Each year, the one thing is always look forward to is travel. I love exploring the world, getting lost in new places and experiencing what the world has to offer. One of the best feelings is finally being able to take in the sight of a place I have always wanted to visit.
I simply love traveling. A quick look at my Instagram will confirm this. I’ve been around a few places.
Having been born in Europe, I did a majority of my traveling when I was young. Each holiday, my mother would take me somewhere new, be it too see the beach in Bulgaria, try the amazing calamari in Greece or to spend a white Christmas in Germany.
My mother loved discovering new places and trying out new traditions, which is a love she eventually passed onto me. We had a blast traveling together when I was young and made a lot of good memories.
At the age of 12, I embarked on what was to be the biggest journey of my life to date. With all our belongings packed into a suitcase, we moved to the land of opportunity and kangaroos: Australia.
I still remember how gruelling and long the flight was. We spend 32 hours on planes, tired, grumpy, anxious yet excited for what was to come. This was almost 10 years ago and now I can proudly call Australia home.
After migrating, we didn’t really have a lot of money. In Europe, we lived a very comfortable lifestyle that enabled us to afford quite a few luxuries, with my mom being able to provide for us generously.
In Sydney however, the story was a little bit different.
I wouldn’t say we were poor, but we were definitely struggling. My mom wasn’t able to get her any overseas qualifications recognised, when in Romania she studied medicine and even worked as a surgeon for a while.
We ended up having to work minimum wage jobs just to make ends meet. At the age of 14 I got my first job, earning a whopping $8 per hour. It was then that I truly learned the value of money and hard work.
As you can imagine, there was no travel for a long time!
Not only did we not have any money, we were also geographically isolated. Compared to Europe, Australia was literally on the edge of the world.
Eventually, we got on our feet financially. Soon after I was able to move away from home in order to finish high school and start university.
My mother still supports me a lot to this day, whether it is emotionally, encouraging me to chase my dreams or providing a nest away from home. I love her a lot and I credit her for the person I am today.
Once I was out of home, the travel bug bit! Boy, had I missed it!
Both my partner and I wanted to explore the world, so after high school we decided to take a gap year and travel.
Everything we earned went into our travel fund. To maximise our savings, we lived with family and friends to save on rent, while also both working two jobs.
Our hard work got us to the beautiful beaches of Greece, the breathtaking sights of Italy, the rainy country side of Germany, the Eiffel tower in France and of course, to see my family in Romania.
We also somehow managed to squeeze in a trip to Japan, which turned out to be my favourite destination to date.
Last year, our savings managed to get us to Japan yet again, the place both me and my partner were dying to go back to. We had an amazing time, amidst a few hiccups along the way, and would do it again in a heartbeat.
This all brings us right to the now.
We got back from our latest big trip early December last year, and ever since then I’ve been toying with an idea. My partner and I have talked it over and the consensus is unanimous.
We have decided to take a year off travel.
Well, really, I have decided to take a year off travel, since my partner will be visiting his family in Melbourne next month. That’s technically still traveling in my books!
There are lots of reasons. The biggest one is probably because I feel like this year I need a break. I feel like last year was so fast paced and passed in the blink of an eye.
Also, planning for a trip is kind of exhausting.
As a broke student, or just broke person in general, I have to calculate everything to the dollar and traveling was no different. We had to set up a travel budget, make a saving plan and ensure that we hit each target before our trip. This requires a lot more effort than just buying a plane ticket.
The second reason is because this year I want to focus on building up my financial security.
That means that I want to get that emergency fund where it should be.
It also means that I want to invest a lot more than I have been into assets. Basically, this year I want to grow that net worth as much as possible.
It costs quite a bit to travel and we have to work very hard to save that money. Every time we come back from a holiday, our savings are drained and we are back to being broke.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being broke. I want to be rich! I want to be comfortable!
In order to achieve my goals for this year, I have decided to change my habits a little and cut off some luxuries. With traveling being the biggest luxury of all, I have decided to axe this one first.
This is not to say that traveling has to leave you broke.
It is just saying that this year, instead of choosing to invest in an experience, I am choosing to invest in an asset.
Of course, there is no reason why you can’t do both. I actually wrote a post on how you can make travel affordable here.
Don’t get me wrong, the travel bug is still there!
I would love nothing more than to go on a Caribbean cruise, island hop around Vietnam and Thailand and give my partner his first white Christmas in Europe.
However, traveling just isn’t in the cards right now.
And that’s okay. I’m sure next year I will be sitting here telling you a very different story.
I am a big advocate that you should do what is right in your situation. I am also a big advocate that one should strike for balance, especially when it comes to money: spend some, save some and invest some.
This year, I have chosen to invest more rather than spend, and that is why I am taking a year off travel.
As usual, I want to know more about you. What is one thing you are doing this year in order to reach your financial goals?
Let me know in the comments below!
Being broke is temporary. Being rich is a journey.