When I decided to quit my corporate job and move back home I promised myself that I would make time to travel. Ideally, I did not want to travel alone, so I started asking friends and family who would want to travel with me. The replies were not what I hoped for…What I found was that my friends and family had the same desire and enthusiasm to travel that I had! The problem was that they didn’t have the means to travel—the time or the money. Between school, work, or living paycheck to paycheck, traveling right now just wasn’t in the cards for them.
I, however, am in a very unique situation currently and have the three golden factors: the time, money, and desire to travel. As I do not have to request any time off from work, I can pick up and leave whenever flights are cheap! This was not really possible while working for Target… Especially right now during the holiday season. Also with my situation, time isn’t a factor (at least not for a few months! I can’t be unemployed forever). As for money, I have always been a good saver (my family always jokes that it is the Meyer in me). I had my first job at 14! I totally owe this to my parents.
My mom handed me a job application and wished me good luck on the interview. I was very reluctant to apply. I mean, none of my friends had to get jobs at 14! They were enjoying their summers! Little did I know, I would come to love it. I was a locker room attendant at a city pool and I was earning $7.25 an hour. It was an amazing experience at such a young age and I am still friends with those coworkers almost 10 years later! Working taught me the value of a dollar, and I loved to put my money in the bank and watch it grow.
As I was working with the City, I was set up with a retirement account! When the summer ended and the job was done, my retirement account was cashed out (I believe it was about $136 #bigballin’). Instead of letting me keep the cash, my dad opened up a Roth IRA for me. I was 15. This taught me to save for the future: for a time when I wouldn’t have a job. Turns out that time is now! So after years and years of saving my money, I am ready to start dippin’ in and enjoying all of that hard work! Don’t worry, I am not touching my IRA, just tapping into my savings accounts!
So like I said, I have the three golden factors! The only thing I am missing is a travel buddy that has them too. Am I going to let this stop me from taking advantage of my current situation? No way! Based on my research, I have a couple options:
1. Travel to friends in other places
2. Find a travel buddy through a website
3. Join a travel tour as a solo traveler
4. Travel alone
Not bad options! We live in this amazing world where we have so many resources; information and connections are just a click away. But lets break these options down one at a time:
#1 is my favorite option. I have friends that I could easily call up and ask to visit friends in 6 states and 4 countries. I would be a great chance to see some old friends and new places! Things to consider: friend’s work/school schedule and the availability of good public transportation.
#2 freaked me out a little. The website I am most looking into is TravBuddy. Here you upload information about yourself and where you want to travel to and the website links you to people with the same interests and your preferred specifications (gender, age, etc). Although this might be a great option, I am not ready for it yet. This is a little too out of my comfort zone.
#3 has some definite pros! I love that you are in a group, so there are multiple people to get to know and connect with (unlike option #2 where if you don’t like the person you are paired with then you are on your own!). Tour groups also take out a lot of the planning and make the trips more stress-free. Your hotels and transportation are planned out and you typically have a local who speaks the language and can show you around some authentic places. I have been on multiple travel tour groups before—in Costa Rica, Spain, and France—and loved each experience. TopDeck came highly recommend. The down side? This type of travel is typically more expensive and does not always offer much room to separate from the group’s itinerary.
#4 the scariest, and most empowering, option. I love my alone time, but a week straight of it might be a little much…I would really have to push myself to meet people while traveling and be content sitting alone at a restaurant. I am also horrible at directions, so the possibility of getting lost is very real. This would be the best way to challenge myself though and, I hope, would really make me a stronger, more independent woman. If I were to do this, I would probably start by traveling in the US, where I know the language, my phone works in case of an emergency, and I have the currency. Then work my way up to other countries!
So after much consideration, I decided to start with option #1! I have a couple vacations planned. As I write this I am visiting some friends in Northern California. Next is a girls’ weekend in Southern CA, then a week in New York City! Come December, I might drive up to San Francisco, CA! I am flying out to Texas a few days after that to spend a week with a friend! Later in December, a road trip to Portland, Oregon. Such an exciting time and I am happy to be starting with my first option! Maybe I will work through all of the options? I will have blog posts on all of my travels, so be sure to check back!
Which of my 4 options would you take? Any recommendations for the places I will be visiting? Let me know!