I am a firm believer that travelling to different countries is one of the most important things you can do to experience life at its fullest and grow as a human being. I was bitten by the travel bug at age 18 when I volunteered in The Gambia for two months, and when I came home everyone saw how much that trip had changed me.
It’s still hard to describe how that trip truly shaped the woman I am today, but I do remember being somewhat of an ungrateful brat before the trip and coming home with a completely different perspective on life. I was more open to the world around me, I was more thankful for growing up in Canada, and I was definitely humbler.
That being said, when I hear people talk about how they wish they could travel but they can’t afford it, it takes everything in me not to slap some sense into them! You are NEVER too broke to travel!
My trip to The Gambia cost $3,000 total, and besides holding a fundraiser to help me pay for part of the trip, I still had to shell out $2,000 of my own money to pay for it. How did I have so much money in the bank you ask? Especially when I had just finished my first year of university and was paying my own tuition at the same time? I worked and saved by a** off! It’s not rocket science people. If you really want something, you work hard then you save your f***ing money!
Moreover, travelling can cost you as little or as much as you want it to. If you fancy going to Paris, then be prepared to pay substantially more than if you were to fly to Chiang Mai. Personally, I think visiting Europe when you’re young is a dumb idea. It’s incredibly expensive, and just putting it out there, you’d probably much rather explore Italy in your 50’s than India. Backpacking around Asia and South America is the perfect plan for any broke millennial.
When you’re young your standards are way more flexible, so it won’t be as big of a deal to have to lug around a huge backpack all day, sleep on dirt floors, or pee into a hole in the ground. I even noticed the change in my standards when I travelled to Thailand last January. When I was in Africa, I got used to taking bucket showers, peeing in the bush, and eating questionable meat.
It was exciting and different, and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone back home all the crazy stuff I did. I was fully prepared to rough it again in Thailand, but when I got there, I just couldn’t do it! I realized that I was 26 not 18 anymore, and I needed an actual bed to sleep in, I needed air conditioning, and I needed to know what animal was on that skewer!
For any of you who are thinking “Yeah, but I’m in debt,” I totally understand why you would want to hold off on travelling until you are out of the red. If it was me, I would definitely wait until I paid off my debts before making any travel plans. However, if you’ve got $50,000 in student loans to pay off and you know you won’t be able to pay it all down for another 10 years, I believe life is too short to put your life on hold for that long.
I’m not saying you should get yourself into any further debt to pay for your trip, but if it means getting a second job for a bit or cutting some of your expenses so you can save up a few thousand dollars to visit Vietnam, then do it! You’ll never regret jumping on a plane in search of adventure, but you will regret making excuses and missing out on some possibly life-changing experiences.
What do you think? Have you ever travelled while in debt or when you considered yourself broke?