There’s a couple people in my life that have been saying they are going to make a major life change for years now. I know that feeling. I kept waiting for the right time, the right plan, the right amount of money to get me out the door.
Guess what? It never came. It doesn’t ever come. I still had to jump, kicking and screaming, not fully prepared and frankly more than a little scared.
And for those people in my life, waiting? It’s not going to come for them either. Unless you get hit by a truck, you’re not likely to stop what you’re doing and focus instead on what you want to be doing. We procrastinate. We weigh options. We wait. The reality is we get comfortable in our lives and many times don’t have the burning desire it take the leap and make it happen right now.
I’m a seasoned traveler who has pushed the limits and took the risk to travel the world. I hope the tips below help you. Adjust according to your situation and what you would like to make happen in your life.
It’s completely psychological, but you can get past it:
- Start telling people what you’re going to do.
Have conviction, believe it and make other people believe it.
- Pick a date under 6 months.
Anything more than that and it becomes the “far off future”.
- Make a financial commitment.
Put a big hunk of change down on your plan. Buy the plane ticket to Europe, put a deposit on a language school in Central America, pay the deposit on the volunteer program in Thailand.
- Don’t worry about all the details.
Most of them don’t matter. I had spreadsheets of stuff I wanted to get done before I left traveling the world and only half of it got finished.
- Drop your other commitments now.
Yes you’re not leaving the country until 6 months til now, but don’t wait until the last minute to excuse yourself from those time sappers now. (Your job is an exception).
- Make a list of 5 major things you need to get done before you go.
That’s your to do list. This will force you to make decisions about what’s really important and what you have to spend your time on.
- Start living your new life now.
If you’re traveling for a year, then you don’t need to buy new work clothes, do you? Start making decisions in your life like you’re already in the new life you want.
- Keep your energy up and keep yourself inspired.
Read travel blogs. Watch movies based in your future destination. Find songs that make you excited about your trip. Look for books about people who have done similar things.
- Act as if you already know 100% that this will work out.
Having second thoughts? Feel a little panicky? What if you knew for sure you’d be happy, that this would all be fine? Those of us on the other side know that, and this stress you’re feeling is totally normal and not a predictor of the quality of your decision. Do whatever it takes to convince yourself of this, and the rest will catch up.
Let’s see, where I am up to:
- Done. This is all we talk about with friends and family (probably annoying them)
- Date picked, but it’s 9 months away (quit job is 6 months away)
And 4, 7 & 9 – Good to know!
In 1966, I planned to emigrate to Australia when my parents passed on. Guess what? 43 years on, and my father is still with us!
However, looking back, I’m glad I stayed here, because I like travelling, and almost everywhere is much more accessible.
Life change is never easy, most of it is never planned. It is like jumping with your eyes closed and just see what happens.
I always wanted to travel around the world but it never happened till a major life event. Now that I have tried it, I never regretted nor looked back.
This is an excellent expansion of the list you gave me as advice a number of months ago. I think I have completed all 9 and now am just waiting for June to arrive.
As you know, I was a nervous wreck when we first decided but you were right and telling people was the tipping point for us. Now, our upcoming year of travel is a quiet reality.
Our whole life is focused on this goal and nothing is purchased or done unless it will fit in our backpack or directly influence our travels.
Thanks again for your inspiration and support!!
Major life change is never easy, but it can be very gratifying. The idea of starting now is an important one. Do something. Anything. That will let you understand your long-term reward for the change. Happy traveling.
Great tips! I’m in the middle of making a major life shift myself and I’ve done all of the above (except for “Make a list of 5 major things you need to get done before you go” – haven’t done that yet). I’ve found that the biggest impetus is telling others what you plan on doing, but also telling them you are planning on doing it on a certain or by a certain day. That makes it real to you and to the people you told it too…and I hate to embarrass myself by saying I’m going to do something and then not following through. I’d rather follow through and fail than be someone too scared to take a chance. Great post!
I also live in Seattle.
Keep up the words of encouragement and reminders to your readers that life is simply too short – this post is great.
I am on the verge of self-employment and was forced there by a lay-off from my regular gig. A lot of what you list here reflects how I have had to react in order to prepare for such a significant change of lifestyle. And yes, I know that it will all work out 100%!
By Nomadic Matt
Tomorrow never comes and now is never a right time. You are right. You just have to jump. Life always finds its way to work out for the best.
By Bert and Patty
Such great advice….we have been planning for 2 1/2 years now and have 6 months to go before we leave on our 9 month adventure—maybe longer if the opportunity arises and then we are moving to scotland…..you are right, just do it now….good to read your post because it confirms that we are on the right track….maybe we will cross paths at some point.
I remember going through these steps before my move to Korea, and I’m sure I’ll go through it again for my next move. I think telling people you’re going to do something makes the decision feels real. It also makes you accountable: you don’t want to be a liar now, do you?
Great advice and list.
1,2,3,4,6,8,9 all check! My friend is doing travelling in September for a year with her boyfriend and two friends and the more she talked about it the more I wanted to do it to which she replied ‘what don’t you?!’. So I am. Not for a year though, just for 3 weeks around South East Asia without the other half…I’m hoping that after 9 years of severe clinical depression it will help me at least find the path to my own happiness. I’m so excited I think my family are getting sick of hearing about it already! S xx
Your posts are a wealth of information and they’re helping me stay motivated. I love #4 – it’s so easy to get caught up in “planning” and trying to take care of too many things before leaving. It’s great to know that you didn’t cross everything off the list either 😉
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Excellent post. I’m writing that list down ASAP. Keep it up!