How the Hell I Manage to Constantly Travel

Taken in Malibu on the last leg of our road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway.  Photo taken by  Kathleen Pagan

Taken in Malibu on the last leg of our road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway. Photo taken by Kathleen Pagan

Currently jammin’/writing to: Boom Clap Bachelors - Løb Stop Stå

Last year I decided to travel once a month and, if possible, somewhere I haven’t been before. As I write this I can see how ludicrous it sounds. But I set out to do this because I didn’t want to look back on my life and regret not having taken a trip “just because” or visited that friend while she was in this state or that country. And, up until I was laid off from my job last year due to a budget cut, I was doing damn well.

Here’s the 2016 travel bug breakdown:

January: Saved up for the travels ahead

February: Mexico City AND North Carolina (trying to make up for January)

March: Road trip in California with friends

April: Miami for a conference (Work and play)

May: Chicago with my best friend

June: Day trip to PA to see Beyoncé

July: Camping with friends

August: Washington D.C. for a journalism conference

September: Nada

October: Nada

November: Nada

December: Standing Rock, North Dakota

The things I will do for a shot. I climbed over a fence and down a scary hill to get this shot.  Photo by  Alcides Aguasvivas

The things I will do for a shot. I climbed over a fence and down a scary hill to get this shot. Photo by Alcides Aguasvivas

So not too shabby considering I was out of work in the fall, right? Needless to say, I was pretty down in the dumps for those three months. But I kept hustling and promised myself that as soon as I had a new gig, I would put aside money for travel. But it isn’t just about saving money for travel, I do a whole lot more to get my ass on a plane.

And, while the list above may seem a bit local for some, I will say this: I’ve traveled to 13 countries (Europe and Latin America) but there is no social media documentation of this because it was (way!) before Instagram existed. I’m still working on getting that together for your viewing pleasure.

Photo taken in Standing Rock, North Dakota in 2016. 

Photo taken in Standing Rock, North Dakota in 2016. 

I sell whatever I am not using on Ebay. From swag I got at an event to clothes to shoes to frames. You name it. I would rather sell my stuff in exchange for a travel experience. I also pack my lunch Monday thru Thursday and set aside $60 a month for lunch in case I just don’t feel like cooking. So, basically that means Fridays I get to treat myself to lunch in New York City.  I also use the points on my credit cards for flights and hotel deals. And, about twice year I will call and ask what deals my credit cards can get me in on to either save money or more points.

Denise and I taking way too many selfies at Chicago's "Cloud Gate"

Denise and I taking way too many selfies at Chicago's "Cloud Gate"

Most importantly, I put the money for travel in an online savings account so I am not tempted to touch it. Plus, it takes 3 business days to transfer over to my checking account, so it’s not convenient at all in case I run into a “shopping emergency”. I know my weaknesses, damn it. So I work with them. I usually buy a flight (on a Tuesday!) with my credit card to keep getting points. And, then I immediately pay it off with the money I put aside in my online savings accounts. I also take people up on their offer to stay in their home but only if I would do the same for them. I even have a paper taped up on my kitchen wall that says: 

1. Make your own food

2. Save $

3. So you can travel the world!

It’s nothing fancy but any time I’m tempted to go to just buy my breakfast in the morning instead of making it, it helps to see that. I also meal prep food I actually love to eat.

Bottom line: I am not messing around. I have made travel a priority.

Many people ask me how I do I’m able to travel as much as I do and, for some, when I tell them the above their jaws drop. It takes a bit of work and some sacrifices are made but it’s always worth it.

If your goal is travel as well and you haven’t done it then you have to ask yourself how you can really make it happen. What’s holding you back? Is it your funds? Maybe you need to make some sacrifices. Like for example, when I started to pack my lunch, I saved about $100-150 a month. That’s $1200 a year. That’s a flight to Australia! Well, at least it was when I went in 2005.  

Minutes before climbing this badboy in Teotihuacán.  

Minutes before climbing this badboy in Teotihuacán.  

Travel has been a priority for me ever since I studied abroad to Australia and Spain (more on that later) while in college. It’s as much as a priority for me as eating healthy food or spending time with my family. Travel is a huge part of who I am and I only hope this post inspires you to take that trip you’ve been holding off on for whatever reason. Go explore. You owe it to yourself to see whatever place is on your bucket list as soon as you have the chance. Life is too short.

And, this is NOT to say that I do not have debt. I do. And, ever since I went back to my old school budget, a.k.a. envelope system, I got back on track. It’s not easy but it works for me. Like, I’ve said with anything I’ve ever done, if I can do it, so can you.

2017 is no different. I took a longer break from going anywhere up until May, when I went to Miami for a long weekend. I desperately needed a break and some sun. In June, I took a little road trip to Vermont and July will hopefully be with some friends on the beach somewhere. More details on those trips coming up with (God willing!) a vlog as well. Wish me luck!

Where else should I go? I haven't gone everywhere just yet, but it's on my list. ;)