Everyone these days seem to be telling you to travel. Quit the grind. Meet people. Enrich your life. See the world. But no one ever likes to talk about money. They expect you to figure that bit out on your own.
Travel isn’t free and it’s not always easy, either. Sometimes it’s expensive and hard at the same time. When I was traveling in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, I was never without a fresh stack of 10 100 dollar bills (dated from the last two years, never older, no blemishes). And that was just for bribes. So, yeah, money is a real thing and travel is impossible without it. If you want to be an adventure traveler, you can expect to spend some real cash to do so.
Let’s talk details: I left the USA in 2003. I was one year out of college. I had been working mostly on a Christmas tree farm, drinking dangerous amounts of Jameson and Guinness, trying to hook up a lot, and spending the rest of my time watching Kubrick movies and smoking weed. So… pretty standard 23-year-old. Another lost American living at home with college debt. I made a decision to get out. I sold my car, set up a Western Union account, and did some research. Two months later I was on a flight.
Along the way, I learned a few things. If you’re about to leave the confines of college life, home life, or early work life in order to hit the road, hopefully these pieces of advice will help you figure out how much it would cost to travel the world realistically: