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How Two Years of Saving to Travel has Changed Me

Things are changing. I’m sitting here chugging my third cup of hot coffee and typing this during my last few hours of work in Latisana Italy. I’ve steadily pushed a growing pile of things to pack into the corner of my room and I’m on my last two weeks of school. I’m eagerly peering through the door at this new life with anticipation, waiting for the day to come when I can step over the threshold.

Long Term Travel is the Life for Me

Life is short. In many ways, this feels more like an ending rather than a beginning and I catch myself reflecting back over the path that lead me to this point. As I look back, I realize that I’m not the same person that started this journey 2 years ago. As I worked towards my dream, like a lump of clay I was molded into a stronger and well-rounded person. While some things haven’t changed, travel is till my number one priority, there are distinct parts of me that I hardly recognize. It feels as if I’m staring into a mirror and barely recognize the person staring back.
I see people write posts such as “One Year of Travel has Taught Them”, or “How Long-Term Travel tips and How it Changes You”. Well, I’m not that far yet, but I am going to write what I know and this is how two years of saving has changed me.

Dreams Change.

Ok, maybe not “change” as much as expand. A couple of years ago, all I wanted to do was travel. My dream scenario involved winning the lottery and spending the rest of my life traveling the world without a care. Lazy, huh? Well, my dream has expanded, and I’m about to write a sentence that would have been unthinkable 2 years ago. I want to work.
Traveling the world indefinitely is still the dream, but it’s expanded to include some work. I want to build something for myself, specially this site and (spoiler alert) a couple of others in the works. I love A Backpacker’s Tale, and one day I hope to turn it into a business that inspires others to take the path less traveled, and travel ( does that work).

Long Term Travel and Saving To Travel Will Change You!

While that road is still long and full of uncertainty, I do have big dreams and ambitions for this humble little site. They’re mixed in so much with my dream of seeing the world; they have become intertwined and now they’re the same.

Grown Up

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not much of a grown up. I’ve just never been good at it and I’ll be the first to point out, I’m still not the most mature 28-year-old on the planet. For example, two years ago my brother bought me some toy missiles and a squirt gun for Christmas.
I’ve just never understood why we the older we get, the less fun we can have. I actually have a theory that one reason people have kids is so they secretly can play with toys again. While I still love those things, I’ve grown up a bit. Before if I was juggling school, work, and trip planning, a couple of those balls would get dropped. Over the last several months, I’ve become more responsible and learned how juggle them all, even when it hurts.

Not made of Glass

I’m strong, not strong like let me squeeze into the worlds tiniest shirt, head to the gym, and throw up more weights than Hulk Hogan, but saving, working, school, and starting side projects have taught me that I’m not breakable. I’ve taken my share of hits and experienced hard times, but through focus and hard work, I have managed to exceed my own expectations.

I’m a Workaholic and great at Saving Money to Travel

Long Term Travel , and Adventure Travel Tips

I hate working a 9-5, it makes me feel stuffy like I’m wearing a tightly buttoned collar. Don’t worry I’m not going to bore you with my weekly schedule, but I will say it is a lot.

But Saving to Travel is worth it, am I right?!

Combining everything, it is well over 100 hours a week and I’ve only had a hand full of days off (20 I think) in the past two years. I not bragging, I just learned that I’ll put up with hell in the pursuit of my dream. You know what I’ve learned from all that work?
Well for starters, it will make you go a little insane, but more importantly, I’ve learned when push comes to shove, I’ll twist my arm, grit my teeth, and force myself to do what I have to for long term travel. A valuable thing to know about yourself when your traveling through places, like Latisana Italy or Deli, India.

Saving to Travel can be easy if you are willing to work for it!

Check out my list of saving money to travel tips here.

If You can Dream it You can do it

When I started this pursuit, I had no Idea if I could save what I needed. It would have been easy to revert back to taking 1 to 3 month trips when shit hit the fan or when life was stressful, but I not a quitter. When things got tough, I didn’t find my dream shrinking instead I used the frustration and stress to fuel and expand my dream (After all, this started out as a 7 month trip, which has now evolved into a life of long term travel). I poured all my hope into reaching this goal and I have learned I’m capable of more than I ever realized. If you really believe you can do something, you can, and anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you something.

I Still Have a lot to Learn

Travel Tips - Long Term Travel

Lastly, and the most important thing I’ve learned, is that I know nothing.

I might have tons of savings tricks,  travel tips about flying and backpacking travel tips stored in my head, but I still have an endless amount to see, experience, and learn.

I’ve discovered so much about myself in the last 2 years; just think how much more I’ll know after a couple of years on the road. I’ll be getting out of my confront zone, learning to deal with loneliness, and adjusting to long-term life on the road and dozens of flights a year as I make my way from to spend 3 days in Rome before I head across the world and slowly make my way through Asia until I reach Seoul.
If we are constantly shaped and conditioned by our experiences, then I’m about to have the biggest reshaping of my life. I have grown so much walking the path that has led me here and yet, I still only know a fraction of who I am. However, I do know who I have it in myself to be, and I’m willing to work and fight to become him.
Life on the road involves constant change and there is always something to learn. Travel is as much as an inward exploration as an outward one. I’m ready to step through the door and undertake the greatest journey of my life, my journey.

Do you dream of a life of long term travel;  ask your questions below and I will be sure to share all my travel tips with you!

25 thoughts on “How Two Years of Saving to Travel has Changed Me”

  1. You have done great and were very dedicated to what you wanted to achieve and now you are nearly there. It must be so exciting to start your journey. Good Luck and I’ll keep dreaming about winning the lottery in the mean time 😉

    1. Freya as always you leave a great comment! I can’t wait, and if I win the lottery I’ll split it with you, but I feel like that is a waste of travel money.

  2. The journey doesn’t start the moment you get on the plane, it starts the moment you decide to go for it. I always tell people how everything started when we decided to start saving. It’s hard to explain how your outlook on life changes if you have a goal like this.

    1. Wow, what a comment! Thank you, and you are %100 right. It did began that moment and now the fun part begins 🙂

  3. Looks like you’re ready to actually make good on your goals. Great work, that’s tough, but the great news is, you finally get to go live it. I’m going to enjoy reading more about your travels, I’ll be reading through more of your posts as I have time.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks James! It was a lot of work, and I’m glad that is over so I can focus on my blog. I’m so excited to live it, and I’m glad you will be following along.

  4. We love reading your narratives here, very inspiring. There’s a lot of new blogs out there that revolves on RTW travel, so it’s quite challenging to stand out nowadays than a few years back (when there’s only a few travel blogs), but with the way I see your personality – you look very passionate and driven, I am sure in less than a year, you will achieve your goal. Read other top travel blogs out there and study their strategy, you’ll learn a lot just by reading. 😀 Yes, dreams change, I believe in that too. Keep the faith! 🙂

    1. WOW! What a compliment 🙂 Thank you guys so much. I’m trying to learn everything I can. Can’t wait to get this adventure started in just a few days. Thanks for the comment.

  5. I love this post. I’m in a similar situation to you (although I still have about 2 months until I leave). When I began to save a couple of years ago all I had in mind was a contiki trip of Europe, which then expanded to a year of independent travel, and right now into working and traveling on the road for a couple of years. I’ve been working my arse off building a bunch of sites as well as other projects that will hopefully help me sustain my dream in the future as well as saving, studying and working.

    I think the journey starts the moment you say you want something and you actually start working towards it. Not everyone understands and not everyone will be supportive but you have to be true to yourself in order for your goals to have a chance. Good luck 😀

    1. Don’t worry Ally, those two months will fly by so fast. It is so true, the journey started the moment I dreamed it. Phase one of that journey is over, and now it is one to the next phase (which will be a lot more fun) Keep up the work, I always remind myself that it will be worth it in the end.

      I’m curious are you doing a Contiki trip?

  6. What a lovely article! Those past two years may have been a pain, but I am sure once you set foot on that plane all thos thoughts about about stressful work days and lack of holidays will disappear. You have an amazing journey ahead of you. One which no doubt will change you again. Can’t wait to read all about it!

  7. Nice article, good read. Good luck on your travels. I just landed here from Migrationology but maybe I’ll be reading your blog later again as you start to travel the world =)

  8. Hi Stephen,

    I just found your blog and it’s been great reading it. It’s inspiring to see someone like me who is trying to juggle work, Uni and side projects like blogging/websites finally realize their dream. I am aiming to start travelling in 2014.

  9. Well done for managing to persevere! I did the same as you 3 years back and it nearly killed me, but its all worth it when you finally leave work for the last time. The feeling of freedom is unexplainable…so liberating. Hope you felt it too!

  10. This was so encouraging to hear. I spent a year traveling and backpacking in Chile, and coming back to work was really hard. I’ve been trying to save up again to go out for about 2 years, but it’s just been so frustrating having to work so much and not see the results that I want. Thinking about my end-goal helps me a lot, because I know that I wouldn’t be able to travel and have the life that I want unless I work hard for it–really hard. And I just can’t wait to actually save up enough to be able to leave again, and not worry about coming back for a long time.

    I’m so excited for you and your travels, I will be keeping up and living vicariously through you until it’s my turn again! Cheers!

    1. Ha ha I really feel the same. I mean a little more driven but not grown up. Prime example my most prized possession is a panda hat I wear all around the world.

  11. Great article! 🙂

    I also learned about this, that I can go through hell, if I have something to fight for. 🙂

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