moment and consider every opportunity as a gift. Some people work too hard that they ignore life is not all about earning a fortune.For me, soon enough when my kids are a bit grownup, my husband I will take them to different places. Those places may only be in the Philippines; nonetheless, what is important is that we can get to enjoy every second of being together as a family while my husband and I are still strong and young. Indeed, life is a gift. I love your article 🙂

      I totally agree that life is about much more than just making a fortune! It sounds like your family definitely has the right attitude!

    This really resonates with me. My mother had Stage IV metastatic breast cancer and still managed to travel but because of some of the side effects she had extremely reduced lung capacity. She wanted to see Machu Picchu but could never have made it because of the altitude. We went on a road trip through New Mexico and she could tell the difference but didn’t let that stop her from traveling. The last big trip we did was Hawaii and she loved it. She told me later, that her brother had tried to convince her not to go and gave her this line: “Are you sure this is what you should be doing with your life?” Like is was a bad thing that she wanted to spend a week in Hawaii. My Uncle is one of those people who believes that you should travel when you retire. But he’s been lucky, he’s in his 60s and manages very well. However, his wife has had some serious accidents happen recently they’ve had to cancel the same New England trip twice in two years because of it.

    Mom was 52 when she died and was in the planning stages of a trip to Ireland for the two of us. She had to plan carefully because she had to have oxygen tanks with her all the time. I’m planning on going to Ireland for 2 months next summer for an internship and plan to hop over to London for a week after I’m done. I’m in grad school right now and I know when I go home for Christmas my Uncle is going try to convince me not to go. I want to do it now because I don’t know what might prevent me from going later in life. Even if that’s just ten years from now not just retirement age. I could get hit by a bus, diagnosed with cancer, etc. I have this crazy plan that if I ever get cancer, regardless of age, that I’ll take at least a 2 month trip *somewhere* with some friends because I’ve seen what happens to bodies after chemo, both from my mother and her support group friends, and I don’t want to miss an opportunity because I no longer had the strength, function or lung capacity to do so.

      I’m sure your mom would be really proud of your decision, and would definitely want you to go! Don’t ever let your Uncle talk you out of following your travels dreams. As you know all too well, you never know what could happen tomorrow, next week, next month. Take advantage of every opportunity NOW!

    I adore this article!!!! This is exactly the reason my husband and I are moving into a tiny house on wheels. No may excruciatingly high rent to pay, no cable or electric bill due to no electric appliances. We want to have the money to travel come the start of the year and we will!!! We want to travel til we are ready for kids and then continue to travel WITH THE KIDS!
    We want to experience much of the world and then be able to broaden their minds by teaching them about many cultures and places. That has to start with us. And for our situation that starts with taking into consideration what is more important, luxuries or dreams. : ) : )

      You have an awesome attitude, Aubry! And YES, it all starts with YOU, and you deciding what you want to prioritize in your life. 🙂

    Been reading your blog for a while but only just come across this article. When I was with my ex I got so sick of his family telling me that there was no need for me to travel while young, I could do it when I got older. As far as they were concerned, settling down and buying a house was the only possible goal in life. I definitely didn’t fit into the box! Luckily my family just want me to do what makes me happy 🙂

    Since we split up I’ve started visiting some of the places I’ve always wanted to see most – the US, Sweden and I’ve just got back from a month in Japan. Who needs a boring relationship when you can see Mount Fuji instead?

      Great outlook, Sarah! And good on you for making those travel dreams a reality!

    Yes Life is shot, at least travel every year one tour.
    I like your blog very much.

    Crazy that this article has been around for so long, and I have not found it.. I guess it is because it is something that eventually figured out. Now that I have started a fledgling travel blog, this is something that we have been trying to convey through our FB posts, and the ad campaign we are currently working on really focuses on this, but have not written a full on article about it. It seems that every one has a reason not to travel, or follow whatever passion it is that they may feel, and take it for granted that the opportunity will be out there for them some day. We will keep on trying to find intriguing way to share the message. In the meantime, posting this article on our FB page. Thanks! Roxanna

      I’m all about taking advantage of all the opportunities you can right now. I don’t want to die with any regrets, travel or otherwise!

    Well said! I couldn’t agree more. I’ve heard far too many stories of people with dreams who never made it. There was always the excuse of “one day”, but we may not have “one day”. For all we know, our last day could be today, which is why it’s so important to do these things now. I agree completely with the experience portion as well. Obviously, we want to travel responsibly and not spend money frivolously, but when we’re out there, I think it is worth it to splurge on a few experiences if we can and keep the memories that go along with it.

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