Travelling the world – Why can’t I just do it?

New Zealand Milford Sound


Have you ever been travelling for more than 2-3 weeks or taking a sabbatical year? Lots of my friends have been or are still travelling the world. Hiking, trekking, backpacking, travelling in the States, South America, Asia or Australia, they all have done it.

I’ve been saying for ages that one day I’m gonna go to New Zealand and walk the islands. Whenever I’m asked: “Where do you wanna go?” → New Zealand. “Where do you wanna live?” → New Zealand. “Where do you wanna retire?” → New Zealand. Alright, alright, I’m happy in England, retirement is at least 40 years away, but I still wanna go there for a few months and hike in this beautiful country – in the footsteps of Frodo and his fellowship. Yes! I am one of these Lord of the Rings-victims.

But if it’s such a big dream, there is this big question: Why don’t I just do it? Here are my excuses:

United States Utah Coyote Gulch


Money: I’m young and poor. I could save up, but then I’m old and feeble. There are options to travel on a low budget. Backpacking, hitch-hiking, camping, wild camping. Or travel on a work and travel scheme. But then there is the question if I still get the work and travel visa. I think, meanwhile I’m to old for that. And if I really want to spend only 2-3 months there, I don’t want to spend my time with working.

Education/Career: For the last 4 years I’ve been studying part-time in addition to my normal job. You develop a kind of “I want it to be over”-attitude and don’t want to postpone it any further. I rather finish my degree than interrupting it and starting again when I come back from my travel. Travelling after finishing the degree can be a great motivation and a fantastic reward. BUT: I’m still here, sitting on my desk, with my books surrounding me.


Job security: I guess that’s what I’m most afraid of. Giving up my job, travel, come back, and being unable to get into a new job. I’ll be broke from travelling, jumping right into bankruptcy, I’ll be homeless and die lonely under a bridge in the cold. Alright, it might not be as dramatic, but I still imagine it to be very difficult to get a new job.

(Funny enough, it’s not the unknown, that I’m afraid of. Not the risk of not finding my way around, finding my way back home or being robbed, raped, hijacked or killed. Seeing and experiencing something new is far to exciting that THAT could keep me from it.)

I guess these are the main excuses every coward would give not to travel the world. Am I the only coward? Have you thought about going somewhere for some time and still haven’t done it? Tell me why not. Give me some comfort. Or did you go travelling and had the same thoughts? What made you do it? What was the final argument the say: ‘what the hell, I’m gonna do it!’?

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23 Responses to Travelling the world – Why can’t I just do it?

  1. Pingback: Why you should get your ass up and travel the world | Hiking Madness – Hiking in UK and elsewhere

  2. jules345 says:

    “The world is a book and those who don’t travel only read a page”. So the more travel the better I’d say, and a great way to pack 15 years worth of travel (if you only have ~4 weeks holiday a year) to one year is to save up and take a year out and travel!

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Steffi says:

    Hi everybody, thank you for your thoughts and comments. I’m quite overwhelmed by the amount of feedback. You guys have fair points in terms of priorities, fears and motivations. I guess the most striking argument is if I would regret to not have done it when I’m old and grey. And that’s very likely. I won’t go there in the short future, but definitely will consider it and mentally prepare myself… When I go I’ll definitely will write on my blog about it. To share my experience and keep the memories alive. 🙂 Thanks again to everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Carole says:

    Stumbled upon your blog via Twitter. I’ve been living in Norway working as an au pair for the past 5 months. I’ve visited Norway on numerous occasions and wanted to see what it would be like to live here.

    It is a most beautiful country with welcoming locals.

    What soured me on was the question Would you regret not having done this later? Answer yes. And still yes even though it’s been one of the hardest things that I’ve done. I’d still do it again even if I knew how hard it was going to be.

    After all I find I grow much more as a person when I’m put through challenges and I find that I’m often stronger and more capable than I previously thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ting says:

    Hi there,
    I feel you and i had the same concerns. Procrastinated for months but here i am in nz for the next few months.

    Just want to say – If not now, then when?
    Go live the dream you want to, and it’s up to you to make it happen. I myself faced job retrenchment in the most unexpected circumstances which blew me off for a while, but i had a choice to look for a new job or veer off the preconceived safe path and explore my dream of travelling the world.

    A thought provoking comment from a friend when i lost my so-called stable job – are secured jobs really that secure? Perhaps the only security one can ever have is one’s resilience, determination and adaptibility to unexpected situations – the intangibles. And this, is what you will gain more travelling the world:)

    Follow your heart and you may be open to opportunities you never knew you would have been. Ask yourself – a few years down the road, would you regret not doing this? If yes, then just do it:)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Sara says:

    My dream is to hike the AT and be on trail by the time I’m 50 in a year. But I see my vision has been limited. There is so much more world to see. I have a limited budget and right now I’m getting gear together but I’m realizing it really doesn’t take as much as I thought. Follow your dreams and live life as much as possible with no regrets. Good luck and God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mona says:

    “One Day Baby we’ll be old oh baby we’ll be old and think of all the stories that we could have told.”
    There is no such thing as security (job, relationships etc) in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Uffas says:

    I won’t tell you things that will give you more comfort but I want to try to convince you to do it!
    First to myself, I am currently in New Zealand, coming from Germany and I am 19 years old. For me it was very easy to leave home for a year, just finished school, saved a bit of money(not enough for one year) and keen on exploring our amazing world. As everybody else who is travelling I tell you do it! I met some really inspiring people here, they quit there job, their wife left them after 2 weeks of marriage for a guy in her office so they just took off and get away from the troubles at home. So I try to show you that you CAN go start travelling:
    The good old money, always a reason that stops people from travelling. As you say, there are some ways of living cheap, which doesn’t mean without fun! New Zealand is by far not cheap, but it is possible to keep your budget down. The main costs are food, accommodation and getting around. Hostels are alright, but camping is a much better option, costs less to nothing. New Zealand has a lot of campgrounds! Sometimes you even can pitch your tent in the backyard of the hostel and pay less. You will learn some cheap meals that are easy to cook, but don’t be fooled and think you will eat toast and pasta everyday. I spend around 70$ a week for food and I am totally happy with what I get. Hitchhicking is an awesome way of getting around, it works perfect here. Then there are things like Couchsurfing, woofing and which are brilliant for saving money and enjoying a country/culture. You say you are from England and as far as I know it is more than easy for you guys to get a working holiday visa for NZ. You are right, when you only stay 2 months you should not work, but why not go for let’s say 12 months, you will have plenty of time for working and travelling!
    OKay, you are in the middle of your studys, so I guess the best would be to finish it and then just head off directly afterwards! Book your flights in advance, then you will have to go. Some people may say you would ‘loose’ a year without making progress in your career, but honestly, there is know way of getting more experience that helps you later on. Also, one year is really not a lot, is it really a problem to start your studys/job a year or two later?
    I too think this is the biggest issue, quitting the job, loose your flat and have to start all over again. I personally don’t have this problem as I just finished school and can come back to my parents house. But for you, I am sure there are people that are happy to help you out when you come back. Not with money, but letting you stay there for a while until you found your way back in. I don’t think you will be broke, you can start saving money know and you will eventuelly work here as well! Just see it as another big adventure that will teach you more than you loose!

    Think of that: Imagine yourself when you are old, tired and not able anymore to do physical stuff. You will think back and see if you did the right things, wouldn’t you be sad if you think “Oh, that would have been fun, a real adventure, if I just went of with all my belongings on my back!”

    And then there is the Lord of the Rings thing. If you are a big fan and you go further than “yes, the movies were pretty cool to see.”, you will love it here. It looks like Middle Earth, and there are soo many locations to visit that look exactly like in the movie, it will change the way you watch them. I am a really big fan myself, and trust me when I say you will have breathtaking moments here in New Zealand.

    I hope you will consider what I say and maybe go for it!
    Happy Travels,

    Liked by 1 person

  10. gabigabs111 says:

    There will always be an excuse why not to do it. The only way to make your dream trip happen is to pack your bag, hop on the plane and go.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. All you have to do is to list the things which MUST be done (as distinct from could be done) before you leave home and set the shortest time limit on it. Then save save save and save again (no more casual coffees out – drink free water when out with your friends; cook at home with fresh produce and no packaged foods; rent out a room in your house on Airbnb, sell off things you thought you needed but really don’t), and in one or two years time simply book the flight and get over the waiting and wondering. If your fear is ‘aghhh its all too much for me’, then know that you will survive and more than that you will be surprised at what you can do when out of your comfort zone (I certainly have). All you have to do is to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jane says:

    Hi Steffi,
    I have only visited two states in my own country and not travelled overseas. Money and family responsibility are the reasons for me. I’m in my 40s. I hope in a couple of years time to start some extended periods of travel. I don’t think it’s cowardly not to travel the world. I think we all have different priorities for different times in our lives. Your fears are not unfounded. I know some people who tried to travel the world and for them it turned out to be not the right thing. For others long trips are. Many people try things like WWOOF – Willing Workers on Organic Farms where you work for your room and board. Or take TESOL courses and teach English for a while in a country to see how they like the culture. Others save money by wild camping.
    New Zealand is a beautiful country full of diversity and has lots of great hikes. I think you would really enjoy a holiday there. Check it out when you can! Best wishes for whatever you do! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dayna says:

    Hi Steffi,
    I certainly appreciate how you feel like being completely free of books and obligations like work. If I may offer a suggestion, how about planning to do as much hiking (tramping) as possible in the first 3 or 4 weeks of arriving. Make friends. Have fun. Let your hair down. Then, if you’re still living the place, see if you can find a job BEFORE you run out of money, so you can continue doing what you want (albeit at a more moderate pace) but also you’ll be able to share the knowledge you’ve gathered with others who’ve just arrived.
    On my first trip to NZ I really appreciated the enthusiasm from locals and working tourists. When we said we were touring both islands we’d get tips for all sorts of great places. One guy working in the Bay of Islands told us about this great new burger place in QT called Ferg Berger. Of course, back then the queue was negligible or we may not have tried them – these days it stretched into the footpath at peak times!
    My point is that people make NZ a great place to visit as much as its natural values. Carpe Diem!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Steffi says:

    Hi Heather, I know about your last 2 points. I don’t think you’re too old. Everyone you’ll meet will admire you to undertake this adventure at your age. You’ll meet a lot of young people, if you’re up for it and a little social you’ll be absolutely fine. People who are travelling are generally open and friendly. And it might happen that you meet the same people again and again. Either on a hiking trail or at particular destinations.
    The savings might be a good point, but maybe there are some tips on budget travelling from other backpackers/NZ travellers. However, budget mostly means less comfortable. A hostel is cheaper than a hotel, camping is cheaper than a hostel. I guess one has to have the mindset for that kind of travel. I’ve got friends who are approaching 40+ and they are not too keen on hostels. But then again i met a 75-year old in a hostel in lake district (UK). And he was travelling on his own. Travelling alone shouldn’t be an issue i guess (and i should listen to my own words :).)


  15. Heather says:

    I have spent the last 20 years dreaming of packing a rucksack and heading to New Zealand. I have spent the last 15 years bringing up my 3 children on my own, as well as working and getting a bachelor degree and a Masters degree.. I will be 46 years old this year.
    My youngest child will be off to university in 18 months time and it is my intention to then go travelling.
    Problems/excuses –
    I have recently had to leave my job.
    I have no savings.
    I think I’m too old.
    I’m scared.
    I don’t want to go alone.
    Etc, etc, the list goes on!


  16. Steffi says:

    Oh wow. I would know where to go on a 4-6 weeks travel. Where are you going this year?


  17. My husband can work from anywhere so we do travel for about 4-6 weeks each summer and usually take them on an international trip each year, but will likely have to wait until they are out of school for us to travel for longer than a month.


  18. Steffi says:

    I understand. Kids are a big factor. If they are very young some just take them on the journey. But that’s impossible if they are at school. Would you consider travelling after they left school? (Taken that you’re insured.)


  19. I hear you. Add kids into the picture who are in school and it only gets more difficult. If you figure it our, please let me know. In the US another big issue is health insurance. Hard to afford without an employer paying at least half.


  20. Steffi says:

    @simon: I’m not sure if much will have changed in 12 months time. Although I’ll do some travelling, but only the holiday/2-weeks-vacation version.


  21. simon owens. says:

    Do you want to be asking the same questions in 12 months time?!!!


  22. Steffi says:

    Hi lifeassirli, what are you afraid of? Where would you wanna go?


  23. lifeassirli says:

    I really really want to travel the world, but I think i’m afraid


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