5 Things to think about BEFORE you pack your bag and go
Have my 8 reasons why you should pack your bag and go already given you food for thought? Mhhh, good, good. Now that are perhaps considering to take a trip and try something new here are a few additional crumbs for thought.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to talk you out of your plans to travel (read about my definition of travel versus holidays here). I’m just sharing some of the things you should consider BEFORE saying good-bye for a while:
Is travelling really for you?
If you’re planning to drive from Sydney to Darwin, take the train from Berlin to Barcelona or spend six months in a Himalayan monastery be realistic. Do you really like driving in a car, sleeping on the train or meditating until the cows come home? Haven’t tried it lately? Ahh, that might be a problem, because once you’re right smack bang in the middle of your trip and your realise trains make you motion sick and camping sucks it’ll be a wee bit late.
So, BEFORE you pack your bag and go be as honest with yourself as possible as to what sort of travels you’d REALLY enjoy. If the answer is “not sure” than try before you buy: take a weekend train trip to test the waters or go on a short road and camping trip to work out whether this is for you.
Dosh, dough, moolah
Ah yes, money. I wish I could tell you that once you’ve made the decision to go out in the wide world on the path to enlightenment and bliss it won’t matter what you’ve got on your bank account. Unfortunately, there is nothing more stressful than not knowing whether you’ve got enough cash saved. “Enough” is always hard to define and really comes down to what your plans are and how long you’ll be away.
So, BEFORE you pack your bag and go get an idea of your resources and how long they’ll have to last. With a little bit of planning in advance you’ll be able to budget wisely for your time away. The better you know your expected expenses the less you have to worry about money while you’re on the road.
Your career: not up, but across
If you’re very dedicated to your career and climbing further up the ladder in your company is very important to you then taking a leave of absence for an extended period of time might not be such a good idea. But then again, if that is so important to you, you might not be the person that has time staring at a screen and dreaming of a different life.
So, BEFORE you pack your bag and go have a think about how important your career is and whether you’re ok to delay your aspirations. If you don’t know where you want your path to go then stepping away from work may be a really good idea to get clarity. You may find that stepping across in your work life might be a lot more satisfying than up.
Friends, mates, acquaintances
If your social network is keeping you where you are and friends are very important to you then leaving might feel terribly hard. I wish I could tell you that the fear of loosing touch and even loosing friends is an illusion, but the truth is that some friendships rely on proximity and lose their oomph once you’re gone.
So, BEFORE you pack your bag and go evaluate how important your friends are to you. If you want to find out who will still be interested in you once you’re gone and who will be left when you come back then leaving is the right thing for you. After all, this is an easy way to sort out friends from mates and acquaintances.
Justifications, explanations and lots of talking
If you’re not quite sure what it actually is that makes you want to travel and think that you can just sneak away and come back wiser well, let me tell you it ain’t that easy. Perhaps your boss is happy with you saying you need some “time out” or “me-time” and maybe your friends will nod in agreement and then continue to fire questions at you. One thing is for sure, all of the above points you will have to have an answer to when you explain your plans to your mum and dad. Prepare yourself for the people around you being concerned about you and your welfare.
So, BEFORE you go prepare some explanations because you will need them. Unless you’re happy shrugging off people’s questions with “Uhm, don’t know, haven’t thought about that yet”.