Step 1: Dream it out in detail
When it comes to traveling, we all have some elaborate dreams on our bucket list. Whether it’s updating your closet shopping in Paris, drinking sangria on a beach in Spain, seeing the ancient ruins in Thailand, practicing your yoga in Bali or riding a camel in the Moroccan desert… endless travel dreams exist in every one of us. Some are so far away, they feel like a distant and impossible to reach star in the sky. Others are so close you can already taste the Italian gelato on the tip of your tongue. Whatever they may be, the first step towards achieving them is to define them. Print out photos, write them down in a place you will see them often, and imagine them in your mind. Imagine your travel dreams in such a way that it is a sure fact that you will ego. Let it be known in your mind that you will accomplish them, this is the first step: to dream it out in detail and believe in yourself.
Step 2: Use what you know
We all have something that makes us and our role in this world unique. Most of us don’t even reach our full potential, but we can if we can come closer to knowing what strengths we have. If you are an artist, chef, have your own blog, are great with marketing, numbers, people, or origami… whatever it is, find a way to use your personal skills and strengths to your advantage for travel. Branch out to meet people in your network, find events, conferences and opportunities related to your field of skill and work in your dream destination, and find a way to make it align with what you are already good at. For example, if you are in school to be in the fashion industry, use your advantage as a student to meet professionals in the industry and apply for an internship in Florence, or Milan. If you are stuck at a dead end job in insurance sales, and are in desperate need of a vacation, look up conferences in a different state or country and see if you can have your company pay for it for training purposes. The point simply is this: you have more resources in your hand already than you may realize. Do some creative thinking to find out what they are. If nothing else, take advantage of the vacation time you have off of work or a break in school and use that time to plan your next time to travel.
Step 3: Be practical and make a plan
After you have finished dreaming, it’s time for you to be practical in what it will take to actually make it happen. There are always two parts to accomplishing a goal: the dream stage and the work stage. Sit down with your excel spreadsheet or notebook, financial advisor, and make a plan. Pick dates and a destination and count the cost. Don’t get discouraged if your costs add up and your schedule looks too crowded: be determined to make it work. Write it down with tangible goals and a timeline for yourself to follow. Make it simple and easy for yourself! For example: “on Monday, request off work for 2 weeks next May, or “set aside 10% of my paycheck each month for travel expenses”, “cut my coffee habit in half for the next 6 weeks”, etc. Set goals that are practical and achievable (notice I didn’t say “all” coffee), yet will help you get closer to your goals. Be willing to make sacrifices today for what you want to achieve tomorrow.
Step 4: Don’t quit until you reach your goal
Life changes, family emergencies occur, sometimes dreams and jobs even change, but if you are determined to travel and cross certain things off of your bucket list, you have got to stay focused and not quit on yourself or your goals. Even when the end result seems impossible, or if you have missed your initial deadline for yourself, keep moving forward and don’t give up until you are where you want to be. It will all be worth it in the end!