Top 5 Ways to See the World: How to Start Traveling Now

Top 5 Ways to See the World: How to Start Traveling Now

top 5 ways to see the world

Stop Procrastinating and See the World Now

A thousand mile journey begins with one step” – Lao Zi

Top 5 ways to see the world

Or, in your case, one plane ticket. Preferably one-way.

I have tons of friends who’ve never left the country.

Who don’t even have a passport.

Who always say, ‘I’d love to get out there and see the world… when I get the time’.

The secret of traveling often and well?

There’s always time if you prioritize it, even for only 2 weeks every year.

So without further ado, here are 5 steps you can take to stop hesitating and see the world now.

Top 5 Ways to See the World

1. Break the mental barrier and buy your ticket

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This is by far the most important thing to do if you’ve never left your home or even home continent.

Those who say they’d love to start traveling inevitably see travel as something special, a big deal with life-altering ramifications.

The truth is, it’s really not that special.

Besides a few expenses, plane tickets being the biggest, travel probably won’t rock you into crisis or epiphany. Sure, it has the ability to do either of those things, but you shouldn’t think of it like that.

Going to a place with considerable tourist infrastructure is as easy as making some bookings online.

Once you stop mythologizing travel and world travelers it’s easy to take the first step – just book! Unless you’re going somewhere ‘hard’ (like China or Malawi) you don’t even have to plan ahead.

People get blocked up when they think about all the planning they have to do.

Here’s something to think about: I’ve arrived in 6 different countries (Thailand, Indonesia, Burma (Myanmar), Malaysia, Nepal, and Cambodia) with nothing booked. Nothing. No drivers, no hotels, and only a vague itinerary of what I wanted to do.

And I had a blast in every single one.

top 5 ways to see the world

The mental impediment to buying that ticket is just that – an impediment to buying a ticket. Once you’ve done that the rest will take care of itself.

2. Get your financial ducks in a row

top 5 ways to see the world

I once got robbed in Southeast Asia. I woke up in Cambodia knowing almost nobody and with no money in my pocket (read about it here).

When I got back to Thailand, I had a month of study-abroad left. My bank couldn’t send me a new card in that time frame. I had very little cash and no card. For a few weeks I would be living like a pauper. I’d spend less than $5 US a day sometimes.

Why do I relate this? Because it’s possible to get out for a long time with very little.

You don’t need to be rich or even well-off to see the world.

You’ve got the equivalent of $1500 US stashed?

Find a savvy round trip ticket for $500 (very possible) and prepare to spend another $500 more in two weeks of budget-travel.

Cost of living in developing nations is very low. Over a six month period in which I visited 7 foreign countries while living in another I spent $5000 US total. For everything. Housing, food, plane tickets, booze, domestic travel, all the stops.

top 5 ways to see the world
A zoo that’s laissez-faire with customer safety? 10 dollars. Emu attack? Free.

I could have halved it if I’d been frugal.

Finances are not a barrier to seeing the world.

Remember, travel doesn’t have to be long-term. I suggest prioritizing short, intermittent trips. Cutting out useless things (like $5 dollar coffees) and not splurging on payday will easily result in you having enough cash to get going, and very soon.

3. Find a study abroad program

top 5 ways to see the world

College isn’t cheap in a lot of places. As a former student in the United States, I can attest to that. But you know where college is cheap? In literally hundreds of other countries.

When I studied in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I paid less for housing, tuition, round trip plane tickets, and general living expenses than I would have for one semester at my in-state Colorado university.

top 5 ways to see the world

When browsing USAC programs, I saw many that were just as cheap as one semester at home, or even cheaper. In what universe would you not take advantage of that?

Studying abroad can be and often is, all things considered, straight-up cheaper, easier, and more interesting than studying at home. And there are thousands of programs.

So long as you’re at a decent (or even halfway-decent) university, you can get everything arranged for you at the study-abroad office. Or see who your school is affiliated with (USAC is a good place to start) and browse programs online.

I promise the hardest part will be figuring out which kick-ass destination to choose!

4. Get an ESL job

top 5 ways to see the world

If you can read and understand this article, congratulations! You’re likely qualified to teach English as a second language.

With little more than a TEFL certificate (and a degree for the higher-paying countries), it’s easy for English speakers (even non-natives) to find a position teaching abroad. I’ve been doing it in China, one of the stricter and higher-paying countries, for 2 years now.

top 5 ways to see the world

ESL jobs can be nightmarish if you’re being deceived and cushy as can be if you’re in the right institution. Their abundance makes finding a cushy one easy.

If you’re using this job to see the world, you’ll have a full year in a new place if you sign a legitimate contract. The vacations are long in the ESL world – 3+ months a year, usually with pay.

ESL jobs aren’t, of course, the only jobs available outside your country of residence.

Sites like goaborad.com and transitionsabroad.com make it easy to find a recruiter who’ll put you somewhere new.

However, my experience is that you not only have leverage as an ESL teacher but also a chance to really get to know the culture through one of it’s primary conveyors of culture – the educational system.

Plus, being in a new country and getting paid-vacations often puts you in the proximity of other places you haven’t been, which lead me to my next point…

5. Establish a cheap and comfortable travel-base

Top 5 ways to see the world

A travel-base is a country that’s surrounded (hopefully closely) by other countries you want to see in a region.

American citizens find it especially hard to go on many vacations to different places over the course of year because of the serious price of trans-oceanic tickets.

The best way around this is to take a 2 or 3 month work-hiatus and set yourself up in a cheap country where it would be cheap to travel to other countries.

Thailand is a perfect example of a good travel-base. It’s expat friendly, cheap, has delicious food, and surrounded on all sides by other easily-accessible countries.

I never paid more than $200 US to go to other Southeast Asian countries from Thailand. Hell, I paid about $30 to take a night bus to Malaysia.

top 5 ways to see the world

Considering the proximity and availability of boats, trains, and planes, you could ostensibly see more than half of Southeast Asia from Thailand for less than $1000 US (excluding living costs).

Europe, with it’s well-developed train system, also makes travel-basing easy. Setting up in a rural-European AirBNB for a month or so is cheaper than you think.

Having a base allows you the convenience and stability of not hauling everything with you on an extended vacation. It also saves you money and helps you get intimately acquainted with one new place while seeing many others.

Big countries like China or Russia are harder to base from, and are therefore better done as their own trip.


Why not go now?

Seeing the world is not scary, and it’s certainly not a hassle if you do it right. You don’t have to see everything at once, but you have to start somewhere.

I promise that once you’ve arranged one independent trip for yourself that you’ll be infinitely more open to arranging others.

Seeing the world shouldn’t be a distant goal. With intermittent travel-stints the Earth is at your fingertips.

Imagine going to 2 unique destinations a year – in 10 years, you’ll have been to 20 different awesome places and probably more than 10 countries.

That’s more than most people can say.

It’s up to you to take that first step. And, Luckily for everyone, a thousand miles is a much shorter distance in the modern world.


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