Do You Have Enough Confidence to Travel? You Should.

Do You Have Enough Confidence to Travel? You Should.

By |2016-07-01T10:23:33-04:00December 11th, 2014|Travel Tips & Advice|55 Comments

Confidence to Travel
You’re ready to travel. You even bought a backpack. You told your friends that you’re taking off within the next few months. You have a general itinerary and you can’t wait to get on that airplane.

But you also know that your travels probably won’t happen in the end. You’re fully aware that despite the excitement of travel, despite your desire to get out there and see the world, you just don’t have the necessary confidence to actually do it.

I remember it well. I remember telling everyone I knew that I was leaving to go traveling for 3 months back in 1999. I also remember, right after telling someone about my plans, thinking to myself, “Oh crap, how am I going to explain it when I don’t actually go?

I thought this because I also lacked the necessary confidence to travel, to turn all of the plans in my head into a reality. Just the thought of traveling on my own, the thought of showing up in a foreign land without my friends, my family, a familiar language or familiar food and so many unknown obstacles that I might have to face, and not know how to deal with, was enough to convince me that there was no way possible I was really going to do this travel thing.

And then I flew to Bangkok on Christmas Day of that year.

How did that happen? Where did that boost of confidence come from that enabled me to get on that plane and fly off into the unknown?

I have no idea. All I do know is that I found that confidence somehow, and I’m mighty glad I did. And I also know that there’s no reason at all why you can’t overcome that lack of confidence too.

Now that I’ve traveled for a while, and communicated with so many people who have experienced that very same lack of confidence in their own ability to travel, I’ve realized that there actually are ways to get that extra boost, ways to ensure that your excitement about travel is not left to waste.

After all, what a shame it would be to really want to see this world first-hand, and to then tell others about your goal, but to end up not following through.

We can’t let that happen. No way.

So don’t give up. Try a few of these ideas instead:

1. Someone loves your idea. Find them. – Surely there must be a friend or family member, or maybe several, that supports your decision to travel. Get them on the phone, write them an email and communicate with them often. Discuss your ideas with them and observe the confidence they have in you, while understanding that they know you best…and if they think you can take on such an adventure, you should think so too!

2. Heck, we support you. – If you can’t find friends or family who support your travel ideas, or even if you do, you can always turn to the community of travelers online to gain that extra confidence. Considering that everyone finds their own way to achieve their travel goals, surely you can connect with people who were in a similar situation as yourself, whatever that may be. Write to travelers, ask for advice and listen to what they have to say, all the time remembering that if so many of these other people have managed to make travel happen, there’s no reason why you can’t make it happen as well.

3. Why do you want to travel? Figure it out. – Think about exactly why you want to go off and travel and then narrow it down to one or more specific goals. This will allow you to take real steps so that you can see your travels develop right before you, instead of having no clue how to proceed. And taking real steps leads to increased confidence. Just saying “I want to travel” doesn’t really lead you in a particular direction so how can you gain confidence when you don’t know where you’re headed? On the other hand, if you know you want to learn about religion in Asia, for example, figure out which religion, then figure out which country and region you should visit to find that religion and once you’ve done that, you can communicate with others who’ve been to that destination and ask them questions, find out where they stayed, whether they have any contacts, etc.…now you’re rolling, taking actual steps, creating a comfortable structure to your trip and gathering information to help guide you.

4. Just buy that ticket. – You could just get online right this very instant and book a flight ticket to somewhere you want to go. And if you’re looking for the cheapest fare possible, that ticket will also be non-refundable, which in this case is simply…excellent! Buy that ticket and you have no choice but to find that extra confidence to travel because in a certain amount of days, you either get on that plane and start traveling or lose a lot of money.

5. Be a traveler, right now, at home. – Find the closest town or city to where you live that has hostels and book a couple of nights at the most popular one. Go there on your own, maybe for a weekend. This easy experience will put you right into a travel environment and it will also show you exactly why you’ll never be alone, unless you choose to, when you travel overseas. Talk to as many of the other travelers there as you can, hang out with them and listen to their own travel tales. I’m certain that after one weekend of this, you’ll be completely ready and more than confident to proceed with your international travel plans.

6. Start with a group. – Maybe you just don’t want to travel independently, and that’s perfectly fine. Your answer might be joining a small group tour so that you can still experience a destination without needing all the confidence you would need to travel by yourself. That’s exactly why I started offering my own unique small group tours, so that everyone has a chance to visit certain destinations that they otherwise might not visit on their own. And I can’t tell you how many people have joined one of these tours and then gone on to travel to other destinations by themselves, with more confidence than they ever imagined possible.

Really, try a few of those ideas above. Then let’s see if you still have that ‘No way am I really going to do this’ thought in your head.

Also, just remember…I’m out here. I’m writing this post from Bucharest, Romania, and it looks like I’ll be in a few more countries over the next couple of months as well.

And of course, I’m not the only one! Just have a look at these travelers. They are all out here in the world right now or have been out here or get out here into the world as often as they can. They all faced the same obstacle as us at one point as well – that lack of confidence – and they all overcame it…and I’m positive that they are all so utterly and absurdly thrilled that they did.

Don’t you want to be that thrilled?

What’s your experience with gaining the confidence needed to travel? Was it easy? Did you struggle?

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  1. […] all, it’s something you’ll never forget. If you need the last push to book your first flight, read this post and never look […]

  2. Ivanna April 22, 2015 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    Go Earl!!!!

  3. Kathryn Broussard March 6, 2015 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl!

    I love your blog and I think this is a great post!

    I hope it’s not too much to ask you to read this and let me know what you think?I’m going through a little bit of a different kind struggle with confidence of travel and not sure what to do or who to talk to.

    I’ve leaving for Colombia this coming Tueday March 10th and it’s starting to really hit me. I hear all these scary stories and warnings and I try to put them into perspective but now it’s eating at me a little. I’m wondering to myself if picking Colombia, out all the places for my first trip ever alone, was a good idea. I’m going through this roller coaster or excitement and nerves, which I get that’s normal, but there’s this part of me that feels like I’m not ready or maybe I’m just scared.

    I feel like I have pretty good common sense, I’ve done a ton of research, and I’ve read more travel blogs than I can keep track of. My bags are packed and everything is coming together but there’s these feelings of doubt, anxiety, and terror inside of me. Not enough to back out… but I’m wondering if you have any advice that might calm me down a little? Nerves are fine, but I don’t want them to smother my excitement.

    Thank you for your time! Any kind of thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.


  4. Espyro March 2, 2015 at 7:00 am - Reply

    Hi Earl!

    I’ve had this idea to travel for a while and only made small progress until the day I read this empowering article of yours! Since then I was making preparations, finally having decided to fly to Bangkok to start a world journey on April 1st, lasting a full year according to plan (which may change spontaneously :D). Thank you so much for your efforts in helping us make the decision for travel!
    Said straight out, I’m 18 years old. When I arrive in Bangkok on April 1st, I’ll probably end up being pretty nervous, but I’m certain that I’ll succeed! The problem I still struggle with the most is that some of my family members don’t think this way at all. They still have the perception of me as a naive, timid boy, just having graduated from high school, and not ready for something that large and dangerous. My big brother thinks that I’m acting irresponsible for putting myself in big danger. I should definitely go with an organisation that guarantees my security, according to him. My mother thinks that I’m wasting my time out there and should just start doing something “sane” (i.e. university, education, etc.). She’s worried that my CV will look chaotic and that I’ll have big problems in life once I come back home. And my little sister is just worried. I’m certain and convinced that I’m doing the right thing. But when it comes to convincing my family members, I just don’t know where to start. I find it very hard, and it bugs me! When talking to other people, no problem, but when it’s my family, I’m just magically unable to explain or defend myself, so I end up not wanting to talk to them at all. Their attitude is a mix of rational thinking and clinging worriedness. Do you have a hint on what I can do to convince them? I’ve bought and read your e-book and it was very helpful. But I still haven’t found out how I could ease their worries and make them believe in me. This is important to me because I feel that it wears me down when they don’t believe I can do this.

    Sorry for that long comment. I hope you find the time to answer or just read! 🙂

    Have a nice day,

    Greetz Espyro

  5. Alice stevens February 21, 2015 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Great article ! I am always pushing my friends to travel but they always come up with ridiculous reasons they can’t …
    For me, I always wanted to travel, once I turned 18 I started planning, I didn’t care for support from anyone, I knew it would make me happy to at least try and see what happens and that’s what I did.
    Now I’m always planning my next trip and can’t imagine ever stopping 😉

  6. Tamila January 25, 2015 at 7:06 am - Reply

    Hello Earl,
    I just found your website. You are so inspirational. Every word that I have read was exactly what I needed to see to turn my way of thinking around. I was in the military for 20 years and traveled all over the world, but it was work mixed with fun. My career ended back in 2003 when I developed a phobia of flying and have been unable to fly back to my assignment in Germany. I knew I couldn’t stay because at some point I would have to fly again, and that just wasn’t possible.

    Since I retired, I have been traveling throughout the US (driving) which has been so amazing. Unfortunately, I have found myself suffering from a phobia of mountains in 2014 (how’s that for slowing down your travels). This made a beautiful trip from Georgia to California very nerve wrecking, but still fun. Since this phobia reared its ugly head in April of last year, I have been unable to travel and I’ve been looking for answers and trying to find the courage to get out there again.

    Please continue to write your words of wisdom and experiences. Maybe they will do what no doctor has been able to…..get me back out there. Thanks.

  7. Rana Singh January 13, 2015 at 5:51 am - Reply

    Great article for one with very low confidence to travel. While i have been in a solo trip to Texas, Australia and China.
    Thanx for sharing you are doing a great job out there.

  8. Selma January 11, 2015 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    While many lack confidence when it comes to travel, actually doing the deed builds it … funny how that works!

  9. Asara January 11, 2015 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Why not being confident, why not just starting travelling. In the end you only have to buy that first ticket. It’s like a one-way, but it’s a one-way to another world. You discover it, you eventually like it and start wishing discovering new worlds. This is how it worked in my case, many years ago.

    • Wandering Earl January 11, 2015 at 3:03 pm - Reply

      Hey Asara – That’s true but to buy that ticket requires some confidence that things will be okay!

  10. […] Wandering Earl: Do You Have Enough Confidence To Travel […]

  11. Narissa January 9, 2015 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Having support really does helps with traveling. My parents have always been supportive and my dad is great at helping me plan my trips! I have been very nervous with the idea of traveling alone. I have never traveled alone overseas, but recently it has been hard to find a good travel buddy. I think using your idea of being a traveler at home will help my confidence if I start doing more things alone like going away for the weekend as mentioned. Thanks for the great post!

  12. Luke Mitchell December 27, 2014 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Something a fellow traveler told me once before was that it’s either bravery or stupidity and they weren’t sure which (in regard to just taking off somewhere exotic without much notice) But really, if you don’t just go when you can, and you don’t MAKE it a priority, and take the time away to do it regardless the cost… will it ever happen? I think it’s deeper than having enough confidence to travel, it’s weighing a calculated risk and knowing that the results are well worth any amount of risk.

  13. Clelia December 26, 2014 at 4:39 am - Reply

    I remember quite well the moment I decided to leave everything behind and just travel. I was damn scared but I knew that I was going to do it. Probably your young age was the reason why you were so insecure, which is normal, but we are all glad that you decided to take that first plane 🙂

    I also remember that to gain the confidence to leave everything at age 35 (not an easy choice, especially for a woman), I kept reading your blog, thinking “If he managed to succeed I can do it too”. Now it’s so weird to have the same feedback from my readers.

    My happiest days are always the ones when I receive an email from someone who decided to travel or chase their real dreams, just because I somehow inspired them. The feeling of completeness is worth more than any money in the world. I feel that in my small world, I’m contributing to something good.

    That’s why, even if I don’t have much time anymore, I still read your blog. Because as a traveler I’ve had my ups and downs, and you are still able to inspire me, and many other people, even after 14 years of travels.

    It doesn’t matter what happens to you, you always find the right way to put it, and to give a meaning to your experiences. There is nothing more inspiring and powerful than that to give the final push to the mass of insecure wannabe travelers!

  14. Julia December 18, 2014 at 11:48 am - Reply

    I’m always most nervous about traveling when I haven’t traveled in a while. Especially to countries where I don’t speak the language! But the excitement of going keeps me from listening to that fear…

  15. Pet from London December 17, 2014 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Earl, awesome idea about staying in a local guesthouse. I live in central London and I often pass a guesthouse in Camden town. Whenever I see backpackers emerging I theorise with the wife about cost and experience. We reminisce about travel but we never thought to try before we buy.

  16. Chris December 16, 2014 at 11:25 am - Reply

    For anybody that is unsure, the start by being a traveler at home is gold.

    Never stayed in a hostel abroad? Who says you can’t test the waters in your local capital city… quick and easy way to discover quickly if communal dorms are for you.

    If you truly want to travel, you’ll find an excuse and the confidence 😉

  17. Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog December 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Great post as always – thanks Earl. Very inspirational.

    Though I think for me, what’s stopping me travelling full-time at the moment (apart from the fact I’m still in epic pre-trip saving mode) isn’t confidence about the actual travelling. It’s lack of confidence about what I’ll do if / when I come home at the end of it. I have a career which I love (most of the time!) and I’m worried that taking a year out would destroy that. Ideally I’d find a way to combine the two, but still working on that, and I don’t want to put off travelling for ever!

    Sorry, slightly long rambly comment. It’s just something I’ve been wrestling with a bit lately.

    • Wandering Earl December 19, 2014 at 5:33 am - Reply

      Hey Katie – Fair enough, that’s also something that keep people from going after their travel goals. And there’s no real answer for it…the only thing I can repeat is the fact that you will very rarely – almost never – find anyone who regrets making the decision to travel. And this includes people of all backgrounds, those who left great careers, those who left crappy jobs, those who left right after university, those who quit university to travel, those who left later in life and on and on!

  18. As always a brilliant post Earl.
    What’s my experience with gaining the confidence needed to travel? Was it easy? Well, yes! My mum was a globetrotter and regularly travelled to the US, Switzerland, and Africa! She was a-stay-at-home mother who eventually evolved into a canny businesswoman who owned her own private nursery school!

    It was no surprise then when I followed her footsteps and moved to the Czech Republic for 2 years, lived in London for a couple more years and then flew off to Asia, before emigrating to Germany as an expat! I didn’t struggle but many of my friends did. They just couldn’t understand how I could resign from that corporate job that I had always wanted and in which I was earning heaps of money. The job was great. I loved it, but I had also “done it,” and it was time to move on. So I did!

  19. Karyn @ Not Done Travelling December 15, 2014 at 2:51 am - Reply

    I’ve had to send this comment twice so apologies if you get more than one from me. 🙂

    Anyway Earl – YES, excellent points! I think if I had to add one it would be simply….just do it. Just bite the bullet and do it. Because the sooner you just do it, the sooner it’ll be done and you’ll wonder what the hell you were ever afraid of.

    Plus, I think it’s absolutely vital that you connect with people who support you, especially if you have a very unsupportive family. This is true in anything in life, imho. If you’re surrounded by negative, critical energy you’ll never break out and live your dreams. As you said, there is somebody out there who believes in you, so get out there and find them. With the support of your own personal cheer squad (even if it’s just one person) you’ll find the confidence to do it.

  20. Grace @ Green Global Travel December 14, 2014 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Great post, Earl! I really like the idea of finding people who support your travels, because there will always be someone who thinks it’s a good idea!

  21. Mackenzie December 13, 2014 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    I’m finding this lack of confidence starting now that I am about to graduate from college, and wanting to travel afterwards. My dad is extremely supportive, but everyone else? Eh, not so much! Thanks for inspiring me to not give up on my dreams of traveling the world. 🙂

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:38 am - Reply

      Hey Mackenzie – Well, it only takes one person who supports your idea…so spend a lot of time with your dad and soak in that positive reinforcement for your plans!

  22. Caroline December 12, 2014 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Knowing that 98% or more of travelers come back from their trips without incident was enough to get me out the door and onto a plane for the first time…!

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:40 am - Reply

      Hey Caroline – Not sure if that’s a definite statistic but even so, I’m sure it’s not far off so it should be treated as great motivation!

  23. Katie December 12, 2014 at 8:55 am - Reply

    My personal favorite is #4: just buy the ticket. It works. I was definitely still scared, but I had committed to it just by that purchase, and there was no way I would have missed that first flight. Now, I’m a pretty confident traveler!

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:41 am - Reply

      Hey Katie – It sure does work. Committing to something leaves us no other option but to follow through (or explain to everyone why we backed out which is more frightening in my opinion!).

  24. Raquel Mars December 12, 2014 at 7:18 am - Reply

    I love this post. Your blog is actually very inspiring, I just found it the other day.

    I agree with all of these, of course. I don’t think I’ve ever travelled this way just yet, because for some reason or another I’ve always ended up with a group of people abroad, but it seems right. I used to be very afraid at first, also because I was young, but nowadays the idea of going to Japan for two months next summer (which I’m going to do) on my own to explore the country seems more thrilling and exciting than it is scary. And this could’ve never happened if I hadn’t gone through the fear and insecurity, and finding the confidence, in my previous trips. It is so possible to do it.

    I love this post, that’s what I’m trying to say. I relate to it too. Your blog as a whole is inspiring, btw 🙂 I found it the other day and love it. And wow, Romania! Definitely on my to-go list.

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:42 am - Reply

      Hey Raquel – You’ll have a great time in Japan I’m sure and glad you can relate to this post. Pushing yourself out there in any way, even with a group, will help you feel comfortable enough to start tackling things on your own, just as you’re about to do next summer.

  25. ian December 12, 2014 at 5:11 am - Reply

    Great post, Earl and well-timed for me. With just two months to go before I replace my current 9 till 5 working life with one of long-term travel you’ve reminded me to just keep the faith and not worry about what may or may not happen when I’m finally on the road. And spooklily enough I’ll be starting with a one-way ticket to Bangkok too!

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:43 am - Reply

      Hey Ian – Many a rewarding journey seem to have started from a one-way ticket to Bangkok…I look forward to hearing where yours shall lead you!

  26. First time I traveled on my own to Asia my family kept trying to talk me out of it, they thought I was an idiot for going so far away from home. Except for my grandmother, she supported me the whole time, she is just as adventurous as me.

    When I finally reached in Nepal planning to stay there for 4 months I felt incredibly lonely and afraid, the culture shock was just to much. I wanted to go back home within the first week, this place was just not what I expected.

    Somehow I managed to find my courage and finish my 4 month in Nepal, it was the best decision I have made in my life. I learned so much, experienced so much and made so many new friends that I still talk with today.

    It changed my life to travel to another far away place, It opened my eyes for the world.

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:45 am - Reply

      Hey Sigurdur – I can relate to that. Travel has its challenges but just because something is challenging, doesn’t mean that we should just give up and go home. Sometimes we need to push through those challenges in order to find the rewards…most rewards don’t come easy.

  27. Steve Petter December 12, 2014 at 4:11 am - Reply

    How to get in to travel:
    1. Born 1937, ‘evacuated’ to Bristish columbia as a war refugee.
    2. Below 10, bus travel London to Devon twice a year.
    3. RAF: Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii (RAF Staging Post)
    4. Stay-overs after professional and church conferences, e.g. New Mexico.
    So far, mostly ‘sponsored’
    1990s: Nervous about Palestine/Israel, and unwilling to lie to Israeli immigration, I joined a study tour
    2000: Now confident (and aged late 60s): Bulgarian (cheap) airline to Cairo, stop-overs in Sofia, sleeping under the stars in hot/very cold Western Desert.
    2001-2: Twelve months RTW. 19 countries: Accom: backpackers’; SERVAS; Quaker sojourners’ flats
    Also: Palesine independently (don’t believe Israeli scare stories!); India several times especially Shantivanam Ashram, Greece….
    In other words, start cautiously but always be adventurous! And above all: independent. Why spend £2000 for a four-star AC tour over 2 weeks when you can spend 2 months independent?

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:47 am - Reply

      Hey Steve – Sounds like quite an adventure your travel experiences have created. And you’re right, there’s nothing wrong with being cautious and taking it slowly at all. Then, as you get more and more comfortable with the idea of travel, you can start to branch out to places and experiences you would not have thought you could handle before. Once that happens, who knows where it will lead…

  28. Dave Brett December 12, 2014 at 2:51 am - Reply

    Its always the first part that is the most difficult, once you’ve booked the flight you feel way more confident. Shared with a few friends to help them to get started, hope to be the helpful friend to them that you talk about. It’s true you should surround yourself with encouraging friends that understand, it does help.

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:48 am - Reply

      Hey Dave – Thanks for passing this on to your friends and they’re quite lucky to have a friend who supports their travel goals. Having even one person who doesn’t tell them they’re ‘crazy’ makes more of a difference that we can imagine.

  29. Renuka December 12, 2014 at 2:08 am - Reply

    A great booster for anyone wanting to travel but lacks the courage to do so. For me, it was always easy. I never had to muster courage to travel, because it was something that I always wanted to do. I think one should take the first step and the rest just happens…

  30. Carola December 12, 2014 at 2:02 am - Reply

    Thank you for a great post! I especially like the idea to “test travel” by checking into a hostel nearby. Would probably work with camping as well.
    When I set out for my first multi-months backpacking trip I was not so much lacking confidence to travel but confidence to travel solo as a woman through Muslim countries in Africa. And it did not help that a lot of friends and family thought I was crazy for backpacking Africa in the first place. I researched several options of how I could still make it happen. Finally I found overlanding tour company African Trails and booked a seat on a big truck going within 5 months from Gibraltar to Cape Town. If I hated it I could still go home from South Africa. If not, the South and East of the continent would be easy to travel on my own afterwards.
    What can I say? It was the best possible experience and a huge boost to my travel confidence. The truck driver, Kevin, and his wife, Hayley, had a big part in that. We bush camped, got food for almost no money, in impossible places, and organized our visas.
    I gained so much confidence that I ended up going overland on public transport (busses, boats, trains…) from Cape Town all the way back to Berlin.
    Now I am working on establishing a full time traveling lifestyle. I quit Berlin, walked to France and am WorkAwaying through the country. All it took was the confidence to make the first step.

    Happy travels,

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:59 am - Reply

      Hey Carola – Another great tale! And that sounds like an incredible trip you had. If that doesn’t boost your confidence, I’m not sure what would…nothing stopping you from future adventures either at this point it seems!

  31. Kendal December 12, 2014 at 1:57 am - Reply

    Just do it! 😀

    I think the key is to not think about the reasons you shouldn’t do it, or what could go wrong…

    When I was 18 I decided at the suggestion of someone I ONLY knew online (this was in 2000), to get myself from PA to CA. Within about 2 months I’d gotten my license, earned about $500, bought a car, and got out there. My parents were freaking out. My friends later told me how brave and inspiring I was. I never thought I would fail or that anything bad would happen. I just did it.

    For my first solo flight to Europe, when I was 25… I was nervous about it, but I left for Paris for a whole month, and it was awesome. Just do it. Don’t talk yourself out of it. As long as you’ve thought through the safety issues of the destination you’ve chosen, and you’ve got the money to make it happen… what else is there? 🙂

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:57 am - Reply

      Hey Kendal – Great to hear more positive examples of someone who indeed ‘just did it’! That’s the thing…it’s hard to explain to others that going after such a goal in life – to travel – is well worth it no matter how you look at it. It’s true, people just need to do it and the more examples they see, the easier it becomes to follow that advice.

  32. Marie December 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    I thought I would never travel. I had never left my country or my province. The further I went was to visit my grandparents, 2 hours way by car. I spent most of my high school years planning trips. I had multiple files all named after countries I was planning to visit and some I wasn’t. On them there was a list of cities, all the attractions in each cities, data on the weather classified by season and a map. Then, after my first year of college, when I realised I didn’t actually LIKE what I was studying, I decided to do something I’d Always wanted: learn italian. No particular reason why, I like the food and I’m into art but mostly it was just for the hell of it. So I worked for six months, saved up and didn’t actually think I would do this trip until I made the first deposit to the school I was going to go to. And now I’m back. I studied for 6 months, learned excellent italian, visited 18 cities in Italy and made a ton of international friends, including one of my best friends. I’m back in college, studying spanish and german this time. I feel like this year has gone by so fast and keep remembering that I spent half of it in an other country. half a year. wow. I’ve got the bug now. I’ll travel again and this time I’m confident I will. I’m planning trips again because it’s the only way I’ll survive almost 2 years of college. 6 months and I had an almost perfect grasp of italian. Now I have to take 2 years for german and spanish? I need to distract myself. I have new lists and itineraries. This trip to italy is one of the best experiences of my life.

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:55 am - Reply

      Hey Marie – Thank you for sharing that and I can just feel the excitement in your words! That’s generally what happens…we finally take that step towards travel and it ends up changing our lives in ways we could never have imagined, and usually for the better. So glad to hear it worked out this way for you…good luck with those languages!

  33. Jason B December 11, 2014 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    Excellent post. For years I planned to drive across the US. I didn’t accomplish that feat until last year. I now realize that I was a little afraid to do it earlier. I would come up with excuses. I stopped that last year. Next stop is London!

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:53 am - Reply

      Hey Jason – That’s very cool to hear…congratulations on finally making that trip a reality! And I’m sure that now that you did it, you’ll go full speed ahead towards your next adventure, which seems to be London. Enjoy!

  34. Stef December 11, 2014 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    Great insight, I didn’t expect that you lacked the confidence to start travelling ;). I actually traveled long-term multiple times before. I did an internship in Argentina for 3 months, studied two semesters in England, worked and travelled through Australia and New Zealand for almost 8 months. But still I had some self confidence problems before this current trip. The reason was that for this trip (I’m in month 4 now) I quit my job, I registered myself in the tax office as self-employed and I had no idea when and if I am going back. Usually and deep in my heart I always knew that it was the right decision as I wasn’t satisfied with my life and wanted something else for myself. But sure there were some days in which my self-confidence was smaller than during others. During those days I so much appreciated the support of my friends and family who always told me I’m doing the right thing and that’s what you dreamed of for almost two years now. And if you fail, you can always come back to us. We’re always there for you. That’s what always kept me back on track. And here I am now in month 4, I still haven’t figured out everything but I am happier than ever. It definitely was the right decision and I already learned so much more in those 4 months than in the last two years at home. Support of others is definitely something you need now and then. And if it’s not possible to get from friends and family, then turn to this awesome travel community online. You’ll find your support and motivation here. Definitely. That’s what motivated me so much as well. All these people who made it work for themselves.

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:52 am - Reply

      Hey Stef – You said it perfectly 🙂 And I’m happy to hear that it’s going so well for you at month 4…here’s to many more great months (years?) ahead!

  35. Julie Appleby December 11, 2014 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Earl, I always enjoy your posts. I’m thinking that you could really say you live abroad, more than just travel abroad. You’ve made a life-style committment to live (and travel) abroad. I travel abroad too, but come back to my home and work here in the US. I mean this as a compliment and not to start any sort of argument. As much I as enjoy traveling abroad, and I think I do a lot of it, staying there to make a life of it as you’ve done, is a completely different decision. What do you think?

    • Wandering Earl December 14, 2014 at 8:51 am - Reply

      Hey Julie – That’s definitely a good thought, and don’t worry, I wouldn’t think you’d be starting an argument 🙂 There are many ways to look at it and now that my entire lifestyle has become travel and doesn’t depend on me returning to the US for anything specific, I guess it could be called ‘living abroad’ instead. I only go back to the US to visit family and friends and do consider my main residence to be abroad, wherever I happen to be. Thanks for sharing that…it does make sense!

  36. soy kim December 11, 2014 at 10:32 am - Reply

    For me, buying a non-refundable ticket.
    When you have somebody who is close to yoy and negative about your travel, I am just say I can’t refund my ticket. Then game is over. 🙂

  37. Dan Perry December 11, 2014 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Earl, luckily we have the internet, so people can find amazing networks online where people support their travel dreams. Thanks for being among the leaders in that department.

    As for me, I started with zero confidence to do much of anything for myself. A series of events led me to want to see the world, but the one that really pushed me over the edge was buying a non-refundable one-way plane ticket. I wasn’t about to waste my money. And once I was in a far-flung destination with no job or home to go back to, travel became much easier.

    So yeah, #4 for me.

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