Want To Travel? Do It NOW.
We didn’t travel much when I was a kid. Maybe to Indiana a time or two to see the grandparents. But no Disneyland, no Grand Canyon and definitely no trips out of the country.
My first time off of US soil was exactly seven years ago, when I got this hairbrained idea to go study drumming for two and a half months in a small Ghanaian village that lacked both running water and electricity. By almost anyone’s standards- after paying for all the necessary supplies, vaccinations, malaria pills, room and board, four hours of percussion lessons five days a week, buying and air cargo’ing home an insanely huge pile of instruments, and getting suckered out of a few bucks here and there- the trip was freaking expensive. That very well could have been my one and only foreign adventure. The first and last. The big one that I relive over and over in my head until I finally have my own grandkids to torture with its tales.
It might have been. If it weren’t for meeting William. And we’re going to call him William because I don’t ever recall actually getting his name.
Near the end of my stay in Ghana, I decided to take a short break from the village of Kopeyia and check out some of the other sights and sounds that the rest of the country offered. One of my first stops was Big Milly’s in Kokrobite. Certainly the most touristy area I’d been in. By that I mean, there were tourists. Having just come from weeks of being in a place where I was the only non-African, seeing the faces of other travelers was both exciting and weird. On top of that, there was a beach, incredible food and electricity (which translates as: ice cream!).
Enjoying a [for once, cold] drink at the edge of the waves after dinner, I struck up a conversation with a white-haired English gentlemen doing the same. William and his wife had been married for over forty years! He shared with me that they had spent their entire lives making a neverending list of all of the amazing places they were going to visit when they eventually retired. And then she died.
William told me that, amidst struggling with the loss, he had realized that their “smart” decision to work hard, work hard, work hard, until they could one day [hopefully] take off and see the world, was the stupidest decision they made in those 40+ years. His life was changed immediately. Partly to honor her, and partly to keep himself from continuing any further along that path, he quit everything, left home and had no clue if and when he might return. He informed me of things I’d never heard of . . . the shadow puppets of Bali, the Trans-Mongolian Railway, the ridiculously expensive Maldive Islands.
And he begged me to not make the same mistake they had for so long. Ultimately, too long.
I was strongly impacted by the short chat with William that evening in Kokrobite. While his story isn’t the reason that I want to travel, it is the reason I choose to travel NOW.
Where do YOU want to travel?
What sights have you always told yourself you’ll check out . . . someday?
I’m here to tell you that most destinations are not nearly as difficult or pricey as you may think. Get your butt onto SideStep (or you other travel broker of choice), put a revised, tight budget into effect for the next couple of months, get your passport and get outta Dodge.
Okay- where are you going? And when? I want to hear all about your plans in the comments below!