My soul sister Kay Newton, posted a question on Facebook yesterday and to which I felt I wanted to respond. I sent her a message and she told me she wanted to know more. This was her post.
‘Have you recently…
– Uttered the words ‘I can’t afford it’ (even if it was under your breath or just a mind fart)?
– Had a close family member or friend use ‘I can’t afford it’?
– Heard ‘I can’t afford it’ from a work colleague?
If you said YES to any of the above, I would love to hear from you in a private message.
I used to say ‘I can’t afford it’ (I blamed my Yorkshire working-class upbringing). Having just travelled business class to Zanzibar and numerous other exciting things this year things have changed.
– I can’t afford having dinner at that restaurant, I told my neighbor and fellow travelers the other day when he invited me to tag along.
It’s not that the restaurant is one of the posh kind but the price for a dinner would have consumed as much as 3/4th of my daily budget.
I’ve been on the road for two years now and the only way I could do that was because my budget was tight. Not because I have a lot of money, an income or someone to support me. The only reason I was able to travel for so long was the simple fact that I used to utter those words also before I started travelling.
I started spending my money in a conscious and mindful way.
First thing I did was to have a look in my wardrobe. Did I have everything I really needed I asked myself. The answer was a big yes. To be hones, if we really think about it, how much of what we have in the wardrobe do we use. That means I don’t need to buy more clothes. If what I buy can be paired up with what I already have then I don’t need that much.
Second thing I did was to stop and give it a second thought before I had coffee out. Same thing with dinners, snacks, sweets and everything else we buy to treat ourselves. Or even worse, console ourselves. Because we had a bad day or are not happy enough.
Third thing I did was to make a budget. And I stuck to it.
I spent my money in a conscious was and that payed off. I saved money to finance my traveling. Because that had been my dream, the thing I really wanted to do. One day I was on my way.
Ok, I’m going to be brutal now. Hold on.
Just because someone is carrying a backpack doesn’t mean the person is actually backpacking!
Backpacking is a form of low-cost, independent travel. It includes the use of public transport; inexpensive lodging such as hostels; often a longer duration of the trip when compared with conventional vacations; and typically an interest in meeting locals as well as seeing sights. // Wikipedia
Lets start with public transportation. I’ve been in India for the past year now and I have met a lot of people. Very few travellers use public transportation and in my opinion they miss out on the interesting part. This is one of the best ways to get to know local culture. How people behave, what they do, patterns specific for the people in that country. Yes, it does take time but not that much more than if the person takes a flight or a taxi. We already know how that works wherever we are. Public transport on the other hand will give us new experiences and most probably we will also have a conversation with the locals.
Hostels are the far best accomodation to choose when traveling. It is cheap, easy to find and above all, this is where you meet fellow travellers. They are like walking encyclopaedias. Where to find what, how to get there and how much to pay. Whatever you want to know, there is always someone to give you a tip. Another thing with hostels, you will never be alone. Unless you want to. Otherwise there is always someone to chat or team up with for a couple of hours, days or for as long you want.
Food. Just because a restaurant looks similar to what we have back home doesn’t mean you wont get food poisoned. Street food is prepared there and then, is delicious and you will get a taste of that countrys or areas culture.
The most important thing is that saying ‘I can’t afford…’ is not a bad thing. On the contrary. It can give you the most rewarding experience.
I’ve met so many ‘backpackers’ who feel alone because they stay i hotels and miss out on ‘the local’ because they fly or take a taxi. Next day they pay huge money to go on a trip to see ‘the authentic’.
Traveling when you have money is easy. You can afford paying for this and that but you will always miss out on the experience cheap traveling will give you.
Traveling is not about checking off a list. It is about experiencing.
Lastly. Yes, things don’t always happen the way we planned. Don’t get upset about it. This is how life works and these are the memories you are most likely to remember the most.
I can’t afford missing out on the experiences that comes with budget traveling.
Kay Newton is an amazing knowledgeable woman. She always ask questions to make the rest of us give serious thoughts to things. She is also coach, confidant, speaker, writer and overall an awesome person.