How Can I See The World?

    June 18, 2012 | By | Reply More

    How can see the world?

    How can I see the world? I asked myself this question many times years before actually taking my first solo trip. I use to think that I had to be rich to travel. Tour companies and the media promoting luxury travel skewed my perception of what I thought travel was. They were just influencing me to spend more money than I actually needed to. It worked. I was fooled by them. I almost believed that one had to be affluent to travel. That was over a decade ago.

    I use to work at an American art museum where I coordinated field trips and tours for school groups. I didn’t get paid much, but I loved what I did. Over the years working there, I got to know a lot of the docents who volunteered. Most of them were retired so they spent their time giving tours and learning about art. Some came from privileged families and many were successful in their career, yet they were the most genuine and humblest people I’ve ever met.

    In November of 2001, many of docents were about to go on a trip to Europe to learn about art. One of the docents, her name was Mary, asked if I was also going. I told her that one day I’d love to travel, but I mentioned that it must cost a lot of money. She told me that I can travel on a budget and still experience a lot. Mary walked me to the museum’s docent lounge and showed me a collection of Lonely Planet travel guides. She shared stories about her travels and informed me about options to stay in hostels and pensiones to save money. Mary also mentioned that I could just eat at street markets, buy food at the grocery store, and go to museums on free days. She said that the plane ticket would probably cost the most, but getting around and accommodations can be affordable. I learned from her that you don’t have to be financially rich to see the world, you just need to save up for it and have the time. The more docents I talked to about planning a trip, the advice they shared was “travel while you’re young, do it while you have the energy because when you get to my age it’ll be different. You can buy a house and get married later, but you’ll never get back the time.” After my conversations with the docents, my thinking has changed to see the possibilities.

    Below are few resources I used to help plan my first few trips to South America and Europe.

    While I like guide books for a general overview, these served as a nice starting point:

    Here are a few books I read to learn ways to make travel affordable:

    When thinking about how I can see the world, below were a few things I thought about doing:

    • Study abroad
    • Work for a multinational corporation
    • Volunteer for the Peace Corps
    • Volunteer for an NGO
    • Work for an airline
    • Work on a cruise ship
    • Be a tour guide
    • Teach English overseas
    • Be a digital nomad

    As I plan for a round the world trip, I’m still considering the options I listed above to make long-term travel sustainable.

    If you’re planning to take a trip, you can still learn about the world as you save money to give you a sense of feeling like you’re traveling in pursuit of your goal. Here are a few things you can do to get you thinking about places you’d like to visit:

    • Talk to other travelers who are members of the CouchSurfing.org site at an organized gathering. Host or meet up with travelers if they visit your city and learn from them.
    • Ask family, friends, or coworkers about their travel experiences.
    • Read travel related blogs, books, and magazines. Check out the travel section in newspapers such as the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronical or your local newspaper.
    • Watch videos online or tv shows on the National Geographic, Discovery, History, or Travel Channels.
    • Watch foreign films or listen to music from the countries you’re interested in learning about.
    • Look at the map to see what places you’d like to visit.
    • Search for photos on Google image search, Flickr, or Pinterest.
    • Dine at ethnic restaurants in your city to learn about cultures through food. Find ethnic restaurants in your area by reading the dining section of your local magazines or newspapers. Also, check out review sites such as Zagat, Yelp , Urban Spoon, and Open Table.
    • If you live in a big city that has ethnic communities such as Chinatown, Greektown, Little India, Little Italy, or Little Germany, visit the neighborhoods to get a feel for the culture.

    Even if you haven’t left home yet, you can find travel inspiration to experience the world.

    Category: Travel tips

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