There’s no doubt that international travel is an expensive hobby to have. Airfares cost a bomb (particularly when you live Down Under), accommodation can be even more expensive (hello Manhattan!), and if you have a penchant for fine dining, Michelin star-style, then you better start saving like mad. In addition, if you’ve quit your job to travel for an extended period of time, don’t forget to factor in the income that you’re forgoing as well.
Disregarding the massive hit to my bank balance in the immediate term however, I always think of travel as an investment, and as with any investment (can you tell that I’m an accountant?), you’re always looking for a good return on your investment. It won’t be a return in a financial sense, unless you’re one of those lucky few that has somehow combined your career with travel, but in the sense of life experiences and memories.
What are some of the returns from my investment in travel? I have thousands of memories in film and digital photos, with each one instantly transporting me back to a time and a place far from home. I have met so many new friends that are now dotted around the world, and share memories with them that we can relive over beers. I have loads of funny moments, interesting conversations, beautiful faces, but also some not-so-great experiences that have been etched into my mind. I have numerous notebooks that are full of my scribbled travel journal memories, to be relived at a later date in case my memory fails me. And I can say “hello”, “thank you” and “cheers” in multiple languages.
Travel has given me so many riches over the years that I can say with certainty that the cost of jet setting has been well worthwhile. I’ve learned greater tolerance by meeting people of different social backgrounds, religions, race, and cultures. I’ve come to appreciate how lucky we are in Australia to live in a country that has good education, health care, and a very generous welfare safety net for those that need it. I’ve done some amazing things that everyday Australians would never even dream about, such as roasting marshmallows in molten lava, boarding down the side of a volcano, tasting the local delicacies of dog and guinea pig, diving with sharks, and feeding baby howler monkeys while volunteering at an animal shelter.
So if you have a little bit of money saved up and you’re tossing up between a new car or a round-the-world trip, or you’re thinking about buying a house that will tie you into a mortgage for the next 30 years, or you have absolutely no savings and don’t know why you should bother even starting to save, there is but one answer. See the world! It may seem like a lot of money at first but you’ll never regret it, and you will definitely come back a richer person.