How Traveling After A Job Loss Made Me Rich
I’ll never forget the day that my boss called me into his office to tell me that due to a company contract loss, they were making staff cuts...and that unfortunately one of those cuts was my position.
I immediately began to get stressed. In addition to my rent, car note, and every day bills that I now had to worry about paying without steady income, I had a bigger problem: I’d already had two vacations planned and booked over the course of the next few months.
I knew that money was going to be tight until I found a new position, and that I should avoid spending money on anything unnecessary...including a vacation. In fact, going on a vacation should have been the very last thing on my mind. So I did what I thought was right: I went on both trips anyway.
Now, while some would consider this “irresponsible” or even “reckless”, I would say that doing so was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Why? Read on...
You see, prior to this, I would only travel in 3-4 day increments, usually over a weekend so that I didn’t have to burn up too much of my vacation time at work. I would cram as much as I could into one trip, often resulting in me falling into expensive tourist traps and spending more money than I was spending time learning about and enjoying my destination. Before I knew it, I had reached the end of my vacation, and was once again facing and dreading the reality of the rat race back at home.
However, by not having a job to rush back home to, I finally had the opportunity to slow down and to enjoy all of the sights and sounds around me. By not having to worry about how many e-mails were steady piling up in my work Inbox, or how many fires that I’d have to face and put out when I returned, I learned how to relax and actually enjoy a stress-free vacation.
I took the time to meet and converse with locals as well as other tourists. I was spontaneous and ventured outside of the tourist areas. I had the opportunity to think about and to tune into myself and my own needs and desires. I slept in. I spent hours on the beach, just listening to the sound of the ocean and taking in the breeze. I even went so far as to extend one of my trips not just once, but twice. I learned how to live in the moment.
By making the decision to proceed with my travels regardless of my situation, I learned that there was so much more to life than just working a 9-5, living for the weekends, and rushing through the few vacations that I was “approved” to take. Outside of my everyday routine, worries, and fears, there were people who were waiting to be met, cultures that were waiting to be explored, and places that were waiting to be discovered. By making the decision to travel anyway, I was actually able to meet those people, explore those cultures, and discover those places.
During a time where I should have felt as though my entire world was crashing down around me, I instead felt free.
Losing my job may have temporarily taken away my income, but by choosing to travel despite my circumstances, I gained priceless moments and friendships. If I had chosen to cancel those trips, I never would have learned how to be a traveler as opposed to a tourist. I never would have learned that you don’t need to be rich to travel, and that you don’t need money to be rich. Furthermore, I never would have learned that when you travel, you become rich with experiences...and that is something that no one can take away.
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