As soon as I have enough money in my bank account for a flight, I book one. Even if it means there’s 0.05c remaining.
Come boarding time, I inevitably have not saved ‘enough’ for my weeks across the seas.
But what does enough even mean? Enough to buy a heap of clothes that you could probably buy in Australia anyway? Enough to stay in a hostel with a slightly better rating on Hostel World? Enough for peace of mind?
Stuff peace of mind!
The wildest adventures happen because things don’t go according to plan; the greatest stories come from the creative ways you approach free food or cheap transport and a roof over your head.
I booked a plane to Spain when I was 20. As the calendar pages were swiftly turning I realised (surprise, surprise) I wouldn’t have enough for my looming seven-month adventure. I had to think quickly and I had to think smart.
I decided to turn to the one place I could access everyone I knew: Facebook. I wrote a status with a list of cities I was hoping to make my way through and asked if anyone knew a person or family in those areas. The responses were overwhelmingly positive. A couple of months later I was waking up on the top floor of a windmill overlooking the Belgian countryside, with a French family in the television industry calling me down for a hot breakfast.
A year later I was walking the streets of Malaysia and heard there was a man in a shack a two-hour drive away who could offer me a mountain climb at half the rate than every tourist place in the city. I was so low on cash, but so desperate to climb this mountain that I decided to wing it anyway. I jumped in a van of non-English-speaking locals and silently made my way. I climbed that mountain at an impossibly low price and was treated to an insane feast of wild pig and emu at the bottom. Maybe if I’d had enough money I would have booked a mountain climb tour in the city and never thought to search for an alternative method. I’m so glad I had a limited budget.
I’ve hitchhiked because I couldn’t afford to drive. I’ve slept on a stranger’s kitchen floor because I couldn’t afford Sweden’s exorbitant prices. I’ve slept on the beach in Italy because I couldn’t afford a hotel. (Oh, and hey! I’m a girl!)
There are misconceptions about how much you need in order to have the best trip of your life. Advertising will tell you that a tour is the only way to go, society will tell you that you must uphold a particular lifestyle while you’re on the road. If you want to leave and you’re ready to then go. Challenge yourself to live minimally. Buy a flight, pack a tent and get out of here. You need just as much courage as you do funds. Use your common sense, trust others and say yes. You can’t fathom the adventure that awaits you.