I don’t know why so many people appear surprised by the amount of travelling I do. If you ask me, I think I don’t travel enough. Well, certainly not as much as I’d want to!
These people come in two categories. The first group imagines I make pots of money (How else does he fund his travels?!). The rest of them, who have an idea about the sad kind of salaries journalists get, cannot for their life fathom why I would spend that big a chunk of my money to, well, travel.
I decided to write this post because lately, I have been interacting with quite a few such people. Here’s why I travel.
Experiences over possessions
It’s not that I don’t like your very cool car. It’s just that my priorities are different and I’d rather visit three continents than buy one myself to go to work every day. Experiences matter so much more to me than possessions. Someone said, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” This couldn’t be any truer and this is why I choose to live this way. Experiences stay with you. Possessions don’t.
I refuse to be bound by societal norms
Finish school. Get a degree. Get a job. Get married and buy a house. Have kids. Then the same cycle starts for the little guy. That’s how the average Indian life cycle runs. I choose not to be bound by these norms.
“You’ve travelled enough! Now get married.” That’s the kind of advice I hear from relatives when we meet at social dos.
They say it with a smile and not in a rude way, but it does irritate me to no end. I don’t really blame them for thinking this way because that’s the way they’ve grown up and that’s how they’ve seen the world around them work.
I will not have it that way.
Unimportant things don’t bother me
I am surprised at how people react to things that seem so very trivial and unimportant to me. When you’ve lived on sandwiches for days because you were short on cash that time in Thailand, you kind of fail to understand the hue and cry when the price of potato increases a bit or when water supply is irregular. Why can’t you just eat something else that’s cheap? Or get water from the public tube well in an emergency? Chances are the problem will be sorted before such an emergency arises. What is the big deal?
I find money to travel (and so can you)
If you have set your priorities right, managing your finances is not as hard as you think. I will tell you how you can do it. The point is to have money to travel and also save a bit. You do want to have some money for emergencies.
Say, your take home INR25,000 a month. That comes to INR3,00,000 a year. Let’s keep INR1,00,000 from there for your retirement fund and you have INR2,00,000. That leaves you with INR16,666 a month. Let’s keep INR8,666 for monthly expenses and you have INR8,000 for your travel fund.
Now, INR8000X12= INR96,000 after a year of saving. Who’s going to Europe?
Do you earn less? Just decrease the amounts to suit your budget. Even if you earn INR20,000 a month or even a little lesser, there is no reason why you can’t save INR50,000 a year if you are focussed enough. And that, my friend, is quite a bit of money for some serious travelling.
If you want to, you will sure be able to find a hundred reasons why this very generalised calculations will not work for you. But if you really want it, you will make it work. I know I have.
That thing called perspective
Perspective is a very interesting thing. Once you’ve experienced different countries and cultures, you tend to look at things differently. Travel is a great teacher. It changes you.
But all these reasons aside, I travel because I want to. I’m happy when I’m on the move.