Pity, Envy, and why anyone can travel

Pity, Envy, and why anyone can travel

Do you know what pity looks like?  You know, the look you get when someone realizes that you go without something they view as an absolute necessity.

Cars-in-DrivewayI’ve gotten that look before.  Most of my friends are baffled by the fact that my wife and I share a car.  We have a crappy, hand-me-down couch that elicits pity.  We have not shopped for new clothes in years.  I’m serious.  Sometimes I have pity on myself when I look in my closet and see the same clothes that have been hanging there for years.  We don’t live in a big house.  We don’t have cable TV.

50 years ago the average American house was half the size it is today and nobody had cable TV.

But still, by today’s standards, aren’t we pitiful?

From those same friends who pity the fact that Monica and I have to communicate and coordinate our days because we share a car, we hear things like this…

“You’ve skied 40 days this winter?  I just can’t afford a pass to go skiing…”

“That’s so cool you’re going camping next week.  I just don’t have time…”

“I wish we could afford to travel…”

Without missing a beat they go from pity to envy without even a notice that the two are related.

I’ll be honest with you.  I wouldn’t mind having a second car.  I’d like a nicer couch.  I would really like to take all of my clothes to the Good Will and buy an entire new wardrobe.  I really don’t want a big house–it’s too much to take care of–but I would not mind a little extra space.  I think it’d be great to have cable TV so I could watch a game.

But I gave up all that stuff so that I could travel.  That’s why I don’t have an ounce of envy when I go to my friends big house to watch a game on his big TV while sitting on his big comfy couch.  It’s nice.  But there’s no envy.

I’ve given up those things though for something I value more.  I just wonder if he realizes that he gave up travel for something he valued more.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But if you really want to travel, you can travel.

Don’t tell me that what you really want to do is travel but that you can’t afford it when there are two cars sitting in your driveway and we’re watching cable TV.

Anyone can travel.  Really.  Anyone can travel.

Maybe you’re cursing under your breath right now because you live in a little house with a crappy couch and no cable TV.  Like me, you’d like to throw all your clothes in the trash and go out and buy a whole new wardrobe.  You’ve already cut out all the frills and you still don’t have money to travel.

I just did a Google Search on “family vacation packages.”

The first options that came up advertised rates of about $400 per person, per night!  If you’re suffering from a bad case of wanderlust and turn to Google for help I can see how quickly you’d get discouraged.

Can-anyone-travel-When Monica and I were first married we used to stay at great hotels and all-inclusive resorts.  We’d drive up to San Francisco and drop a few thousand dollars over a weekend and think nothing of it.  But as our income dropped and kept dropping we still had an unquenchable thirst for travel.  That’s when we started to get creative.  We were not willing to give up travel.  So we had to figure out a new way of doing it.  Now, on the other side of the Great Recession, we make a lot less money and travel a whole lot more than we used to.  Here are 10 of our favorite ways that we do it.

One of our favorite ways to travel is to camp.  If you think about spending a hundred dollars a night (or hundreds!) on a hotel room, then going out to dinner for all of your meals, then needing to spend more money to entertain yourself — yep, that sounds expensive.  But camping is cheap.  You cook your own meals (you were going to eat at home anyway, right?), and rather than paying for entertainment you go on a hike or a bike ride!

I can’t afford to drop a few thousand bucks on a weekend of galavanting in San Francisco anymore. But thankfully I can camp in Half Moon Bay right on the beach for a fraction of that cost.

Then we’ll come home and you can pity me for the couch I’m sitting on while you envy me for the stories I tell of our family travel adventures.

Do you REALLY want to travel?

I mean you really, really, really want to travel.  You don’t just say it.  You’re suffering from wanderlust like it’s nobody’s business and you don’t know how to do it.  I’m part of a Facebook Group full of families who are living a travel lifestyle.  This post was part of a group writing project on the topic of why anyone can travel by several of those families.  I can only write from my perspective and my experience.  Maybe one of these authors will speak to your heart in a unique way.  Give them a look.

Anyone can travel by Mary of Bohemian Travelers

Diet shouldn’t stop you from travelling by Amy of Livin’ on the Road

If Anyone Can Travel Why Don’t You? by Keryn of Walkingon Travels

Anyone can do this! by Kate of Experiential Family

Not Everyone Can Travel by Alisa of  Living Outside of the Box

You Have to Be Special Like Us if You Want an Awesome Life by Rachel of Discover Share Inspire

True Story: Single mother from Bushwick, Brooklyn, funds long-term trip without having to sell a kidney by Melissa of Break Out of Bushwick

Anyone Can Travel, Just Let Go by Diya at a Minor Diversion

Travel Possible? by Jarrad of Wandering Photographer

Even solo mamas on government handouts can travel by Jody of Solo Mama Travels

A Family Travel Lifestyle by Loreena of Little Aussie Travellers

Why anyone can travel by Lisa of New Life on the Road

Only the Very Special, Lucky, Rich, and Perfect (Like Me) Can Travel by Gabi of the Nomadic Family

Our path to becoming lucky enough to travel by Sabina at A King’s Life

Want more help?  Here’s a great way to start setting and achieving your goals.  But the best thing you can do is get connected with other people who share your goals.  Reach out, let’s get connected, and let’s support one another.  You can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter or RSS.

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  • This is just so true Clark! It’s all about REALLY knowing what you want. Sure, I could be a multimillionaire if I worked 150hours a week and never saw my children, but I don’t WANT to be one. Anyone can do or be anything they set their mind to, they just have to be willing to cop the consequences.
    So, for many people, giving up the big house, flash cars and hotels just isn’t an option and that’s OK! We love to camp, we don’t value material possessions (not that we don’t like them!) but it’s worth it for us to sacrifice that so we can travel more with our children. Great post!

  • It’s so funny because when we found out we were having a second child a friend asked us when we would be buying a bigger house. We have a very small 3 bedroom ranch, isn’t that enough house? I mean really, I can barely keep this place clean as is. A bigger house would also equal a bigger mortgage. Why would I take that on when I have so many places to go! It really is all about what you prioritize. We have friends that TALK about traveling a lot. The same friend that asked us when we were buying a bigger house also told me they were planning on going to Japan last spring. They never did make it. We actually did go to Japan last spring. It was amazing and I would take Japan over a bigger house any day. Thanks for sharing your passion for travel with us all!

  • Yeah! There are others out there with the same values. My husband is a teacher, and I’ve given up my corporate work to be a full-time mom… primarily to give our family time to travel and explore during all that time my husband has off. Yes, I could work, too, but, why…. for a bigger house? So I wouldn’t have the time to spend with my family? For more clothes? At the end of my life, I don’t think I would look back and say, “wow, look at all the stuff I accumulated!”. I’d rather look back and remember all the fun things we DID.

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