Alyssa and I have met a lot of young people while traveling the country this past year. A lot of them have told us they would love to do what we are doing, but don’t think it’s reasonable for them. While I always try to explain that it’s perfectly reasonable for them to do it, I don’t think they believe me.
As I mentioned in a recent blog post, an on-going comment on articles that were written about our travels was that we were “trust fund kids.” The assumption that we were only able to travel because our parents were rich and gave us money couldn’t be further from the truth. Our parents were gracious enough to help with the costs of our wedding (which we tried to do very inexpensively), but the costs of our travels lie solely with us.
It makes me wonder why people make comments like that, when they don’t know the truth about a person. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because they need an excuse for not stepping out of their own comfort zone. If Alyssa and I were just normal people (we are), then they would have no excuse for putting up with their own lives. Instead of facing reality, which is they could do it if they wanted to, they choose to create false excuses for why they aren’t qualified to travel.
The honest truth is, Alyssa and I were less qualified than most people to quit our jobs, self-fund a 7 month honeymoon, film a documentary, and kick start a life of travel and writing together. We simply made a conscious choice to pursue a life of adventure together, even if that meant failing miserably and looking a bit ridiculous in the process.
In honor of all those people who make excuses for not chasing after what they want, I’ve written down ten excuses Alyssa and I could have made instead of traveling the country this past year.
- We need steady income and financial stability, we can’t quit our jobs at 23 to travel the country. That’s irresponsible.
- We should stick around and work for a few years to save up before going on any kind of extended trip.
- The normal couple just does a week long honeymoon on a beach somewhere in Mexico, we should be normal.
- We have never traveled this much before, we don’t know enough about the country to make this work.
- We’ve never filmed a documentary or worked with video, we probably shouldn’t commit to making a feature-length documentary.
- We’ve never been paid to be writers before, we probably couldn’t make that work while traveling on the road.
- We know nothing about RV’s, it’s crazy to think about buying one and living in it full-time. What about all our clothes and belongings?
- What about student loan debt? We can’t just ignore the responsibility to pay off our debt.
- We’re just too young to do something like this. We should play it safe in our jobs and maybe we’ll do something crazy in a few years.
- We shouldn’t leave Austin, we have a community here, friends, and people who love us. It’s fun and comfortable.
We need steady income and financial stability, we can’t quit our jobs at 23 to travel the country. That’s irresponsible.Some might say so, but since I’ve been back in Austin I’ve seen a “Now Hiring” sign on every other corner. People are hiring anyone with a semi-decent work ethic. While we could have convinced ourselves we were too young to make this trip happen, I knew the worst thing that could happen was we would run out of money, gave it our best shot, and had to start all over with a new job and limited finances. The best thing that could happen was we made a trip of a lifetime work, learned more about life, work, and ourselves than we could have imagined and kickstarted the kind of lifestyle we’ve always dreamed of living. We should stick around and work for a few years to save up before going on any kind of extended trip.It sounds reasonable right? It’s less of a leap of faith if you’ve been building a bridge to cross. The only problem with this excuse is what happens in a few years? Kids. Mortgage. Other responsibilities. Then more excuses. The normal couple just does a week long honeymoon on a beach somewhere in Mexico, we should be normal.Somebody smart once said everything popular isn’t good and everything good isn’t popular… or something like that. Just because everyone else is doing something, doesn’t make it the best or “right” way to go. Alyssa and I often joke about how much we would have missed out on had we simply done a week in Cancun and then went back to our day jobs. It feels like we’ve been married in dog years because we work within ten feet of each other and are literally never apart. Alyssa gets the best part of my day (energy and happiness), instead of only getting what’s left after clocking out at 5PM. It makes the world of difference to our relationship. We have never traveled this much before, we don’t know enough about the country to make this work.I always thought traveling was for hippies with long hair and people who have a bunch of money to spend. I was neither. I’m a former college athlete from a middle class, loving family. I didn’t fit the description for rich kid or pot-smoking hippie. But I was wrong on both fronts, traveling is an open invitation for anyone willing to step outside of normal and average into a life of adventure and risk. We’ve never filmed a documentary or worked with video, we probably shouldn’t commit to making a feature-length documentary.We agreed to film a documentary with next to no experience in film. We could have said no, but it was on my bucket list to film a documentary one day. These kinds of opportunities you just don’t say no to… well you can, but you shouldn’t. We’ve never been paid to be writers before, we probably couldn’t make that work while traveling on the road.Before Hourly America, Alyssa and I had never been paid to be writers. When we started traveling our lives consisted of hustling out as many blog posts per week to try to make ends meet. We weren’t paid writers when we started, but we sure as heck are now. We know nothing about RV’s, it’s crazy to think about buying one and living in it full-time. What about all our clothes and belongings?RV’s are for retired folk, right? I thought the gas alone would break our bank. But just like with most unknown things, they seem big and scary from far off but once you analyze them and break them down they’re not so bad. RVing was kind of like that, it seemed daunting when we first starting looking at RV’s but once we embraced the lifestyle it became normal. What about student loan debt? We can’t just ignore the responsibility to pay off our debt?Of all the excuses, this one is most legit. I graduated with around $27k in student loan debt and only paid off $400 of it last year. We didn’t take out any loans for our travels or go into any other kind of debt at all, but we didn’t actively fight debt like we are doing this year with RV VS. Student Loan Debt. Ultimately, it all came down to the right timing. We had to quit our jobs and make a big leap of faith, but even with our student loan debt it made more sense to go and travel at this point in our lives. We were able to make it work through finding our sponsorship, but now this year we’ve ramped up our debt paying process. We’re just too young to do something like this. We should play it safe in our jobs and maybe we’ll do something crazy in a few years.Alyssa and I have met a lot of couples in their later years who love hearing about our travels. When they’ve passed along their wisdom, they encouraged our travels for one of two reasons. 1) They traveled a lot when they were young and realize how beneficial it was in their lives or 2) They wished they would have traveled more. No one regrets traveling across the country, but they regret not traveling. We shouldn’t leave Austin, we have a community here, friends, and people who love us. It’s fun and comfortable.Through our church we felt a lot of pressure to stay in a close knit community because of how beneficial “couple-community” can be. While this may be true, Alyssa and I have been able to depend on each other throughout this past year and we both feel like that’s help strengthen our relationship as a couple. We didn’t have a ton of other friends to hang out with on the road while we were in places like Iowa (or really, anywhere), so we learned how to spend all of our time together.
Here’s What I Learned About Traveling While You’re Young
Ultimately, there is never going to be a good time to travel in your life.
When you’re young you have the time and the energy, but not the means.
When you’re middle aged you have the means and the energy, but not the time.
And when you’re old you have the time and the means, but not the energy.
No matter what, travel will always be something that invites excuses to be made. All of the green lights will never align and there won’t be a huge sign from Heaven that tells you to sell your house, buy an RV and travel. You just have to decide to go and make it happen on your own.