Jennifer is planning to go on a great travel adventure with her friend Beverly. The two have been talking about traveling long term for years, and now they’ve decided not to wait any longer.
They’ve set a target date to leave and are now figuring out all they need to do. One of the main things Jennifer will need to do is to simplify her lifestyle.
Simplification is a necessity for anyone who wants to venture out into the world of long-term travel – unless she has a very comfortable trust fund – and Jennifer doesn’t.
It sounds so easy to simplify. Stop eating dinner out. Take your lunch to each at the office. Avoid shopping with girlfriends. Eliminate some channels from your cable bill. Start consuming all the food in the freezer and pantry. And on and on.
Unfortunately, living a life of simplicity is actually far more difficult than it sounds. Giving up even small luxuries isn’t easy. We in the UAE., in particular, have been consumers from birth. It almost seems to be part of our DNA.
Because it’s always been part of our daily lives, we know no other style, and we rarely recognize what big consumers we are. And even though Jennifer has made a conscious decision to stop over-consuming, it’s very difficult for her to change her behavior.
Simplification Isn’t Easy
Jennifer, put down that AED 900 pair of jeans.
Jennifer, stop the acrylic nail manicure sessions every second week.
If Jennifer wants to travel long-term, everything she spends money on needs to be considered in light of what the purchase will mean to her travel fund.
But while she’s still in her hometown, going to a job every day, and fulfilling all the typical obligations of her daily life, just identifying the activities and behaviors that could be simplified is difficult because the reward is still not tangible.
Yes, Jennifer knows that she needs to save money more than ever before if she’s going to be able to embark on her grand adventure. But cutting expenditures often feels like punishment and can even make her resent her decision to go traveling.
And if she does decide to stop eating dinners out or buying some of the latest fashions, pressure from friends might force her to accept an invitation for a girls’ night out.
She promises herself that it’ll be the last one, but a few weeks later, her friends want to go out to celebrate someone’s birthday or engagement or whatever.
Sometimes her stay-at-home friends want her to go out shopping for some new clothes. Jennifer finds it very difficult to go along and not pull out the credit card for just one item that’s so very cute. How could she pass it up?
It Will Be Easier on the Road
Once on the road, Jennifer will find it easier to simplify than when she’s still at home trying to cut expenditures for her upcoming travel adventure. Once she’s on the road, she’ll easily see how splurging on a dinner will deplete her travel fund.
But when still at home and trying to save money, a dinner out seems like such a normal event that Jennifer doesn’t see the immediate effect. Besides, she doesn’t yet have the reward of all the joys she’ll experience day after day.
As hard as it was, Jennifer started simplifying. And so should you. Simplify your life as much as possible when you’re still at home. Think about exchanging dinner out for time. The money you save buys you more time.
If you simplify before you hit the road, you’ll already be somewhat in that mode once you’re out traveling.
When it comes to traveling, the only possession that is critically important to travelers is time. Time is your new currency.