Woman hiking along shore in Sligo, Ireland

Take the Plunge: Travel If That Little Voice Tells You To

Sometimes committing to taking a trip can be a bit of a process. You might think you can’t afford it, or you’re concerned about taking time off work, or you’re not sure if you’ll enjoy it, or you might even be a bit afraid because the trip you’re thinking about taking is “out of your comfort zone“.

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Nine times out of ten, these are all just excuses. However, these excuses stop many people from ever traveling, or never traveling somewhere they really want to go because it’s not the standard kind of holiday that they’re used to. Let me give you a good case study, first:

Woman hiking along shore in Sligo, Ireland
Taking it all in, Ireland © Becky (atomicpuppy68)

Heading to Remote Ireland

Recently a friend of mine decided to take the plunge and move from Australia to a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland for six months with her husband. This is not just a week-long trip to the beach or anything, but quite an upheaval involving getting her boss to agree to her working online for half a year, checking visa requirements, renting a house and plenty more. It’s not an easy thing to decide to do, but I know that she heard that little voice telling her she should just do it. And I know, since she’s recently started this journey, that she’s figured out it was the right decision — especially because I got a message from her on the second day of her trip:

We are on the Wales to Dublin ferry. Cold and blowy on deck but cosy inside. Having lots of fun. Isn’t traveling a great thing to do!

Her experience has barely even started yet she’s already got that thrill of “isn’t traveling a great thing to do” going through her.

So, how do you listen to that “little voice” telling you to travel instead of letting the excuses win? Here are some tips that might help:

Do a Budget

Financial concerns are probably the number one reason why people ignore that little voice telling them to travel and decide to stay home instead. Travel can be expensive, and with key expenses like airfares needing to be paid up front, it can seem like a big outlay. It’s easy to get scared and just decide that you can’t afford it without looking into the details at all.

If this sounds like you, then take the time to put together a budget of how much your trip will cost. Even if you are traveling independently, a bit of research can easily give you the accurate costs. Lots of travel bloggers these days run posts on their site with detailed breakdowns on how much it cost them to travel through particular countries so it’s easy to get the information you need.

Once you’ve figured that out, check that the total is an amount you can afford to spend from your savings. If you really can’t, set some savings goals, sell off something (a good time to declutter your home, for example), or figure out a way to do a similar trip more cheaply.

Sound Out your Boss

A lot of people want to take long trips but decide not to simply because they have a job and think they can’t get away from it. Admittedly, there are plenty of inflexible bosses around, and I know that in the United States the number of days you can take off each year is pretty limited (compared, for example, to here in Australia).

But it might not hurt to ask! Perhaps your boss would prefer to give you a couple of months off and then have you back, refreshed and ready to work, than for you to resign and have to replace you. Second of all, look for alternatives. For example, my friend Maria works as a professor but persuaded her boss to allocate only online classes for the next six months so she can continue to work while she’s in Ireland.

If all else fails, try to figure out shorter versions of the trips you want to do so that you can fit them in to your available holiday time. That’s still better than staying at home forever! Plus that nagging little voice telling you to take off for your dream destination is unlikely to go away.

Longing for summer
Longing, Stockholm © Per Ola Wiberg

Do Some Research About Your Destination

Some people don’t commit to travel because they’re not sure they will enjoy the trip and it’s a risk to spend that time and money when the outcome’s uncertain. (I must add — this is definitely not the case for me — given time and money I would travel anywhere in the world that I was told to!) If this sounds like you, but you still have the feeling that you want to travel, then hop online and do some more research about the place you want to visit.

Find out more about the kinds of things you can do and see in the destination and take special note of things you’re sure you’d enjoy doing. If there’s some reason that this place has come up in your mind as a good one to visit, you’re sure to find some museums you’ll like, some extreme sport activity you’ll love, or simply some beautiful landscape you’ll admire and you’ll be more convinced it’s the right trip for you.

Face Some Fears

If it’s fear that’s making you say no to the little voice that wants you to travel, then face that head-on: what’s scaring you about this trip? How can you get over it? Feeling a little afraid before a trip to somewhere you’ve never been before is perfectly natural, but making this fear turn your decision into one to stay home is a real shame.

Doing some more research about your destination will usually help alleviate fears or better still, find someone who’s been there and chat with them about it.

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