As a kid, I spent a lot of time indoors. Unlike my sister who was an outgoing tomboy, and my brother who was a natural at sports, I was reserved and accident prone, so I found my refuge in books. Thanks to a childhood filled with fairy tales and literary classics, I minimized the usual skinned knees and bruises brought on by outdoor play, because I would curl up on my sofa and vicariously experience exciting escapades in lands that were far, far away.
However, that proclivity for interior spaces began to dwindle after a trip to New York. Suddenly, as a wide-eyed six-year-old, I was catapulted from a plain-ink-on-parchment world to a vibrant, larger-than-life place. The city’s sensory overload was palpable, whetting my appetite for exploration and travel.
Even now, travel has a spellbinding effect that continues to consume me. It has validated the power of dreaming and turned me into a go-getter. It’s also helped me embrace differences by routinely exposing me to new languages, cultures, and traditions. Plus, it’s been an unfailing guide to discovery and knowledge.
I encourage anyone yearning for a change in life to give travel a try. Here’s why:
Think about how much more we all could achieve if we freely granted ourselves permission to dream. I’m not referring to fanciful desires like winning the lottery. I mean dreams that inspire. Aspirations that give your life purpose and help you set tangible goals. The soul-stirring type that kicks you deep in the gut and propels you to get up and go.
Decades ago, if anyone had told me a little ‘country girl’ from the tiny island of Jamaica would get to visit the fascinating corners of the globe that I’ve seen, I would have laughed and told them no. Now, I’ve gradually ticked countries like Greece, Peru, Holland, Dubai, China, Egypt, South Africa, and several Caribbean islands off my bucket list because I took practical steps to make my travel dreams become reality.
American author John C. Maxwell once said, “Dreams don’t work unless you do,” and it’s true. Visioning is great, but no matter how big or small the goal, none of us will get what we want in life without taking intentional action towards it. Planning for a vacation is just one example of that. All it involves is making travel a priority after life’s essentials.
Here’s my three-step plan: 1. Save consistently. 2. Live within (or below) your means. 3. Aim for little or no debt. It’s not about what you make, but about what you save. Always strive to be purposeful about making decisions that don’t tap out your monthly salary, so you can free up disposable income. Before every big-ticket purchase, ask yourself, “Is this a need or a want?” It works wonders for fiscal restraint.
Discover Self and the World Around You
Travel takes you out of your comfort zone, teaches you a lot about yourself, and opens your eyes to the broader human experience. No two trips are ever the same, which makes you learn to adapt to unfamiliar situations.
Being away from home also adds depth to character and widens perspectives. By regularly interacting with diverse groups of people, you observe new ways of doing things, realize all the little gems you take for granted in your regular life, and discover that inconveniences you used to see as big problems are actually minor.
Ultimately, I’ve found that regardless of geographic or cultural backgrounds, people just want to be acknowledged and loved. When that lightbulb goes off, you realize that the cost of what you spend on a trip is chump change to what you gain. In fact, the most valuable transactional currencies are warm and hospitable smiles, open and non-judgmental minds, and irreplaceable memories that last a lifetime.
Learn more about Macaulay’s travels at her blog MyTravelStamps.com and Instagram.