I recently read an inspiring “offline journal” titled The Analog Sea Review, so offline that you really cannot find it anywhere and have to write to them to receive a copy; how exclusive. This touched on a life of pervasive mediocrity fuelled by all-consuming new technologies and how this blurs the lines between direct experience and representation. Wordy I know, but this fuelled what I have chosen to write about today.
We live in a world of secondary representation and over-stimulation which zap our essential faculties such as feeling, intuition and imagination. Think about yourself as a child and how you lived every moment through these faculties, so what has happened? Without being too heavy, we appear to live our lives through secondary experience these days; through someone else’s lens, with modern day technology so advanced that many may feel as though the experience need not be experienced at all. I am of course referring to travel in particular and for that reason why I will ALWAYS find time to discover the world first hand.
Time is one of the most precious things each of us has and you’ve probably heard all of the clichés in the book when it comes to using it effectively; time cannot be earned and you most definitely can’t get it back once it is spent. Sadly it seems like most people would describe themselves as being “time poor”; there’s no time to pursue your dreams as you’ve got a mortgage to pay and a car that needs cleaning… Life is ever so short and one of my biggest fears is getting to the end of it and regretting the things I didn’t do.
Admittedly when I moved back to the UK and into a salary paid full-time job, I surrendered to the fact that my ‘travelling’ days were over; what a strange narrow-minded analogy to adopt Polly. This was social pressure dictating that in order to ‘grow up’ you had to sacrifice the best (and probably most liberating) elements of your life in order to do so. Travel is for the dreamers, the noncommittal hippies or the rich older folk, right?
I am writing this sat on my 17-hour flight to Indonesia. It’s my sixth trip abroad this year and I would be lying if I said I didn’t know how I have afforded it and how I have found the time. I started high in the mountains of the French Alps, walked along the Berlin wall, ate my body weight in Parisian macrons, cruised Lake Como on a Riva, caught a glimpse of wealthy Capri and now finish off my year visiting a very familiar Indonesian island for the fourth time. Travel is one of the most important things in my life; travel stimulates my brain, it delivers a sense of adventure, it takes me out of my comfort zone and most importantly gives me time to reflect on the bigger picture of my life. So for that reason alone, of course I will be strategic about making sure I’m fulfilled.
I don’t think there needs to be anymore explanation on “why” I will always find time to travel, but it might be worth knowing “how” I make it all possible. So here is my advice on making sure your dream trips aren’t just always sitting in the pipeline…
Spend your annual leave wisely
Utilise bank holidays, long weekends and any other opportunity not to use any official days of annual leave. Two of my trips earlier in the year required taking no time off work, although the flights/accommodation are a little inflated over public holidays. For the remainder of my longer trips I could then pick to travel off season. I am one of those people who would never take a day of annual leave to ‘chill at home’. Think about your holiday time across the whole year not just when you want to use it i.e. always set aside some time during the horrible winter months!
Set aside the funds
Ever since I was a little girl I have squirrelled away the pennies which has allowed me to be spontaneous with my travel plans. Money, however much it is, is freedom and choice. Prioritise your disposable income if you want to travel. You can always adapt the budget to your need.
Pre-book your flights
This January, being my first full winter back in the UK, I went on a bit of a flight booking frenzy finding some fantastic deals throughout the year for the destinations I had in mind for 2019. I book all of my flights through skyscanner.com – there is no easier price comparison site. Another AMAZING tool is Jack’s Flight Club – the app sends you notifications of really low air fares etc. and how to book them. These could be any given date or destination so also very inspiring for those spontaneous travellers.