Opinion: Why You Should Choose Adventure Over Money

Ryan Shannon

Stop chasing green paper, start chasing green pastures

Disclaimer: This story contains affiliate links, from which I may earn a small commission.

“This planet has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.” ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

You Can Be Young, Broke — And Still Travel the World

What is the top reason that prevents people (especially young people) from traveling?

Money.

It’s no secret — cost is one of the main deterrents to travel for most young people. Travel-lust may arise after seeing a shore-front hut in Thailand, or exotic street food in Tokyo on Instagram, but that little voice creeps into your head. It talks you out of traveling. It tells you you can’t afford the hut on the beach. That you must work hard, and save up before embarking on your journey.

Listen closely: never let little pieces of paper and coins dictate the choices in your life.

Money’s just an object. It should be a tool to help you achieve your objectives in life — not the objective itself. As the (somewhat cliche, but true) saying goes: “work to live, don’t live to work.”

It may seem like a scary leap to jump from the cookie-cutter high school-college-work-retirement cycle to a nomadic lifestyle. But I promise it’s worth it. That fancy diploma and career may give you a high-paying salary, a corporate-level position, and a 401k retirement plan, but it might hold you back from traveling the world, from creating a legacy in your lifetime.

Money Shouldn’t Be Your Focus

That’s not to say education and a career aren’t important — they are. However, they should not be the focus of your life. If you are going to school to be a lawyer, or doctor, or you already have a job that’s stressing you out all the time, what’s the point? You’re just paying bills until you die at that point. Why not put your money towards something that fulfills you?

The options for making money while traveling abroad are limitless. Their requirements and skillsets are unique. In other words, you have lots of freedom and choice in what you do. Some require risk and spontaneity, others a bit of planning and focus. While nothing will be handed to you when traveling the world for free (or even making money as you go) the experience will be worth it.

For more in-depth information on how to travel for next to nothing, consider reading my book.

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Digital nomad, I/O psychology student, entrepreneur. Visited nearly 30 countries. Author of 5 books on freelancing, travel, mental health.

Bellingham, WA
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