traveling the world and designing your life

SONG: TXTN by Connor Youngblood

Read Time: 7 minutes

 

i am not a big facebooker. everyone has their “go-to” social media platforms, and facebook is not mine. i’ll instagram. i’ll snapchat. i’ll tweet. but rarely do i create facebook statuses.

two days ago was the exception.

i was booking flights online, my facebook was open in another tab, and it was as if facebook was beckoning me to write a post.

so i did.

i said, booking flights is becoming a full time job. january is going to be insane. mexico for 5 days. come home and pack my life away. fly to boston. drop bags off with erica. take the bus to NYC. fly to london, rome, norway, iceland. travel back to boston. pick up bags. fly to panama. layover. fly to quito with carly.”

nothing crazy. nothing really important. but for whatever reason, i got so much attention from this status. this post got more interaction than anything else i’ve posted on facebook — my birthday included.

travel has become an intricate part of my life lately. i won’t lie — i travel a lot and i love it.

i am realizing — people are intrigued by it and want it too. the past couple weeks as i have been traveling around the united states and internationally, i’ve been getting a lot of comments from people saying:    

“you live the perfect life.”

 “your life is a dream.”

 “i’m so jealous of your life.”

to be honest, those comments sometimes make me feel funny. i never want people to get a false idea of my life — that i just galavant around the globe without a care in the world. because that’s not true. the majority of the time i am traveling, i am doing work for clients too. i never want people to think that i’m the “exception” that “i’m lucky”. while i do consider myself blessed, everything about my lifestyle is intentional. nothing is on accident or reactive.

someone asked me to write about how i am able to live this lifestyle — so here it is:

DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE

it all starts with this. we live the lives we design. at the beginning of 2015, i wrote down a list of goals for myself. included on the list: travel two weeks out of every month. i didn’t care where i went, i just wanted adventure. i want to experience life and all it had to offer me. i am not okay with living an average life. when i’m 97 years old — i want to look back at my life and know that i lived well, that i lived fully.

you see, too often, we sit around waiting for adventure. we get caught up the the “american dream” that we forget to dream our own dreams. we wait, watching people’s lives play out over social media and think that they are the lucky ones instead of going out into the world and hunting down our own adventure.

so here is the question: what is your ideal life? what does it look like? what kind of job would you be working? what kind of adventures would you be going on? what kind of community does it involve?

write it down. then, create it.

stop reacting to life. start creating.

you have the beautiful ability to choose. yes, you have a choice.

if you are bored with your life, change it.

you can do that. it’s allowed. i promise.

we’ll live the lives that we design.

so design well.

WORK HARD IN THE “IN BETWEEN”

i got a text the other day from someone asking “who is sponsoring your travel?”

my answer: me.

i am still waiting for american airlines and southwest to figure out how cool i am and start giving me free tickets around the world. my theory is that if i keep @mentioning them on instagram, they’ll notice me one day and start sponsoring my travels. #crossingmyfingers

but… reality. that hasn’t happened. yet. reality… i work hard in the “in-between”.

i started two businesses, which required a lot of sacrifice in the beginning. but, the tradeoff was worth it. now, those two businesses give me the freedom to live the lifestyle i desire.

when i’m not traveling, i work. alot. i work hard. sometimes, i work 17 hour days. i’ll wake up at 6:30 AM then won’t shut down the computer til 10:30 in the PM. i hustle, knowing that the “in-between” is important. it’s a vital part to make dreams come true.

saving also comes into play. i save more than i spend and only live off a fraction of what i make.

i give 10% of everything i make back to the source, God, knowing that there is a beautiful exchange in sowing and reaping.

you may not own your business, but that’s okay. you don’t have to. [but if you want to, you totally should. best decision i ever made. if you want help / encouragement to make that happen, let’s chat.]

the same principles still apply. work hard, save, and be generous with what you have.

my dad always told me growing up, “time is money.” whatever line of work you are in, this statement is true. your time is money. how are you spending your time? could you be more productive? could you be taking some of your “free-time” to work on a passion project that will make you more money?

living the good life is more about being intentional than anything. be intentional about saving. you may only be able to save $100 a month towards a travel fund, but that money will add up. and eventually, your mindset of living intentionally will be the very thing that transforms your life into the life of your dreams.

CHEAP FLIGHTS

i am a sucker for cheap flights. the other day i found a cheap ticket to bali. obviously, in my head, that meant i should go. because why the heck not. i texted my dad to make sure our family didn’t have any plans. he asked why i was asking. i responded with, “i found cheap tickets to bali!” his response, “i think they have cheap tickets to vegas that weekend too. doesn’t mean you should go.”

dads will be dads, right?

ends up — dad was right. instead, i’m going to ecuador for three months. but that’s another story.

the point is cheap tickets are the key to flying around the world.

i priceline almost everything. i always get the cheapest tickets there. you can place your own bids or you can just take what they offer. usually, i just take what they offer because it’s so cheap already. kyack is also a good resource. but, i am pretty loyal to priceline and that weird guy on the front page.

remember the europe trip i’m taking? we can thank google for that. if you check google flights before booking a trip— it’ll do all the hard work for you. it’ll tell you the cheapest days to fly and what airlines are offering the cheapest tickets to your destination.

of course — i have to offer the dad answer to cheap flights too. miles. as my dad reminded me this morning, sign up for miles on all the airlines you fly with. you never know when they’ll come in handy. my family has booked plenty of flights in our day using miles.

which, brings me to credit cards. if you have one — use it wisely. remember, cash is king. don’t make purchases if you don’t have the cash to pay it off. that’s my two cents. but… back to the point of bringing up credit cards. get a credit card that offers miles. my sister, the queen of traveling, purchased the majority of her flights last year using credit card miles. if you’re gonna spend the money, might as well get rewards for it, right?

when it comes to lodging: if i don’t know someone who lives in the city i am going to — i love using airbnb. i’ve stayed at airbnb’s all over the world and have always had a good experience. you can set your max price point. so it’s perfect if you’re trying to save the dollars. if staying in other people’s home isn’t your deal — let me introduce you to hotwire. basically the quick summary: it randomly selects a hotel based on your price point and area of town you wish to stay in. every time i have used hotwire, i’ve been able to stay at 4+ star hotels at under $100. one time, i was in dallas — paid $50 for a 4 star hotel. the next day, i switched hotels to be stay with friends across town and we paid $85 to stay at a motel 6. all that to say, hotwire has some amazing deals. oh yeah, and no one should have to stay at a motel 6 more than once in their lifetime.

that’s that.

i don’t know where you are in life, but i hope you catch onto this one thing: your life can be wild, extravagant, and better than your imagination. you don’t have to be the richest person with the most money in the bank, you just have to be rich in imagination. imagine the life you want to live — then go chase it.