When we grow up many of us are taught to believe that you must go to school to get a degree in order to then get a 9 to 5 job to earn your living, to then get a house, to then have kids, and someday, when most of your prime years have passed by, to finally retire to see the world and do all the fun things you always dreamt of doing. Now that is of course if health, kids, and money don’t get in the way first. When people list their regrets later in life, they will almost always relate to things they didn’t get to do or places they didn’t get to see. Over the years I have talked with friends, family members, and co-workers about their dreams. They talked to me about wanting to see natural phenomenons and going to explore exotic locations, but a common thread I found was most only planned to go after these dreams after they retired, as if being retired gave them the ability to have this freedom they desired.
I always thought this was odd; why would you wait until you are much older to chase your dreams when it will inevitably be much harder to actively seek out what will set your soul on fire? I truly believe that if travel is a dream of yours you should go after it like you would any other more conventional or “realistic” goal. We only get one life and it is just too short to put things that make you happy on hold.
Many people tend to wait until they retire to travel. There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea:
1. Troubleshoot learn your lessons young
I have always felt that travel is one of the greatest ways to learn and is one of the greatest teachers. Learn the lessons that give you true wisdom and will carry throughout your life at a younger age.
2. Confidence booster
Traveling, especially solo, makes you realize how self-reliant you can be and that in itself gives you a massive boost of confidence; when you are in a foreign country and have only yourself to depend on to navigate through your journey you realize that you are a lot stronger and more capable than you may have thought (trust me, I know from experience).
3. It’s easier to push yourself at a younger age
Pushing your body to the limit, both physically and mentally, is both extremely challenging and extremely rewarding. While traveling, you will inevitably find obstacles where you will have to push yourself and you will be much more willing to push towards or past your limits while you are young.
4. International travel becomes physically more difficult as we age
As people get older, it gets increasingly more difficult for your body to fight off diseases and infections. Going to these international destinations may start to become a more dangerous to your health and well-being as you get older.
5. While it is morbid to think about, you could possibly die before you retire
Nothing is guaranteed in this world and, as much as all of us would like to live well past the age of retirement, that isn’t always the case. All the more reason to take charge of your life and plan travel while you are young!
6. The world is constantly changing
Given the state of unrest in the world and the ever changing landscape of geopolitics, it is entirely possible that places you want to visit upon retirement will no longer be accessible years for any number of reasons. Never assume that a destination on your travel bucket list will be there for you to visit indefinitely.
7. Retirement is no guarantee of being financially sound enough to visit all your desired travel destinations
We all dream of having a large amount of money to fall back on when we retire, but the reality is that may not be achievable for many people. Cost of living is growing at a rapid rate and many retirement funds barely have the ability to keep up with the growth. Even those that are great with their money and have invested wisely throughout their lives recognize all investing is a risk and having available funds to travel with upon retirement is not a guarantee for anyone.
It is possible for all of us to go out there and explore the world. Never believe that just because you have financial difficulties or obstacles in your way that you can’t accomplish your travel goals. If you take one piece of advice away from this it should be to not not put off travel for “someday”; the longer you put off your dreams for some arbitrary day in the future the more life will throw at you that will get in the way of those dreams. Retirement alone is becoming more of a stretch for people, especially in younger generations, and we shouldn’t use that as an excuse not to go after what we want today. Do what you can now to achieve your dreams in this moment, other than putting them in a journal setting them on bookshelf to come back to later. Live those dreams every single day and don’t put them on hold.
I want you to write out the top 10 things you want to do when you retire and then set a goal to do one or two of those things each year. Find a way to make it happen! If you have the desire and motivation to pursue those dreams, nothing will get in your way.
I would love to hear from you – share in the comments below what your top 10 retirement goals/dreams/fantasies are!