I want to give you one simple method that will take you from dreaming about a trip of a lifetime to actually making it happen.
First, I want to talk about making good whiskey. Bear with me because this will actually have some application to what I just mentioned. When you make whiskey, whether it be bourbon, Irish, Scottish, or whatever, there is an initial fermenting and distilling process, which doesn’t take too long. But that’s not what sucks about making whiskey. What sucks is that you have to let it age, and this can take years. There is a lot of waiting around and nothing happening. But here’s the good part: once you get through the aging process of that first batch, assuming you kept making additional batches of the whiskey, then you’ll have a new batch right behind it. In other words, if you distill whiskey, say, every month, once you get through that first two-year aging process, then you should have a new batch of whiskey ready to roll every month. And it will be good.
Now let me tell you the secret to making your dream trip happen. It is simply to plan the trip for at least two years from now.
You don’t like that, do you? It seems too long, doesn’t it? But it’s not. And it works. And it will change your life. Here’s how.
Affording the Trip of a Lifetime
Do you know what the number one excuse for not taking the trip of a lifetime is? It is “I don’t have the money.” There is no shame in that. Nobody has two grand, five grand, or 10 grand laying around to squander on some exotic adventure.
But you know what you might be able to come up with? You might be able to afford a hundred dollars a month, or even a few hundred dollars a month. If you start doing that now, then you can spread the cost of the dream trip over a two year period (or longer, if you need more time).
My wife (Susan) and I discovered this with a dream trip Susan wanted to take. She wanted to do something called the Rallye Des Princesses (Princess Rally) in France. This is an all-women automobile rally where they drive historic vehicles across France over a five or six day period. They start in the Vendome in central Paris and stay in castles and other amazing locations every night. Sound expensive? It is. There’s a big, fat entry fee and unless you happen to own a historic vehicle in Europe, you have to rent one as well. That is all on top of the usual airfare, hotel, etc. involved in any trip. This trip was totally not doable for us. There’s just no way we could afford that. However, my wife decided to make it happen, and planned for a rally that was over two years away. She actually started a separate bank account to fund it. That allowed her to spread the cost out and make it happen. As you might imagine, there are a lot of logistics involved with road rallies, which she had never done, and the extended time-frame gave her an opportunity to learn about that. As a bonus, It also allowed her to learn some French in the meantime as well.
You don’t have to do it that way though. You might make the plan now, buy the airfare in six months, and then purchase the hotel or year after that. You can spread the cost out between end-of-year bonuses, income tax refunds, or other times of the year when you have some disposable cash.
Finding the Time
The second reason people do not take incredible trips of their lifetime is that they are busy and/or cannot afford the time off work. This method takes care of that problem as well.
Remember that you are planning the trip for a few years from now. You don’t even know what you’ll be doing in two years! You cannot possibly have anything on your plate for that time. If you wait around until a few months before the trip, you will be too busy. But by putting the trip on the books now, you build it in to your life. You will mentally work around it as you make your future plans. Essentially, you make the dream trip fit your life.
But Who Is Going to Watch the Kids?
The final reason this tip works so well is that it avoids any objections from those around you. Let me explain.
My first real dream trip was a photography trip to Ireland in 2010 with my brother and a friend. My wife is not a photographer, so such a trip would not include her. Keep in mind that my wife works and our daughters were quite young at the time. Can you imagine the prospect of asking someone who is already busy with work and family obligations to handle everything for 2 weeks while you go mess around taking pictures in Ireland for 2 weeks? It is laughable.
But since I raised it as something that would happen in two years, the prospect really didn’t bother her. Partly, the extended time frame showed her that I was serious about wanting to do this, and it was no passing fancy. And partly, the extended time frame kept the trip from seeming threatening. In any event, she agreed and therefore the trip was locked down. As the date of the trip drew near, I’m sure she was wondering what she got herself into. But it was too late to object: the tickets were bought!
This works in other ways as well. You might ask your parents or in-laws to watch the kids while you are away on your dream trip. If you ask them about a trip two years in the future, it doesn’t seem so frightening to them. They are likely to readily agree. If nothing else, they won’t have anything on the books that could conflict with your plans.
Making It Happen
I understand that two years is a long time to plan a trip and the waiting part isn’t great. The waiting period will, however, give you plenty of time to plan your trip. Your itinerary will be rock solid. You can try out different variations of your itinerary and see what works the best. You’ll discover hidden locations as you study and plan. It will gradually improve your trip as you keep playing with it. In my case, since I’m a photographer, the extended planning period gives me plenty of time to plan shoots. I actually enjoy that part, and you might learn to like the trip planning as well.
Not only that, but the extended time gives you an opportunity to learn about the place you are going. Read everything you can find on your planned location. Start with the guidebooks. Read some history. Read any travelogue you can find. Start reading the local news (online) for the place you are going. It will make your understanding more complete and will lead to new discoveries. By the end of the trip you will be an expert.
And here is where the whiskey making process comes in. Once you do this the first time, you will see that this process works and you are likely to plan another trip. If you do it before you go on the original trip, then you will have a plan in place when you return. Just like waiting for the second batch of whiskey to mature isn’t as bad as the first, the wait for the second trip won’t be as bad. Once you get rolling with this process, I’d be willing to bet you’ll start doing it all the time. Of course, this involves funding multiple trips, but I have no doubt that once you make it part of your lifestyle it will become a priority and you will find a way. But even if its only one trip, that’s pretty great on its own.
So far this year, I have visited Scotland, France, Peru, and Ireland. And that’s nothing compared to what I have planned for next year and the year after. How? Did I win the lottery or get a fat inheritance? Nope. Did I leave my job and family to travel around as a broke Instagrammer or YouTuber? Hardly. I just followed this method. And there is no reason you cannot do the same.