What's Holding You Back?

Are you tired of home life? Do you want to travel the world? Is something holding you back from following your dreams? The answer is likely yes to all three of these questions. There’s always something holding us back, especially when it comes to traveling. We all want to travel. We all dream about seeing the world that’s out there. Yet so few of us actually do. How many of your friends have actually traveled for long terms? I know many people that are older than me that have done so, but not so many my own age. Personally most of my trips have been under a month. I’m just as guilty of this as anyone.

Last week we took a look at the three most common options for life after college. One of these options was long term travel/vagabonding. This is a topic that many 20-somethings find to be really interesting and eye-opening. Instead of leaving you hanging, today we’ll look at how you can overcome what’s holding you back from your travels:


Debt is likely the number one thing holding you back from leaving home. Debt is probably forcing you to work a job that you don’t care for. Debt likely has you stuck in a crappy situation. Plain and simple there’s nothing pleasant about debt.

What’s the solution? First and foremost, you must stop acquiring any further debt! Start to aggressively pay off your debt. You might have to work longer hours, sell your crap, or start making more money on the side. Either way you’re going to have to hustle to put extra money towards your debt. Once you pay off your debt or at least stabilize it, you can start planning your trip. Cutting down your debt can remove a lot of stress from your life. Stress that’s holding you back from chasing your dreams.

Lack of savings.

We all have it ingrained in us that long term travel is for the rich. What we fail to realize is that our own hometown has a high cost of living (I know Toronto does) and that most places around the world are pretty affordable. Another issue is that we always feel that we need to save a little bit more money before we can travel. Here’s a little secret: you will never have enough money. No matter how much money you have, you’re always going to want to have more. It’s pretty addicting. You can however set a financial goal for how much money you think you will need to travel and begin working towards it.

How can you overcome this?

  1. Create a separate sub-account with ING for this goal.
  2. Make weekly contributions to this account.
  3. Track your progress.
  4. Improve when you can.
  5. Worst case scenario– find a job where you travel to cover expenses.

Financial obligations.

Another financial roadblock is obligations. You know what I mean. Some typical financial obligations include: gym memberships, cell phone bills, rent, mortgage, debt payments, addictions, and subscriptions.

How can you deal with this? Gym memberships are fairly easy to get out of. A cell phone contract might be more tricky and you might be stuck with it. Rent, you can always get away from with a few months notice or if you wait until your lease agreement runs out. You can rent out your home when you travel. Debt payments can be made when you work jobs while you travel. Subscriptions can be canceled. I know that I simplified hours of phone  calls and paper work into 3 lines. The point here is that all financial obligations can be dealt with.

Family obligations.

This is a tough one. I have two younger brothers and I know that they need my guidance the next few years. My youngest brother especially needs me since I’m the one that takes him to the gym. This is why in the past I have only left for short periods of time. In the future when I do travel it will be for a month at a time maximum. The only real solution here is to travel in bursts. Not all of us can just get up and leave for months at a time. We don’t all have the luxury of time. We all can however take off for a few weeks here and there.

Now I want to ask you again: what’s holding you back from following your dream of traveling?

(photo credit: laura padgett)