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World Travel for Almost Nothing # 1

Maybe you’ve noticed that I manage to see quite a few places and you’ve thought to yourself “Boy, I wish I had the money to do that!”

The fact of the matter is, so do I. The other fact of the matter is that I don’t. In the past several years it has been the exception rather than the rule for me to have a job. I don’t have any savings. I’m in debt up to my ears (but am constantly deferring my student loans) and yet even so in the past year, I’ve managed to travel on three continents, have a fabulous wedding in the Sahara, and get quite a few little side trips and excursions in too. How do I do it?

travel to laos for free
I look tall next to these Lao women who live in a small Mekong Village

Honestly, I’m not sure, but the following is some of what I’ve figured out about how to travel for next to nothing. Inchallah, it will inspire one or two of you out there to get off your butts and hit the road like you’ve always dreamed of. If it does and your life changes forever, feel free to buy me a beer someday.

As I just commented to my friend Nick, a trip to the grocery store in the USA costs most than I spend on most of my adventures. World travel doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, there are many times that it is free.

racing cars in Barcelona
Paying for the chance to race GoCarts in Barcelona was an expense I consider to be necessary.

Of course the travel agencies, cruise lines, and airlines don’t want you to know that. Big hotels and resorts live off of people who don’t know where they would stay without Hilton or Marriott to house them. Those guys and the talking heads in the media earn their salaries selling trips to all-inclusive resorts and big time guided tours of places you can walk through for free.

They are banking on the fact that your imagination stops at your credit card and that most people are just too damn scared to take a chance when they leave the confining comfort of their own home. I’m about to spoil that misconception. Unless those guys start sponsoring me, I’m going to keep giving away tips and tricks that open up the entire world to you.

Nothing holds you back more than fear. Fear of the unknown. FDR said it right, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Face it, you’re going to die and you’re going to lose everything. We all do. You have very little control about when that is going to happen. The thing that makes most people miss out on the joy of travel is that they think they can control it and so they stay at home watching Jeopardy until they die of a coronary. They know the geography of the world, but they’ve never seen it. If you don’t open the door, you won’t see anything but the television.

world travel hiking
Fear would have meant this starlit hike with friends who didn\’t share any language with me would never have happened.

Tip #1 for Cheap World Travel:

Let go of all that routine that arises from you trying to control your own dead end. The best thing about living is new experience and you can have as many as you want for free. Once you step away from your societal imposed responsibilities, you find that the world opens up and gives you more joy than you’ll ever find trying to buy your future security at the expense of the present.

When you start breaking free of your routine, you will discover the wonder of new faces and places, taste incredible new foods, and discover secrets about yourself and the world that you never expected to find.

Each new wonder unfolds before you like a road that was hidden from view and like any road, a new experience will often lead you to another and another and another. When you walk the road of travel, you get to experience life differently from when you take a package vacation or go through the daily motions in your ‘home’. In fact, the world is your home, if only you choose to accept it.

Sunsets are free. Mountaintops don’t cost a thing. Walking through a public market takes not a dime. Striking up a conversation with someone working beside a road you are walking down can lead to adventures you can’t imagine. Just being in a new place will provide you with more insights about yourself and the world than all the new clothes, fancy meals, or well rehearsed tourist trips can ever give you.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, looking up at the tower
Sometimes a new perspective can really change things.

Your mentality is the primary reason why world travel costs a ton. Change it and you will find that few things are as cheap.

Tomorrow: What you really need!

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Vago Damitio

Mr. Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

One thought on “World Travel for Almost Nothing # 1

  • July 16, 2010 at 5:39 am
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    Bare essentials for travel: an open mind and a bold spirit. Clean underwear is a welcome luxury.

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