Northern Lights (Justin Troupe)

Pack Your Bags! 3 Steps to Living a Travel-filled Year

Do you have a travel dream that has been shoved into a closet called “someday”? Well, today is the day to bring it back to life.

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Here are the three steps to ensure this year is packed with adventure!

#1: Think Big!

Pick a trip so compelling to you personally that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. It doesn’t need to be more expensive; it just has to be something you really want.

To determine what’s really compelling for you, ask yourself the following question: What are three things I would do (or places I would visit) if I just found out I was going to die in six months?

If you use your imagination and really consider this question (remember: think BIG!), you will immediately find out what your dream adventures look like.

Muir Woods (Justin Troupe)
Muir Woods, California © Justin Troupe

I was asked to write a two-page paper on this question during my last year of high school. As a result, I skipped college and moved to the Caribbean right after my 18th birthday with only $280 in my pocket.

Sure, a few people asked if I was crazy, but it worked out incredibly well, and that one decision changed my entire life. Simply because of writing that paper, I lived in the Caribbean for six years and had countless adventures. Since then, I’ve traveled to 45 countries and my long-term goal is to see all of them.

Northern Lights (Justin Troupe)
Northern Lights © Justin Troupe

Once you pick something your truly excited about, consider step two:

#2: See Your Adventure. Every. Single. Day.

The next step is to get something visual of your dream in front of you. Nothing makes achieving your travel goals easier than having a crystal clear picture of exactly what you’re moving towards. So be sure to have a physical representation in front of you daily.

Something as straightforward as a vision board (basically a collage of images about your upcoming trip) can massively change the level of commitment and enthusiasm you have for a dream. By seeing your dream daily, you get an emotional charge from it. Your brain looks at it and links the feeling you get from seeing the image with your final goal. No bullshit!

People have used vision boards to create almost anything you can imagine in life, from relationships, to vast fortunes to gold medals. All you need is a photo of the place or experience you want to enjoy. The size of the image is not even that important as long as you get excited about the visual.

The first time I moved to the Caribbean, I covered my walls with beach photos of the exact island I was moving to. The week I left, I tried to convince one of my friends Nick (who wasn’t ready yet) to move with me. I took a poster of a perfect Caribbean beach and hung it on his wall. Six months later, he was smiling on a beach with a drink in his hand.

Every day that winter, he would come after dealing with snow and an unhappy relationship and look at that poster. It helped him crush the laundry list of obstacles he was facing. Ten years later, he is still enjoying life on the ocean in the Virgin Islands.

Maccu Picchu (Justin Troupe)
Maccu Picchu © Justin Troupe

#3: Create the Path

Start to study what you will need to make this dream real. If you study travel hacking and are willing to be creative, you can see the world for a fraction of the price you might imagine. Many people travel long term for as little $20-$50 a day, and in many parts of the world this is very doable.

Once you have a destination in mind, you can start working towards free airfare, and decide if you want to pay to stay in a hotel, condo or youth hostel. You can even get creative with free accommodations such as house-sitting; couch surfing, and house swaps.

It starts with the basics:

1) How will I get there?

2) Where will I stay?

3) What kind of adventures do I want to have when I am there?

Want a Free Book on How to Make Your Travel Dreams Come True?

After taking a year off and completing my first trip around the world, I finished writing my first full-length book, The Art of World Travel (AOWT). Since I want to make sure it has greater impact, I’m giving out FREE copies for a limited time HERE. The (AOWT) is about living your dreams, long term travel, flying to and staying places for free and how to be grateful and present through the experience.

I would love to hear what your travel goals are for 2014 in the comments below!

  1. a fun inspiring read, wondering if you have more articles/info on that Caribbean move way back inna’ day?

  2. This post made me smile. I myself am a photographer and very visual person, and in fact I just hung up my world map across from my bed so each time I think about all of the places I want to go, I just look up and imagine potential routing!

    What made you decide to go to the Caribbean and where did you end up living at first? I’m intrigued by this!

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