So, I get it!
It may seem contradictory to talk about living fully,, since I always write about saving and investing for the future
But stay with me…
Before my car accident last year, all I was focused on was doing the work, putting my money to work and everything else to work
However, since the accident, I knew it was time to evaluate my life choices, especially with respect to building a life and not simply making a living.
So, I am on a mission to live fully by seeking new experiences in 2018
Thanks to my husband, I already started the year on a great note; riding a bicycle for the first time and taking swimming lessons.
One of the things I also had to realize was, sometimes it’s easy to sit back and look at someone else living fully, simply envy them and not actually ‘choose’ to live fully or try to learn from them.
Kemi Onabanjo is one person that’s easy to envy.
She’s constantly seeking new experiences with travel, in a bid to experience all the world had to offer.
I read her blog post on skydiving in South Africa, last year and I, literally, felt like my life was boring. (#tears #lol #notkidding)
One of the remarkable things she has achieved is travelling to 30 countries before age 30.
So, I reached out to her to share how she achieved this feat and it was interesting to learn that she didn’t have to break the bank to travel to these countries.
She shares with us a few travel hacks you might find useful below.
Did you set a goal to achieve this feat? i.e. travel to 30 countries before 30? If you did, what was your inspiration?
I definitely set a goal to achieve this feat, as you call it. (By the way, I think I am now on 35 countries and I am 30 years old)
Travelling to 30 countries doesn’t just happen, especially with a Nigerian passport. It was a very deliberate, sometimes painful (think visas and expensive flights, whenever you convert anything from foreign currencies to Naira) labor of love, but it has definitely been fulfilling for me.
My inspiration for setting this travel goal was really about satisfying my curiosity about the world and trying not to be a local champion.
How did you make it happen in a nutshell? Any key travel hacks you can share with us?
Growing up, I always had travel on my mind, all day every day! My daydreams were always filled with thoughts of places I would like to visit and experience.
So,, step one was to have it at the top of mind as this is the only way my actions, habits and decisions could lead to the fulfillment of this goal. The Good Book (also known as the baddest book ever liveth) summarizes it very aptly ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is’.
Once my mind was set on achieving this feat, it became easier to develop the discipline to stick to the habits that could lead to its actualization.
Step two, I set up a travel fund (both in Naira and USD) and consistently saved a portion of my salary EVERY MONTH towards that fund. This was the primary way I was able to afford the flights, accommodation and other expenses associated with this goal.
I also leveraged the opportunities my work gave me to explore countries (such as staying an extra day or 2 to be a tourist in countries I traveled to for work meetings).
I had to develop a less-hate relationship with visa applications. I resorted to opening a folder on my laptop with scanned copies of all the possible documents required for visa applications. The last thing you want is to be unable to complete your visa application because your birth certificate is far away in a family house somewhere and your aged mother doesn’t know how to take a picture or scan the document to you– sure you get the point now.
One of my latest hacks for seeking new experiences on a budget was discovering I could do local trips. It is really budget friendly, especially if you join group tours .
Group tours offer a great way to outsource the logistics involved in planning a trip and also expand your network by meeting new people (and we all know your network is your net worth!). Some good local brnads doing this excellently include Social Prefect Tours, Unraveling Nigeria, Tambollo and NaijaNomads
The group tour hack can also work for international trips – there are lots of tour companies that offer great travel packages to lovely locations across Africa (think Ghana. Morroco, Rwanda, South Africa, etc) and beyond (think Dubai, U.S.A, etc).
I am a firm believer in outsourcing things to the experts – while I focus on my job and make the required money to be able to afford these trips- I let someone else focus on planning a fantastic trip for me. I iek to think of it as a win-win for everyone involved.
Key lessons to note here
- Keep your dreams at the top of your mind. nothing is impossible if you set your mind to achieving it
- Be deliberate about making it happen. Take the little steps required and keep moving
- Leverage opportunities when they come
- Find budget friendly options if you have to. You don’t need to break a bank
Most people either think they are too busy or simply can’t afford to travel? Your travel hacks help with the affordability mindset but, how about those who think they are too busy? Basically, is there a mindset required or one just needs to go for it?
Being busy is really a function of how you decide to allocate time to your priorities. No one is ever too busy to eat or go to the bathroom. You may think ‘oh! those are basic daily activities’ but the same principle extends to the ‘big things’ too.
If you prioritize experiencing all life has to offer rather than just making a living and if you make travel a priority, you will make out the time and funds to make it happen.
Personally, I take an extra 4 weeks of unpaid leave every year so that I can travel. It means less money for me, but I place more value on the experiences from my trips, than I do on that 1 month’s salary.
I prioritize travel and I make the time for it. Sometimes it is a bit inconvenient but I am lucky/blessed to work in an organization that understands personal boundaries and does its best to support its people to live beyond work.
Don’t get it wrong, I work A LOT (I have been accused of being a workaholic sometimes) because I believe that ‘whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your heart, your soul and your might’ . However, I also take the time to rest as well. There are times I take time off and just stay at home, or sometimes when I travel, I plan my trip like a sandwich (take it easy, go hard on being a tourist and take it easy again towards the end). I usually plan to return from a trip early enough (give or take 3 days before I have to resume work, where possible) so that I don’t go back to work needing a vacation from my vacation.
It is important to love yourself enough to reward yourself with rest and recreation. I cannot come and go and die because only the living can work o!
Whatever goals you are looking to achieve, ensure you enjoy the process just as much as the destination. Here’s to setting and smashing life goals in 2018!!
There you have it. Travel hacks from a queen of travel.
What do you think? Share your thoughts below
and if travel is not a priority for you, in what other ways do you plan to fully experience life? Basically, what’s on your bucket list?
You can find more details on the inspiration for this goal in my post (http://www.kemionabanjo.com/kemi-onabanjo-30-countries-by-30/)