Top 6 Excuses to Avoid Long Term Travel

Stop your Travel Excuses and Meet Me on the Otherside

Stop your Travel Excuses and Meet Me on the Otherside

It is always easy to find reasons not to do something that will improve the quality of your life. Change is scary, so we tend to avoid it at all costs. Traveling to distant countries that you know little about can seem impossible but it is not. It is easier and cheaper to live abroad long term and it keeps getting better every year. Please let me debunk some of the common excuses of avoiding a life abroad.

1. I will lose touch with family and friends.

I have been away from my home country now for more than 12 years. In many ways my relationships with people in Canada are stronger than before. With the Internet and specifically my blog, Skype, Facebook and Twitter, I connect with people far more than I ever did when I was in Canada.

Another benefit with being away for extended periods of time, is that when you do return it is a much more exciting event. My wife and I only return to Canada once or twice a year, so every time we go home we make a point of seeing everyone we can in a short time. Friends and family go out of their way to rearrange their schedules and plan time to meet us. Friends often mention that they see me more than they do their other family and friends in the city.

The same is true when we go to Hungary, my father’s home country. Every time my wife and I go there, we have a big family reunion. Many of my relatives only see each other on those occasions even though they are only a couple of hours away by car.

2. I will miss career opportunities.

Taking six months to a year off of your career is not going to derail your life. If you are really worried, spend the time you are away blogging and connecting with people in your field. Establish yourself as an expert so that when you return your career opportunities will likely improve. Even better, start your own online business doing consulting, freelance work, developing a web application or selling something online. Earn money in your home country and spend it places with a lower cost-of-living.

3. I can’t because I have children.

Long term travelers like Soultravelers3, FamilyOnBikes and Away-Together are proving that travel is the best education for children and it brings your family closer together. Do your children really need to be in the public school system? Is that the best way to prepare them to be global citizens?

4. It is too dangerous.

You don’t flash money around and walk down dark alleys in dangerous neighborhoods in your own city so don’t do it when you travel. Most safety is just common sense. If you are planning a vacation in Iraq or North Korea you can probably expect a little more risk. Most countries in the world are perfectly safe. Avoid shady looking areas at night. Don’t look like a tourist by flashing your expensive jewelery and gadgets around. Don’t put your wallet in your back pocket. And don’t trust strangers that seem to0 nice to be true. In my view, most travel mishaps could have been avoided with a little common sense.

I know of people who have had their passport stolen because they left it on the beach and went for a “short” swim. Or someone whose expensive camera was stolen because they left the room door slightly open because it was too hot. Or people who were robbed after they agreed to go visit an out-of-the-way destination with their new “best friend” they met a couple days prior. You can get robbed in your own city if you do foolish things, so don’t do those same foolish things in a strange country.

5. I will miss the food and entertainment of my own city

This one really shocked me. I saw this excuse in a forum recently. Fortunately, someone replied with the perfect response, “Do you think America is the only country with good food choices?” The rest of the world has amazing quality and variety of food. My personal favorite is Japan, just because they use the freshest and highest quality of ingredients. No country can compare in those regards. In terms of best international food, Thailand has to rank at the top of my list. For the best combination of quality, service and price I would say that Hungary is hard to beat. Unless you like overly processed fast food, most countries in the world will offer a better quality and variety than your home city. There is a whole world out there with real authentic food experiences. Your own country undoubtedly has some good restaurants but nothing compares to the quality and variety you will experience as a traveler.

6. It is too expensive.

In most countries around the world, you can live cheaper and better than you do now. The greatest cost in traveling is likely to be airfare, so the solution is to travel slower. Stay in each location longer to get a better feel for the people and culture. Travel overland whenever possible. And avoid tourist traps if you can. You will always be gouged.

A two week vacation to anywhere, staying in expensive hotels and traveling on tours to expensive museums and restaurants is likely to cost you more than several months of travel on your own in those same countries.

Consider the costs of not traveling.

  • You have mortgage or rent payments to make. ($800 per month plus)
  • Bills to pay, like utilities, Internet, cable, etc. ($300 per month plus)
  • Car fees, including insurance, gas, and maintenance. ($300 per month plus)
  • Entertainment expenses. ($200 per month plus)

Already we are at $1600 per month. It is quite easy to travel and live in almost any country in the world on that much money.

The biggest cost that most people can’t see is that you are caught up in a consumer culture. You are buying things to fill your house and keep up with your neighbors. When you travel or live abroad, you completely and immediately lose that materialism because if you can’t fit it in your backpack, it is useless to you. That new leather sofa, 50 inch TV and fancy stereo you have are very cool, but are they really worth being stuck in the same dead end job you hate? Those purchases are keeping you from the world experiences you are craving deep down in your soul.

The cost is not only monetary. How much time do you waste watching TV, looking at ads, shopping for things, caring for things, cleaning things and maintaining things? That is the real cost of a stationary lifestyle. So many people waste dozens of hours every week on unfulfilling pursuits. If you are traveling, that time can all be spent on new, unique and inspiring experiences. This for me is what life abroad is all about. Your speed boat is cool, but I would rather take a ferry in Thailand. It would be great to have that cool motorcycle you have in the garage, but then again I would rather take a bus in France. Your new kitchen appliances are amazing, but I would rather eat at food stalls in Japan.

No More Excuses

It is easier and cheaper than ever to live a nomadic, vagabond or location independent lifestyle and earn money from anywhere with an Internet connection. Stop making excuses and start experiencing the world. Whether you like it or not, we are all global citizens now. National boundaries are only limitations in your mind. Life is about experiences and contribution, not consumption and conformity. is all about the rise of the global citizen in pursuit of an excellent life. Are you a jet set citizen?

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My name is John Bardos. My wife and I gave up our business, house and possessions in Japan to search for more meaning and fulfillment in our lives. We've discovered that a satisfying life is about rich experiences, quality relationships and meaningful contribution, NOT consumption.

16 Responses to Top 6 Excuses to Avoid Long Term Travel

  1. NomadicNeil says:

    I estimate the total costs of my last trip (18 months) was $22500 (US).
    .-= NomadicNeil´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

  2. John says:

    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for the comment. 18 months on $22500, that is $1250 per month. That is great!

  3. Nate says:

    Great post here John. I’ve been reading a lot about excuses lately, and I’ve learned that there is pretty much no excuse that there isn’t a remedy for. We make excuses to make ourselves feel comfortable, and that comfort can sometimes be hard to part with. Good job here!

  4. Sean says:

    Great post John. At one point or another all of these thoughts have crept in to my brain, and it is nice to have a few encouraging words to set myself straight again. The one that keeps getting me is the cost. Sure I bet I can live abroad for under $1,000 a month, but if my income is now ZERO $ a month we have a problem. It is just a matter of exploring online options, as well as local options such as teaching, working in a hostel or bartending. But that uncertainty can be daunting if you have never made that kind of leap before.

  5. Sarah says:

    Great article, and what a pleasure it is to discover your site. Thanks for mentioning ours, Long-term travel with our kids is bring us together and reinforcing our bond as a family in a way that I’m sure will help us in the years to come, when the kids hit adolescence and become more independent. Plus, we’re all receiving an education from the world that we wouldn’t otherwise gain.
    I agree with all your points, and this exchange right here is an example of your rebuttal to excuse #1: that is, we are connecting with people (both virtually and F2F) through travel and travel writing, and strengthening social connections, even as we say good-bye to our friends back home.
    Thanks for writing this!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..“Back to School” Becomes “Leave to Learn” =-.

  6. Robert says:

    Nice post. I need to read more articles like this as I struggle with working while traveling. I don’t know if I fall into those excuse categories, but I’m hung up on something. You’re post really helped me see that.

    I think I’m creating my own hill, but I’d much rather work from comfort of home in a minimalist lifestyle, sans car, with roomates, trying to generate passive income so my travels are more like travels and not moving alltogether. I guess I agree with Sean, that cost comes into play. I could very much see managing sales and a business that I’ve created from over seas, but not starting them. I’d just end up flying somewhere with $0 dollars. I suppose I answered my own question…hah. Thanks for that! Now where’s that income generation button I misplaced, have you seen it?
    .-= Robert´s last blog ..Real Life | Work Work, Get Friday off with Pay =-.

  7. Nomadic Matt says:

    people always assume travel is expensive but it’s not! I always have to hammer home that point!

    great post!
    .-= Nomadic Matt´s last blog ..Cheap Flights Aren’t Always Best =-.

  8. Carl says:

    I think you’re right: These are excuses. In my experience, the underlying problem is attachment. A year ago, when I was packing up my life in San Francisco, I paid a lot of attention to the attachment I felt. It seemed like there was super glue in my mind, keeping me stuck to my charming apartment, my walk to work, my morning routine, and all my little possessions. I had to keep reminding myself that I was actually bored with these things and never missed them when I was tramping around Cambodia, or Italy, or wherever. And that was true. I occasionally miss aspects of my San Francisco life, but my new life in China is way more interesting and fulfilling. Attachment is a big hurdle though! If you don’t pay attention to it, your mind will come up with lots of excuses.

    By the way, discovered Jet Set Citizen only recently and really like it. I like what you say!
    .-= Carl´s last blog ..Change of direction =-.

  9. Anil says:

    John, really good post. I like the point about #3, thanks for the links I actually added them to my post today which is all about using kids as an excuse not to travel.

    I think each of these problems, once you can examine them closely, aren’t as big as they seem. It’s like the Wizard of Oz, not so scary once you see it up close.
    .-= Anil´s last blog ..Overcoming 7 Major Obstacles To Traveling The World – #5 You Have Kids Or Will Soon =-.

  10. John says:

    Hi Anil,

    I definitely agree here. Everyone I have talked has always said that traveling abroad wasn’t as difficult or scary as they imagined. In this age of the Internet and global connectedness, the world really is a much, much smaller place.

  11. John says:

    Attachment is huge!

    I have started to understand why Buddhism places such great importance on losing your attachment to everything. It is that craving for permanence that keeps us from discovering our true selves. We are not our possessions!

  12. John says:

    Thanks for the visit Matt!
    It is awesome to see celebrities drop by. 🙂

  13. John says:

    Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    I do agree that it helps to have savings and income lined up first, however there is always a danger that you get too comfortable. The more you have, the less you want to leave. You start making more money, than you want your own apartment, then you “need’ that car and despite a doubling of income, you still can’t afford long term travel.

    On the other hand, if you don’t have the discipline to work, you don’t want to blow all your money partying a beach every day. Wait a minute! That’s sounds pretty good. 🙂

  14. John says:

    Hi Sean,

    I mentioned in comments on other blogs, that teaching English is a fantastic way to move to a new country without the risk. I have a blog post on this in the works, but feel free to email if you want any info.

  15. Thanks for writing this post. I’m good at making excuses. My main one at the moment is, “But, I’m not done with school yet!” By the time I’m ready to break into long-term travel I will have read enough not to be stupid though. Good stuff, as always!
    .-= Lis Carpenter´s last blog ..Myanmar – My Photo Journey =-.

  16. John says:

    Thanks for the comment Lis!

    School is a pretty good excuse. 🙂

    I should do enough research to avoid being stupid. I have never been big on travel planning.

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