Meeting your long-term travel goals

by Kim on November 26, 2014

It was almost six years ago that I decided that I needed to see the world. At the time, I had a 9-5 job, a house, two cars and an entire life that would need to be sold or packed up and left behind. I felt overwhelmed with the entire process. Questions constantly raced through my mind. Do I need vaccines? Where will we go and what VISA’s do we need to get there? What about purchasing travel medical insurance? How much money do we need?

It took my husband and me three years to pare down our possessions, save money, and work our way through that long to-do list. And I learned a few things about setting a big goal and reaching it. When your dream feels far off and hard to reach it’s easy to get frustrated and want to give up. But following these tips will help you get there. You might even enjoy the process along the way.

Take it step-by-step

One of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. is “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” I repeated this mantra to myself over and over again in the years leading up to my big departure. Many times, I couldn’t see how it would all work out. Could we sell the house? Could we save the money? I didn’t have the answer to those things. All I could do was take it step by step and know that, when the time came, I’d tackle each problem as it arose.

You don’t have to see the end result

Much like the advice to take it step-by-step, I reminded myself that I didn’t have to see the end result. I didn’t know if our travels around the world would bring us back home in a year, or launch us into new careers, or show us a new way of living that we’d want to embrace for life. All I knew was that I had to do it. I didn’t have to know what the outcome would be. In fact, over time I learned that the journey was more important than the end result.

Post your goals where you can see them 

If your goal will take a long time to reach it’s helpful to post it in a place where you’ll see it frequently. Tape a sign to your desk or your refrigerator that reminds you what you’re working for.

Remember your goals in the small and big decisions

My goal was to save money to travel the world. I remembered this goal anytime I made a decision, big or small. If I was at the grocery store and I wanted to buy something I didn’t need, I’d remember that by not purchasing that thing I’d be able to save a bit more money towards my goal. In this way I was able to make decisions every day that impacted my goal.