The World Is Affordable
When I was first thinking of starting Wild Rogue, I interviewed people of the free spirited, wellness-oriented, adventure-seeking breed to get their take on travel. Specifically, I wanted to pinpoint the roadblocks stopping them going from daydream to reality overseas.
What's stopping you?
What are you afraid of?
What is it. . . really. Deep down.
Beyond the fear, societal expectations, and discomfort of the unknown, came the issue of money.
When asked how much they guesstimated a two-month long trip to cost, the average response was upwards of $5,000, with $10,000 not being uncommon.
And I know, living in a world of glossy Instagram travelers, Sandals resort commercials on tv, and marketing companies that paint the picture of travel as all luxury, all the time, where these ideas come from.
But the thing is, there's a different way.
Because in every place in the world, there are people just like you. People who go to the market to buy their veggies, who own local shops, and live in towns and villages, not high rises and resorts.
And the thing about travel, is it doesn't have to be flash-weekends of luxe and glamour. The most rewarding experiences, oddly, look a lot like ordinary life.
Why? Because with the glamour and luxe comes high expectations, which will never be fully met. They bring lofty ideas of what an experience should feel like, what a trip should look like. They ingrain in our mind perfection. And last time I checked, perfection doesn't do anyone any good. Ever.
Opting for simplicity instead not only feeds the soul, but it also feeds your bank account. It makes that "bucket list trip" suddenly not about the bucket list anymore, but about the experience. I say forget the bucket list. Drop the term. It's loaded with false expectations. Get interested instead, in the oh-so ordinary. That's where the magic lives. Not inside walls of resorts, but in the smile of the shop keeper, the gaze of the farmer, the exchange with the merchant. The magic is in every day life. And every day life, in the world, is affordable.
Think about it for a minute:
When you travel, all (or most) of your bills go away. Add on top of the gas and transportation costs, happy hours and eating out, shopping, groceries. In other words, your lifestyle changes.
It's not that you're not eating out or buying anything, but when you go to a place where the cost of living is way less, your dollar goes way further.
This is called social arbitrage. If you wanna get fancy about it.
Social Arbitrage = The simultaneous purchase or exchange of sale in foreign markets in order to profit from price discrepancies.
In other words, going to a place where your dollar goes further. Where you're living a better (and in many ways, more lux-feeling lifestyle) for a fraction of your rent cost alone.
It's easy to get into habits of buying your almond lattes and lunch with a friend, a snack on the way home, or the extra glass of wine, without even realizing the expenses in one day.
When you're one the road you not only become way more aware of your spending habits because you're out of your regular routine, you're also living on less and needing less to begin with. And with this shift, comes a surge of gratitude and joy. The lifestyle brings you to appreciate the little things.
Life simplifies: fewer clothing options, definitive meals (vs. eating on the go or at the desk), fewer obligations and people to answer to. This allows you to take an honest look at your life and what it's filled with. It allows you to take an honest look at you.
Plus, once you make the firm, ride or die decision to actually do this—to make the leap. Everything changes. Things start working in your favor. You're not mindlessly spending your money on Uber's and that top that only looked good in the dressing room, because your mind is set on a bigger goal. That vision is propelling every decision you make.
Wherever you are, all it takes is a change in mindset. You could spend the same amount of money on a bachelorette weekend in Vegas or a birthday weekend in Palm Springs as you could in a month in Vietnam. You could splurge on those jeans and the purse or the latest iPhone. Or you could go to a place where you don't even need shoes. It's all a choice. Fill your life with experiences or things.
Some tips to make the world more affordable than you could ever imagine:
Spend More on the Flight
Yes, I said it. Put down an extra amount to fly longer, to a place where the dollar will go further. Once you're there you will be spending less on food and accomodation, vs. arriving at a place where a cocktail is twenty dollars and you're buying every meal out.
Be An Adventurous Eater
It's the difference between having a western burrito for dinner in an Eastern country versus the local dish. Every place has a regional cuisine which will always be cheaper and more accessible. It's usually what locals are crowded around a table eating. Join them!
Go to the Market
As soon as you arrive in a place, go to the market or grocery store to get fruit, nuts, water, and whatever else. These places are great ways to dig into a culture, open your eyes to new things and also save money.
Lose the "Vacation Mode" Mentality
This mind set just causes you to lose balance and go to extremes. It welcomes binge eating and lose your balance, which is the last thing you want when you're on the road. It sends hormones raging and puts extra stress on the body. Your lifestyle is your lifestyle, and it shouldn't change based on your location. However, if you have bad habits or are feeling unhealthy, traveling is a prime time to hit the reset button and trade bade patterns for good ones, since everything in your life is already changing.