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Making a decision to travel long term can be very difficult. Perhaps it is easy for you to commit to that Mediterranean Cruise or to a trip to Disney World, but the type of travel I am talking about is different. This type of travel opens up the door to a realm of experiences not possible on a short vacation. You get to see things like the puzzled stare on your child’s face when they see a group of old Chinese women spitting on the floor in Beijing or the horror in their expression as they realize a dog is being cooked on the street in Saigon. Put quite simply, they will experience many new cultures.
Now let me clarify one thing before moving on. I do not believe there is anything wrong with short vacations, especially if that is all you have time for. In fact, I plan to write more in the future about how to seek out these experiences on shorter trips. With that said, traveling long term is different. The travel itself becomes your life and the experiences a much deeper part of you. While traveling long term you will find yourself planning most of the activities and living much closer to the locals and their culture than you normally would on an escapist vacation.
So that brings me back to the topic. If you have been thinking about quitting your job, selling your things and taking the family around the world then by all means do it. The simple fact remains that life is a ticking time clock. This statement is meant in the most positive of lights. Life is a blessing and one that is limited. When my wife and I made the choice to travel for seventeen months, this thought process came into play. (Subsequently it comes in to play ever time we decide to travel today as well.) I knew that if we made this decision and committed to what was in our hearts, then everything would work out! In the end, life was still waiting for us when we got back, but we were forever changed by where we went, who met and what we saw.
When talking about travel, I often hear people say that they will visit their dream destination when they are older and have more time. Another common reason I hear from friends and neighbors is the need to be more financially stable. Now this is understandable in some circumstances, but how many people that you know died of cancer or a sudden heart attack at a young age? My point is that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. As a responsible adult I believe planning is essential and have quite the road map laid out. Even more important than that though is striking a balance between planning for what might happen tomorrow and making today happen. While there is so much that I still want to see and do, today I am satisfied with my decisions and where they have brought me in life.
This tips section of the website is not meant to be a one page bullet point list of what to do before or during a trip. While I certainly will provide some of that, I want to also focus on the impact this kind of travel has on your life and the lives of your spouse and children. So I want you to make that decision. If you decide not to travel, then let there be a legitimate reason for this path. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do it at some unknown time. By then you will be old, less able to travel and your children probably won’t be there to experience it with you.
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