One misconception is that we need a lot of money to go travelling. The first time I went travelling on a low budget I made the hoice three months before I went. I wanted to move over to another state for six months and travel around. I had no job to go to and no plan. It was the best investment I made in myself and the returns were high. Travelling without much money was not only an amazing experience but transformed my outlook on life even after the trip was over. It has led me to pursuing a new path something that would allow me to feel truly rich within. After a year and a half of being home my quality of life is still soaring.
1. Because, adventure!
Everyone’s idea of adventure is different. Travelling is mine. Each time I go away I unleash myself into the unknown. Adventure feeds the soul, propels us forward and amazingly can stir up the most creative ideas. You don’t need much money to see beautiful places and do things you haven’t done before. Knowing I had limited resources motivated me to step out of my comfort zone. I caught the bus, went on really long walks and explored places by foot; things I normally wouldn’t do at home.
2. Moments to connect with ourselves
Reconnecting with ourselves requires no expense just our time and any place. There is something truly amazing about being away from everything we know, in some random place, quieting our minds. Some mornings I woke up at 4am, walked down to the beach and watched the sunrise come up with a McDonalds coffee ($3.50). It might seem cheap but staring out into the vast ocean with no one around and thinking of all the things I am grateful are moments I still think about today. They are the times when I felt the magnificence of this universe and was filled with the presence of absolute joy. Money can buy some happiness but no amount of money can buy the feeling of pure peace.
3. Thinking outside the box
I needed to find things to do for myself by myself that were either free or low cost. Most of the time I read, wandered the streets and sat at the beach listening to music and thinking about everything. It was probably the first time in my life that I wasn’t consuming pointless information or buying things I didn’t need. I think sometimes we do things repeatedly without thinking about whether it’s even good for us or not. Having less to spend allows us to brainstorm other ways to enjoy our time and sometimes it’s good to just be. Like walking around the streets with music in your ears and no exact destination in mind. Which leads to the next point.
4. Learning to be a light traveller of life
This trip showed me how a lot of my belongings are wasted and compulsive. Removing the clutter our lives is one way of clearing our head space. It can be symbolic of letting go but also learning to appreciate what we have rather than always reaching for more. When we are less focused on always having the latest stuff and being stimulated by external things we have more energy for what’s everlasting and meaningful like experiences and hobbies. Travelling for a long period of time without much showed me that I am happier with less and can be content with what I already have.
5. Can improve eating habits
I ate out rarely, dining out was more of a treat. I became more excited about finding local produce and making my own meals. This is where my Instagram food prep photos began and inspired a few people I know to start eating healthy. When budgeting to ensure you will have enough to eat each week you really start to pay attention to what you buy and avoid unnecessary extras. I also learnt a lot about nutrition during this time and felt super energised from all the fresh food I was making. Preparing your own food is a healthier option and is lighter on the wallet.
6. You have time to read and write
Reading and writing isn’t everyone’s choice of down time but for those who enjoy it travelling is the ultimate time to read and write. There are things to see and do however the best part of travelling is how much we learn. Whether it’s the culture, a new person we have met or something we suddenly had an epiphany about, using our creativity whilst travelling can bring out some great content. I also journalised almost everyday and learnt a lot about myself that I didn’t even realise before. I was able to develop my skill of writing and even wrote some articles for websites whilst being away. And guess what? It’s free. Unless you need wifi, that might cost. However there are cafes that have free wifi and writing in different places can really stir the inspiration – don’t be shy and get the password!
7. Courage to change direction in life
I quit my job to go travelling which to some people who made snarky remarks was ‘a stupid idea’. But imagine whilst travelling deciding to pursue a whole new path in life one that ends up aligning with your heart. If I stayed in my career because it was the safe thing to do I wouldn’t have discovered what I really wanted. I think when we let go of what we are used to it gives us a chance to breathe and taste freedom. We realise it’s not the end of the world if we quit and start something new. I have done this twice now and both times its expanded my life more than I could have planned. When travelling on low costs it also proves that you can still experience the fullness of life without a lot of money. I think part of the reason it took me a long time to go travelling and change direction was because I was used to the dollar figure and taking a step back financially seemed like a step back in life. But it was the biggest step forward.
8. No plans are the best plans
I am by nature a planner and perfectionist. Lists and diaries have always been my guide. But as I have grown I have come to know the art of ‘going with the flow’. On my travels starting each day with a hopeful spirit and saying to myself ‘everything that is meant to be will be today’ and then laughing at all the awesome things that occurred was enough to get me thinking. If I don’t plan my life to the minute and it still works out better than I could have planned, then why do I try to control my life so much? Sometimes when we plan our lives without room for going with the flow it can rob us of opportunities that are present which might be more beneficial to our lives. Travelling is the perfect way to practise the art of going with the flow and letting go. Part of releasing that controlling side was venturing off without a plan or much saved up.
9. It’s a health booster
I had been very unwell for years prior and never had time to really relax. This motivated my choice to travel so that I could take time out for myself. The beginning of travelling was tough as my condition worsened in the first month away. However due to having faith that I would recover and making the choice to relax I began to feel health for the first time in a really long time. Relaxation and time to de-stress is good for everyone. It can do so much for the soul, mind and body. In December 2013 was the last time I had any symptoms. This is a testimony of what faith, relaxation and taking time out to do something you love can do for you. Even if you don’t have much money. I feel like I have gotten a second chance at life and you can imagine how incredibly valuable that is. Do it for your health.
10. The taste of freedom
When you leap into your first trip with enough to get you by, you might realise how possible it is to go places without much money. You may even go home and change many aspects of your life that will lead to more growth and freedom. It’s such a liberating feeling when we realise we are the only ones building up walls in our minds preventing us from doing things we want to do. And if travelling if one of them but the reason has been money, think again. You don’t need to stay in expensive places and do everything touristy. Make your own experiences, do things a little different, spend on quality things like food and walk as much as you can. The experience of travelling is always enriching and what we learn can last a lifetime.
New York low budget is on my list to do next. Can’t wait to see what I’ll write about after that!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Featured photo credit: Harvey Enrile via unsplash.com