Live an adventurous life of work + travel

Why you should ditch everything to travel now, not later

I’m going to let you in on one of my greatest fears.

At my previous job working in a print shop in Sydney, I was conversing with a colleague about some of the crazy experiences I had on my travels through Europe. Walking through a political protest in Ukraine, exploring the death camps of Auschwitz, and being blown away by cultural differences in some of the less-travelled countries.

Listening intently to a few of my somewhat insane travel stories, my colleague responded with “I wish I’d travelled more when I was younger.”

My heart broke just a tiny bit.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

I’ve heard this line multiple times from numerous people. And each time I think I don’t ever want that to be me. If I end up on my deathbed regretting the things I should have done when I was younger, then I’ll consider my life a complete waste of time.

My colleague is in his mid-thirties, has a wife, two kids, and debts to pay. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is what his life has become. I can see the regret behind his eyes without him actually voicing it. He now has to direct his money into things that benefit the family, and he can’t just decide to do his own thing.

In other words, he left it too late.

In his case the regret is due to family commitments, but it could be anything. Nobody knows what will happen in the future. As much as I prefer not to think about any possible catastrophes that might hinder my lifestyle, I do have to consider that they’re a possibility and therefore make the most of what I’ve got while I’m young, healthy, and able. This is something I think everyone should think about.

“But I don’t have any money to travel?” the skeptics will say.

Well, I earn barely any money working as an entrepreneur. Less than half the average Australian wage. But you know what? I still get to travel more than anyone I know. Because having lots of money doesn’t matter – being smart about where you spend money and where you make savings can make the world of difference. You can travel the world even when you’re broke.

Travel now, not later

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

When I was speaking to my colleague, he’d told me earlier that day that he recently purchased an $1800 television for the family home. Now I don’t know about you, but when I comprehend how much travel $1800 could get me (a month in South East Asia, maybe?), I’m blown away that he could possibly waste so much money on a large box that flashes advertisements at you.

Isn’t it more important to invest in life experiences (something that will be with you forever) than a fancy car or a new wardrobe?

There are always going to be countless reasons why you can’t travel now. I hear people say they don’t have time to travel, or money to travel, or their career is in the way. But in reality, the choice they made was to prioritise those things instead.

If I can change the direction of just one of you to ensure you don’t become someone with regrets like my colleague, then I will consider this blog a success. Please, I beg you. If you want to travel, do it now. Don’t wait. What’s the worst that could happen?


Do you think you could travel right now if you ditched everything? If not, what’s stopping you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Ashlea Wheeler

Blogger & Photographer at A Globe Well Travelled
I'm Ashlea, an excitable Australian who loves photography and exploring the world. Find out more about me.

29 Responses to “Why you should ditch everything to travel now, not later”

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Education is important, but you can take a gap year! Or travel in uni breaks – my husband and I travelled to Europe for 3 months in between his uni semesters 😀

      Reply
  1. Vanessa

    This is exactly how I felt. I worked at my previous employment for 5 1/2 years wanderlusting over the amazing places and beautiful cities I would see on bloglovin. I finally decided that I , too, could be that person snapping photos under the Eiffel Tower and eating at corner bakeries in Milan. It’s been one week, and so far, no regrets =}

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I’m so glad you made the decision to get out there Vanessa! You will definitely not regret it 😀 Have the best time on your travels!

      Reply
  2. Stephanie Rogers

    I feel ya! So many people at uni ask how I travel so much but you just make it work! When there’s a will there’s a way… I took a gap year before I went to uni, I make the most of my long summer breaks and will be taking another gap year (maybe 2 or 3?) before plunging into full time work! It’s reassuring to see you encouraging people to travel because it makes me feel like I’ve done the right thing! Great post and very inspiring!

    http://www.thelifeofastudenttraveller.blogspot.co.uk

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I’m so glad you can relate Stephanie! There is always a way! You’ve made a perfect example of how uni and travel can go hand in hand 😀

      Reply
  3. Petra @ The Global Couple

    So true! There’s no point delaying as you never know what may happen in a year or five. In our case, we had to return home from overseas so we could earn more money to save for our wedding next year, but we’re planning on travelling again after that! 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Absolutely! I think the most important thing is that you have plans to make your dreams actually happen. So many people I know of will sit there and say ‘oh maybe next year when I have more money’ and then when next year comes around it will be ‘just after I get this promotion at work’ and then it will be something else. As long as you know that won’t happen, then you’re still doing it the right way 😀

      Reply
  4. Laurel

    This is such a great post, but it’s definitely making me panic a bit! I’m currently at uni but have quite a few friends travelling on their gap years and I’m so envious – I didn’t have the money to do something like that. I am definitely planning to do it at some point after uni though! I would love to see a post kind of like a beginners guide to travelling the world – how you saved money, how/when to go and how to book, what to do before and during your trip, general tips and things! Would definitely be very useful as I’d love a lifestyle like yours in the future but just don’t know how to go about it! xxx

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Make a plan for it to happen, Laurel – book a flight or open a bank account for travel savings. That way you can’t back out and you’ll get to experience all the things you’ve watched everyone else do while they’ve been on their gap years!

      Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Jennifer! I think that wondering ‘what if…’ when it’s too late to change anything would be the worst thing in the world.

      Reply
  5. nottwentysomething

    I appreciate that this is meant to be inspiring but actually I find it a bit condescending to all those who are not young or have settled down. Who’s to say they are not enjoying their own life experiences by having a family? Or the TV hasn’t contributed to lifelong memories in some way? It’s pretty judgmental of you to say “I’m blown away that he could possibly waste so much money on a large box that flashes advertisements at you.”

    This statement in particular “I can see the regret behind his eyes without him actually voicing it”. Can you really? Or are you just being a little smug that you haven’t settled down yet and you’ve been lucky enough to travel the world? Just because he’s fascinated by your stories doesn’t mean he really and truly regrets having a family instead of travelling.

    “But in reality, the choice they made was to prioritise those things instead.” – so what? I agree travelling is important, seeing other cultures is important but other things are more important to other people. Life experiences are not only gained by travel and I think you need to appreciate that just because people don’t drop everything they’ve worked for to travel doesn’t mean they’re not having there own life experinces. Material things also make people happy. You may not like or understand it but they do.

    Reply
  6. Sophie

    Just read this on my lunch break at work and it’s helped me feel so inspired to travel. Me and my best friend are going to go late next year (I have a few debts to pay off first) ive never been so excited to start saving and see where it takes me!! I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that Id rather go away and experience some amazing things than have nice clothes and materialistic things. I was worried about selling my car so I could go away but going away is so much more important then a car!

    Thank you for this post :)!
    Look forward to reading more from you!

    SB x

    http://www.sophiebordenave.com

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Sophie! Looks like you’re on the right track – the best thing you can do is to have a plan, and put some actions in place for it to actually happen. Save some money, book flights or tours… anything that will set it in place to go ahead! I’m sure you will have the experience of a lifetime 😀

      Reply
  7. Joel @ Married Explorers

    Well said! We’ve always been findings ways to save money any way possible to take trips and get out of the corporate lifestyle. When a coworker recently passed away from heart attack as he was building a house in the Philippines to retire to, it really hit home for me.

    Don’t spend your life working to enjoy your time as a retiree; enjoy it now while you can and are able!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Oh wow, it’s those stories of people you know passing away before their time that really make you re-evaluate your lifestyle choices. I’m glad you’ve been able to make the most of your life in the present moment rather than pushing it back in the distant future as so many people do! Thanks for your comment Joel.

      Reply
  8. Dagmara

    This is such a great, inspirational post. I’m currently at university trying to plan some trips around it. I don’t really have anybody to travel with too, and solo travelling takes some extra courage. But this post has given me a new perspective so for that I thank you, Ashlea 🙂

    Mara // http://www.marashares.com

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Solo travel does take a little extra courage at first, but afterwards you should feel as though you can conquer absolutely anything! Kudos for making it happen while you’re at uni Mara – I know it can be hard to coordinate but you definitely won’t regret it 😀

      Reply
  9. April Flowers

    Ashlea,
    I love this post. I have been your colleague in many ways. I’ve done a lot of shoestring travel in the US but haven’t been able to make the leap yet to get out to other countries. That’s where I am now, working to make that happen… saving money and doing research to make that first big trip. *fingers crossed*

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Keep working your way towards it April – you will eventually get there! And once you do, you’ll feel such a sense of achievement 😀

      Reply
  10. Anne van Veen

    Wauw, couldn’t agree more. Still happy everyday with my living-out-of-my-suitcase lifestyle. Especially like the part about the television. It’s so true.

    Reply
  11. Leah

    $1800 on a TV makes my stomach turn. That’s easily TWO months in SE Asia! Materialism is a beast that’s not easily vanquished though, I’m afraid. It’s far too engrained in our culture at this point. Hopefully us poor travelers can change that, if only slowly!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I know, right :S Materialism is absolutely something that’s deeply ingrained in our culture. I think if we just work at it step by step, we can eventually overcome it!

      Reply
  12. Melinda DiOrio

    Thanks for the wonderful read. When I turned 30 it was the first time in my life I started feeling “regret”…I had never had that feeling before! I’ve been slipping in travel on my vacation days for the past few years, but I’ve always known that the 9-6 lifestyle is not for me. I have some big plans at the end of the year, and I’m so excited to be taking this leap! When I read blogs by 20-somethings (like yourself) traveling the world, I do feel that I’m “too old” to live a backpacker’s lifestyle. But that’s crazy for me to even think that! How can I fee too old at 30?? I wouldn’t want to say that to myself at 40, or even 50 or 60 or any age! 😉

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Melinda! It’s amazing that this sense of regret can start as early as 30, of course when you’re in your 20’s you never think about what you might wish you had have done later down the track. But you are absolutely right – it’s never too late! And kudos to you for recognising that you need to make a change and acting on it 😀

      Reply
  13. Alissa

    I completely agree! Just got back from a 2 week trip in Europe and it was amazing and I’m already planning my next few trips!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Alissa! It’s fantastic that you are on a mission to travel some more, I hope your next trips are as fantastic as the last 😀

      Reply
  14. Emma

    Absolutely love your blog! Have been reading your posts all morning and have fallen in love with your writing.

    Reply

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