My Time to Fly

This last year or so, I’ve been talking a lot about traveling out of the country. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.  I can’t explain it, really.  The draw. It eats at me.  I daydream about spending months in developing countries.  I do internet research.  I make lists.  I get butterflies in my stomach when I think it might really happen.

And then it doesn’t.

Why? Let me be honest.  It’s because of money.  I always feel I don’t have enough.  And I feel I can’t justify spending a big chunk of change on a long term trip, when my 401K (or something equally as responsible) isn’t in good enough shape.

Well, I’ve decided something:  I don’t care anymore.

This is my time. I don’t want regrets from my 30’s.  I’ve got enough of those from my 20’s.  I read something recently that said, “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” Spot.  On.

Yes.  Yes.  We all have to worry about adult things at times.  We may have to pay rent and pay phone bills and put gas in the car.  But we don’t all have to have the same priorities.  We don’t all have to live in super-size houses or buy the latest iPhone or drive a Lexus.  Nope.  That we don’t have to do.  And So I’m prioritizing.

And my priority is this:  find a way to get out of the country for six months. That’s right, I’m putting it front and center.  I’m tackling #24 on the Life List.

And I’m doing it because that’s what matters to me.  It matters more than designer clothes, more than cable television, more than a big house, more than things could ever matter.  I prioritize experiences.  That’s what I’ll remember in the end.  Not stuff.  I won’t remember the stuff.

Here’s where you come in.  I need your help. I know a lot of you out there have done some serious long term traveling.  I know a lot of you have taught English in other countries, have backpacked through off-the-beaten-path locales, have summered across the globe.  I need ideas.  How did you decide where to go?  What did you do to prepare?  Where should someone like me even start?

Unfortunately, I’m not independently wealthy, and I’ve used up enough of my savings at this point that I’ll have to work to fund this trip.  Which is actually not unfortunate; it’s exciting.  But it also makes things more complicated.  I have to secure a job in whatever locale I choose — one that pays enough to keep me housed while I’m there (and perhaps allows me to eat, too).  I’m considering teaching English.  I love to teach.  I taught classes while in grad school and absolutely adored it.

So.  Do you have any suggestions for this soon-to-be world traveler? Where should I start my research?  How would I begin to find paid work?  Are there options outside the world of teaching English, or should I keep my focus there?  Or should I consider going back to work here for a while, save just enough money and then volunteer with a program that touches my heart (sans pay) or even start my own independent project?  Any and all suggestions or tips you have would be HIGHLY appreciated.

And I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how my plans are coming along.  Just do me a favor.  Don’t let me forget about this.  Don’t let me make an excuse and not do it.  Send me emails.  Post in the comments.  Ask me what’s happening with that traveling thing.  Hold me to it.  Because this is it.  This is my time to fly.

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