A woman was moving to a different state. At her going away party, several friends said they would come to visit her. She later lamented that, when she lived in Amsterdam for two years, numerous people said they would come to visit, but no one ever did. Rather hurt, she asked why people would say that when they didn’t mean it?
I have no doubt that people who tell us they will come to visit really do intend to. Sadly, though, if you’re not used to traveling, especially overseas, the chances of follow through are minimal.
One reason may be that most Americans lead very busy lives – commuting to and from work (for many 2-3 hours per day), working, taking care of cars, homes and kids, hobbies, volunteering, social lives with friends and family, shopping, doctor appointments, etc. For many, vacations consist of visiting friends and family within driving distance of popular U.S. destinations, such as Disney.
Perhaps Americans don’t travel because we’re not encouraged to or we’re not willing to make the changes necessary to make it happen. For many, travel is often relegated to “when we have the time and/or the money” or “when we can squeeze it into our already hectic lives”.
By comparison, in Europe, countries are small and close together (not unlike the states in the U.S.) and EU passports allow easy travel between countries, rarely necessitating a second thought. Travel between countries is part of their culture.
In the US, with long overseas and expensive flights, the necessity of a passport, sometimes the need for a visa, and the added cost of overseas currency exchange rates multiplied by the number of family members traveling, first time foreign travel for many Americans requires some planning and an allotment of time and money that they may not have otherwise considered.
If you’d like to travel overseas, the first step is making a decision. Decide that you will travel. Decide when and where. Then start taking steps to do it. It all starts with the decision to make it happen.
What did it take for you to start traveling the world?