With these 12 tips you’ll never have to worry about wishing you had more time to travel ever again. Just don’t blame us if you never come back.
At Road Junky we believe travel is more than a two week holiday or a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The open road is a lifestyle in and of itself that can wash all your worries away. The problem is how to escape your responsibilities and stay traveling once you do manage to get away. The real world always calls you back.
If you’re cheeky enough to add these twelve tips to your arsenal, you might just pull off the ultimate escape and keep yourself out ‘there’ in traveler’s paradise as long as your heart desires.
1. Leave the laptop, PDA, or cell phone at home
So, you’re worried about losing touch with people or needing to make a call. Don’t be! All around the world you will find cheap international calling booths and internet cafes that give you all the accessibility you’ll ever need during those lonely moments for just a few dollars.
If you bring your laptop you’ll spend most of your time on the road indoors and it’ll only be a matter of time before you get pulled back by a seemingly urgent e-mail thread.
2. Sell your possessions before leaving
Got a mortgage or rent to pay, or a loan on your car? Get out of the situation. If you’re making those payments while abroad you’re likely to need to come back sooner or later to take care of them. If you own a house, and don’t want to sell it, why not turn it over to an association that can lease it out for you indefinitely?
Likewise there’s no reason to have a bunch of stuff for which you’re paying monthly storage fees. Sell it all, and stash the few momentos and heirlooms you keep with someone you trust like your parents or kids. You can buy everything else all over again when you finally decide to come home on your terms.
3. Make plenty of pals to visit before hitting the road
Dealing with an endless procession of strangers can be enough to make anyone to long for home after awhile. By making contacts with long lost relatives, friends who’ve moved abroad, and by working the online social networks, you can find plenty of places at which to engage in the art of sofa surfing. While traveling it’ll save you money and satisfy your need to build lasting relationships at the same time.
4. Quit the job
Quit. And don’t bother negotiating a return beforehand. We’ve tried leave-of-absence arrangements – they don’t work. You end up stressing out over having to inform your boss that you’re not coming back like you said you would, via a sketchy Skype connection made from the middle of the Amazon.
There will always be another job for you when you do feel ready to return. Don’t worry about damaging your career. When you come back you want to work for someone with enough heart to respect your decision to travel. The better jobs today are for people with initiative, independent problem solving skills, and multicultural experience. Traveling gives you all that.
5. Pack Light
It’s tempting to bring a bag full of
Bring as little as you can. You can buy what you need abroad. If you bring expensive gear and lose it you might be so heartbroken that you decide to head home.
6. Bring your partner
Travel is a chance to savor all of the spices the world has to offer. Exotic dance, food and love-making are all tantalizingly available on street corner summer evenings in the world’s most interesting cities.
If you’ve left a loved one at home, though, you’re going to soon be wishing that person there with you to share in the experience. Bring your partner along and you could grow together in ways not possible at home.
And then if it doesn’t work out just part ways and you’re free to enjoy what the road has to offer without feeling guilty about it.
7. Go native
If you’re never really part of something, always just a tourist passing through, it’s quite easy to see the sites and fly home with nothing more memorable than a disk drive full of pictures.
When you are blessed enough to find a place that reveals its magic, and you say to yourself – I can see myself living here! – then do it! Take an apartment, learn the language, find work. You’ll write us at Road Junky to say thanks one day.
8. Give yourself a mission
It’s easy after a couple of months to get tired of the blur of new cultures and sights. With a passion and a purpose, even if it’s a silly one, you’ll get much more out of staying longer and learning more on the road.
For instance, why not be the first person to be photographed standing on your head naked in all of the world’s major deserts? Or why not leave a trail of buried items along the way, noting GPS coordinates, so that one day your child can trace your path and find what you’ve left for them (an old pair of socks)?
Do something outrageous and adoring crowds of armchair travelers will pay to hear you lecture about it when you get back. Who says travel stories have to be boring?
9. Give yourself to God
We’re not religious at Road Junky, but we’d imagine being so provides a great excuse for never returning. Go to find God, Allah, enlightenment or the Flying Spaghetti Monster (it’s your personal choice) out there in the world while relying on the kindness of the Universe to provide sustenance. No need for home, when everywhere is home.
10. Learn a new skill or trade on the road
The people with the longest, fullest and most satisfying lives are always tackling new endeavors. With an open heart take the free time you’ll have on the road to learn how to do something new – like playing guitar, speaking a second or third language, or giving a mean Thai massage. With the passion of discovery and new friends your skill brings you as you travel you won’t be tempted to head back any time soon. Hell, those Thai massages can cover your rent on a beach in Mexico too.
11. Become a travel writer/photographer/cinematographer
The internet has lowered the bar for participation in media and your voice is waiting to be heard. Take your excellent verbal or visual skills and turn them into a way to make traveling an income source. Then you never really ‘go home.’ You merely take a rest with your friends and family before heading off to ‘work’ again – in a corner-of-the-world of your choosing.
12. Go Incognito
If they can’t find you, they can’t extradite you, they can’t tax you and they can’t deport you.