7 Actionable Steps To Change Your Life And Travel The World

December 31, 2017
change your life and travel the world

How to Change Your Life and Travel The World

Changing your life is on your mind huh? There are a ton of reasons why you might want a change. Honestly. I believe that most people want to change their lives.

Some people hate their jobs and the stressful schedules that come with them. Other people feel like frauds, living lives that society chose for them rather than thinking more about their choices.

And others, they feel stuck; trapped by their choices and prisoners of self-doubt. 

I believe that most people feel this way, but that they never do anything about it. They feel too beaten-down and scared of losing security that they never make a change.

This is sad. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The change that you want to make could be anything.

A popular one, is the desire to travel the world.

It’s a favorite fantasy but most people don’t know how to change their life in order to make this happen.

change your life and travel the world

Photo: Atlas Green via Unsplash

Traveling the world is possible. I’ve done it. I know a lot of other people who’ve done it too.

And, if you really want to change your life and travel the world, you can.


So, here is a guide that will explain, step-by-step, exactly how to do that.


And no, it won’t be the standard, ‘sell your stuff, book a plane ticket, and pack your bag’ kind of post (although some of that is part of it.)


NOTE: I’m writing this guide based on my experience as well as the experiences of other travelers who I know. Your experience may be different if you have children, health issues, a disability, or other challenging situations. But, while ALL of this guide may not apply to you, much of it will.)

Here we go..

1.) Decide If You REALLY Want to Travel The World

A life of travel sounds romantic, and fancy, and adventurous.


But it’s not for everyone.


In fact, world travel is a certain kind of hell for some people.


You need to decide if you’re one of those people.


Honestly, don’t let the allure of travel sway you to dismantle your life and hit the road.

Don’t travel the world because a million blog posts say that you should.


Don’t travel the world because you think it’s the only way to change your life.


It’s not.


This thought process isn’t much different than blindly following society into student debt, a cubicle, and a mortgage.


World travel is a beautiful way to spend your time. And, it’s a fantastic way to change your life.


But, it’s also a lot of other things.


Here are a few undesirables that come with world travel:


  • It’s Not Easy


Honestly, it can be more difficult than your typical work week, household chores, and daily responsibilities.


You’ll be faced with challenges every single day. There will always be a new language, custom, societal norm, and new place to navigate.


  • You’ll Be Moving Around, A Lot


If you love stability, you might not love world travel. Sure, you can put down roots for a few weeks or months, but you’ll be packing and unpacking your bags more than you think.


Be ready for lots of airplanes, trains, motorbikes, and buses. Long travel days are necessary and they can be unenjoyable.


  • You’ll Be Stressed


World travel looks a lot different in real life than on your Instagram feed.


Drinking out of a fresh coconut on a Thai beach will probably happen for you.


But getting sick from that sketchy Pad Thai is a reality too.


You’ll lose track of your wallet. There will be times when you get extremely lost. And, there will be days when you get swindled by corrupt police.


There is stress in life no matter where you are.


Trading your life for world travel may mean that you don’t have the stress of commuting to work or paying the water bill.

But, you’ll have different things to worry about:

  • Meeting And Leaving People


This will be constant while traveling.


If you hate the idea of meeting new people, you may not like the traveler community.


And, if the thought of leaving new friends makes you sad, you’ll need to make peace with that.


Long-term travel will introduce you to amazing people who you will need to leave on a constant basis.


It can be pretty heartbreaking.


  • You’ll Be Uncomfortable, A Lot


If you’re a creature of comfort, travel can be really difficult to handle.


World travel is uncomfortable, in nearly every sense.


Physically, you’ll have to endure cramped transportation, unfamiliar climates, new foods that upset your stomach, and shared living arrangements (if you stay in hostels.)


Mentally, you’ll have to deal with language barriers, confusion over societal norms, meeting new people, feeling alone, and being afraid.


If you are OK with discomfort, you can handle the challenges and grow because of them.


  • You’ll Probably Get Homesick


It’s natural to miss people, places, and routines from home; even if you voluntarily left them.


You’ll probably feel pangs of homesickness. And, you may even experience guilt, doubt, and fear that you made the wrong decision.

This is something that will come and go, but you’ll need to be strong enough to feel the pain, let it pass, and keep on moving.


After reading about all of those negatives, do you still want to change your life and travel?


Good. It’s worth it.


Here’s what to do next.


2.) Write Down EVERYTHING About Your Current Life Situation


You’ll need to take a survey of your current life situation.


This will include everything from finances and responsibilities to relationships and goals.

You’ll need to paint a clear picture of what your life is, so that you can change it.


Make sure to include:


  • Finances


Make a list of all of your debt. Do you have student loans? Car payments? A mortgage? Write ALL of these things down. Include subscriptions, utilities, groceries, and gas.

Make another list of your income. How much do you bring in every month and where does the money come from?


Look at what you have. What’s in your bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment portfolio?


  • Physical Assets


What do you own that is valuable? Do you have furniture? A paid-off vehicle? Nice clothing, books, tools, kitchen appliances?


  • Responsibilities


This includes things like your job, your children, pets, plants, siblings,  elderly parents, and volunteer commitments.


Who and what depends on you?


  • Relationships


Are you married? In a romantic relationship? Do you have any friends (I hope so)? Make note of them all.


  • Health Issues


Do you suffer from any health issues?


Perhaps you have a disability or take prescription medication.


Take note of this too.

3.) Write Down All of Your Worries, Concerns, Excuses, and Fears About Making This Life Change


Even though you want to travel the world, you’ll probably find reasons why you can’t.


Self-doubt, fear, and pessimism are natural when faced with a big decision.


It’s best to face these issues head on.


Write down everything that could wrong with making this decision.


These could include concerns like:


  • “I have too much debt to worry about.”

  • “What if something bad happens to me while I’m out of the country?”

  • “How will my children get an education?”

  • “What if I can’t make money while traveling?”

  • “My friends and family are going to feel abandoned.”

  • “I have too many bills and responsibilities.”

  • “I’m not good at traveling and I don’t know what I’m doing.”

  • “What if I don’t like it?”

  • “It would be too hard to leave my job.”

  • “What about my house and my cat?


You could come up with hundreds of objections.


That’s fine. Let your mind work out all of those fears. Write them down, say them out loud.


But then, forget about them.


There will always be an excuse. There will always be a reason why you can’t change your life.


You can’t let your inner dialogue stop you from going after the life you deserve.

4.) Find Solutions To Problems That Are Holding You Back


To make this happen, you need to take everything that’s holding you back and eliminate them one-by-one.


Address each of your excuses. Combat every challenge.


For every thing that makes a life of travel seem impossible, there are multiple solutions.

Here are a few examples of common excuses to not change your life. And, a few of their solutions.


  • Problem: “I have too much debt.”


  • Solution: Start a side hustle like driving Uber, freelance writing, buying and reselling items on eBay, getting a second job, offering handyman work.


Here’s a great resource for finding side hustles. And, if you’re a fan of books, Side Hustle, by Chris Guillebeau, can give you a ton of ideas.


  • Problem: “I don’t think I can afford to travel long term.”



  • Problem: “My boyfriend/girlfriend might leave me.”


  • Solution: Convince them to join you. If they don’t support your decision, you may not be right for each other anyway. But, if you are willing to do long distance, plan to visit each other, send postcards, and talk over video chat.


  • Problem: “What about all of my stuff?”


  • Solution: Sell it. Give it away. It might be painful at first, but eventually, you’ll feel lighter and probably a lot more free. Plus, you can sell your stuff and use the money to pay off debt or buy a plane ticket.


  • Problem: “I don’t have enough experience traveling.”


  • Solution: Read travel blogs, buy guidebooks, and watch tutorials on Youtube. If you have the time, start by taking small trips to practice. Go on a weekend trip nearby, then keep traveling just a little bit further. Eventually, you’ll figure out how capable you are.

  • Problem: “I own a house.”


  • Solution: Sell it. It sounds extreme, but you’ll have to cut ties and make room for your new life. If you can’t sell it, consider renting it out while you’re gone. You can also do house swaps with people in other countries.

Write down your problems or objections. Then, spend some time brainstorming solutions.

If you can’t think of any yourself, research other travelers and see what they did.

5.)  Mentally Prepare Yourself 


It’s your mentality that determines whether you’ll successfully change your life.


Changing your life starts with you. If you don’t believe you can do it, then you won’t be able to.

Our minds are also easily convinced, tricked, and changed.


But, there are ways to hack your thinking.


Here’s how to keep yourself mentally motivated while you’re working on your life change:

  • Stop caring what others think: Changing your life to travel the world goes against the norm. This will be confusing to many people that you love. Some of them will warn you against it. Others will get angry and offended. Let all of that go. People have a hard time accepting things they don’t understand. Don’t let the closed minds of others stop you from chasing your dreams.


  • Find Other World Travelers: There are a ton of travel blogs, documentaries, and books about world travelers. You’ll be able to find entire communities of people who have done exactly what you want to do. Seek out their success stories, challenges, and how they overcame them. Learn from them and stay motivated by what these people have accomplished.

  • Visualize Your Life: Can you picture yourself on The Great Wall of China? Can you imagine afternoons spent in a Parisian cafe? All of this can be reality. As you work towards a life of travel, keep these visualizations in mind. Pretty soon, you’ll be living them.


  • Be Nice To Yourself: It’s easy to beat yourself up about this decision. You may fall into the habit of doubting your abilities, thinking you’re crazy, or that you don’t deserve a better life. Break that habit. Offer yourself positive affirmations and self-talk. Believe in yourself. You can change your life. You deserve it. You’re capable of making it happen.

6.) Make a Travel Plan


Now that you’ve identified what’s holding you back, and have brainstormed solutions, you can start planning your travel.

This plan doesn’t have to be concrete. It doesn’t have to be detailed either.


You can write it down, build an itinerary, or just let it float around your mind.


It can take any shape or form.


Consider where you want to travel to. What experiences you want to have. And, what your travel style might be.


Do you want to start your new life in Asia? Europe? Africa?


Would you prefer backpacking and budgeting or renting apartments and trying nice restaurants?

And, do you want to spend time in the outdoors, volunteering, or living the good life in ritzy cities?

Maybe a combination?


It’s helpful to get clarity on your expectations.


But, you don’t want to plan too much. This can stress you out, send you into a spiral of worry, and put limitations on your new life.


Compromise by planning the particulars at the beginning of your trip. Choose a starter city, book a plane ticket, organize accommodation beforehand.


Once you ease into it, the next steps will come naturally as you learn more.

Opportunities are always presenting themselves to travelers. If you have a strict itinerary, you may miss out.


7.) Take Massive Action

Changing your life and traveling the world can only happen if you take massive action.

Start by doing the most scary things first. 

What will make the most impact? Selling your house? You car?

Start there.

Work off of a to-do list and put something that scares you on the top of your list every single day.

Make changes that aren’t easily reversed. This will make it harder for you to back out.

Final Thoughts:

You deserve to have a life that you love. 

You deserve all of the travel, adventure, and soul-awakening experiences.

Whatever your life is like now, it doesn’t have to stay that way. 

Take these seven steps and you can make massive change, travel the world, and live the life you’ve always wanted. 

Want to travel opportunities sent to your inbox? Join the Lives Abroad newsletter to receive notice of volunteer and work opportunities, travel deals, interesting experiences, and tales from real people who changed their life through travel.

What’s holding you back from living a life of travel? Let me know in the comments.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply