Millennials have a reputation for valuing experiences over material purchases. They prefer posting to social media about what they’re doing rather than the things they’ve bought. And as this generation has become America’s largest consumer demographic, their influence in this regard has spread, with a particular emphasis on travel.
The travel bug predates millennials, but people of all ages are now more likely to travel. It’s a wonderful way to experience the world, and research shows that such experiences enhance gratitude and social behavior. Travel makes you happy, and it improves your relations with other people.
Traveling may be the best way to invest in yourself. It enriches you as a person. But before most people get to travel, they need to adjust their lifestyle. You probably don’t want to travel the world broke or come home with a mountain of debt to pay off. Here are some prior investments you can make in order to enable that lifestyle change.
Acquire career capital
Whether you’re going on a road trip or taking a flight overseas, travel will require time and money. The dilemma most people face is that they are constantly leveraging time to make money. Our jobs require us to clock in for a certain number of hours in return for financial compensation.
In general, however, better jobs afford you more flexibility. If you work your way up the career ladder, most employers allow you to take more time off. You may also enjoy flexible working arrangements. When you can work remotely, bringing a laptop or tablet on your travels can prolong the experience indefinitely as long as you have a good connection.
What you need to make that happen is something author Cal Newport calls “career capital”. Landing a job that pays well, working for an employer who gives you flexibility; these things require you to become more valuable as an employee first. The same concept applies to entrepreneurs or the self-employed individuals. If you want your venture to succeed, or your freelance work to draw more clients, you need to bring unique value to the table.
Building career capital is the first essential investment in enabling a life of travel. Whatever industry you’re working in, observe which skills are rare and in high demand. Mastering such a skill will make you a more valuable asset. You can leverage that into a position where you enjoy a higher level of compensation and autonomy.
Most people will think in financial terms when you mention investments, and it’s certainly an area you can’t ignore. Even young people in entry-level jobs can travel if they budget correctly, but you don’t want to live from paycheck to paycheck. That sort of lifestyle isn’t sustainable.
There are plenty of resources available when it comes to achieving financial stability. Of course, career progression helps in this regard. A steady income that nets more than enough to meet your needs is the first piece of the puzzle. Once you have a surplus, you need to study how to grow that wealth.
Financial management is a multi-faceted skill. Broadly speaking, though, you want to exercise discipline in your spending while investing money in passive revenue streams. This will allow you to grow your wealth without having to invest substantially more time and effort.
Health and well-being
With the right job and financial arrangements, you thus have two pieces of the puzzle in place. You are assured of steady cash flow while having the time to spare. You also have emergency funds and some long-term investments so that your travel lifestyle will be sustainable.
The final investment base you need to cover is your health and well-being. Being in a sound state of mind and body will enhance your enjoyment of each trip. It also extends your longevity. You’ll get to keep on traveling long after others of your age group have settled down in assisted living facilities or need to spend more on healthcare.
Start taking better care of yourself. Exercise regularly, and explore a wider range of natural movements than we typically use each day. Observe proper nutrition and detoxify your life from any negative substances or influences. Become an avid learner, and discipline your use of technology so that you aren’t bombarded with anxiety-inducing noise from online news and social media.
Travel experiences can definitely make you a better person. And if you truly embrace this lifestyle, making the effort to enable a lifetime of sustained travel will also touch upon and improve your career, finances, and health. Those investments alone are rewarding enough.