For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an insatiable desire to see the world. For me, seeing the world means traveling as much as possible and truly immersing myself in the local cultures and customs of the places I visit. This desire to travel the globe has turned into a reality where I’m usually either taking a trip, planning a trip, or just returning from a trip.
While this is certainly not a bad way to live, it can be an expensive one if you’re not careful with your travel expenditures. This is why I’m always on the lookout for the next big travel deal, why I get creative when it comes to paying for vacations, and why I’m constantly working to bring in more money in order to cover the costs of my various adventures.
After traipsing the globe and being fortunate enough to have set foot on five of the seven continents so far (Africa and Antarctica are in the works–especially after missing out on the Kilimanjaro trip last year due to a stupid stress fracture), I can say one thing: I don’t regret a single dime I’ve spent on my various vacations.
When I Buy a Vacation, I’m Paying for an Experience
Despite being a PF blogger and fully understanding how saving now is one of the only ways to guarantee a better financial future tomorrow, I still continue to spend around $10K or more each year on traveling. This is because I’m not out spending frivolously on clothes, bags, and shoes–I’m paying for an experience; one that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
If you ask me about the clothes I bought back when I was in my former spendaholic days, I couldn’t remember a single detail about any of them.
But if you ask me about the trips I took to Chile, Japan, Italy, Hawaii, and Australia during the same time period, I can pretty much regale each adventure in detail–from randomly going scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef instead of the snorkel trip I’d signed up for (I’d never even held a regulator in my mouth before, let alone actually went diving) to watching a car fly off the switchback of a mountain pass in Chile after getting a bit too overzealous about finally being able to drive down (the lanes are so narrow that they’ll stop traffic at the top where the ski resorts are and only open it after a certain time–let’s just say that it’s pure chaos when they finally set the cars free!).
In each case, I spent money to get to those places, and I spent more once there. Even if I broke the budget a bit, I’ve never once returned home to think, “Wow, I shouldn’t have spent so much” because I’m usually thinking, “Damn, that was a hell of an adventure!” I’ve of course gotten better with my budgeting system so now my trips don’t get in the way of other goals such as long-term and retirement savings, but I still don’t regret spending any of that money.
Money is a Tool for You to Live the Life You Dream of
My dreams have always included traveling, working for myself, and having a happy, loving family. I’m well on my way with the first two, and I know that my understanding that money is a tool has a lot to do with why I’ve been able to achieve these dreams. I no longer look at money as a means for instant gratification, a green light to spend myself into oblivion, or something that can be used/abused without consequence
If I had continued to abuse money, there’s no way I’d be able to travel so much. If I had continued to be intimidated and clueless about money, I would never have been able to quit my full-time job to become my own boss. Once I truly understood that I’m in control of my financial destiny, I began to use money as a tool that allows me to shape my life into the one I’ve always dreamed of living.
Considering that you can’t take a penny with you once you’ve passed away and that when you’re in your last hours the last thing you’re going to want to talk about with your family is your budget, I can’t imagine ever regretting the choice to fill my life with experiences and stories from my travels–even if it did cost me money to do so. I hope one day to instill this same love of adventure and realization about money in my future children so they, too, can live their own lives in the manner they dream of.