Recently, Edwin and I were having this debate. After we’d returned from our honeymoon to Greece and Italy, my thirst for wanderlust only refueled, and I found myself booking us another (almost) impromptu trip to Phuket four months later. It’s been another two months, and I sorely miss the adventure, the beautiful sights – waking up to the view of the ocean right outside our window – and the excitement of the unfamiliar.
Browsing through my Instagram feed (Confession: I follow way too many travel content creators), I am already thinking of our next destination. And though it’s still early, I have already made up my mind – New Zealand. Driving along pristine blue lakes, heli-riding over glaciers, stargazing on mountains. What could be a better adventure?
Now, here’s where Edwin, the more rational of us, comes in and reminds me that we have just gotten the keys to our new house which marks the start of mortgage loans, monthly CPF deductions, and renovation, which would easily bite off a huge chunk of our savings. Any married Singaporean couple would understand this frustration. “Why must we go to New Zealand?” he pleads. “Can’t we go somewhere nearer, somewhere less expensive?”
Yes but… I can find at least ten
excuses reasons why a 2-week road trip across the South Island of New Zealand would be one of the most amazing experiences to have right now, which would completely justify the $7,000 investment for both of us – and that’s just a minimum estimation. In reality though, it is not so simple.
Why do you travel?
Firstly, before you book that plane ticket, know your reasons for travelling. Is it merely a form of escapism from the monotony of work and life? Or as much as I hate to admit that subconscious or not, some part of this might be true, is it so that you can flood your Instagram feed with photos that will ignite major jealousy among your friends and followers?
It is important to be sure that you are not travelling for the wrong reasons as it will only leave you more dissatisfied coming home at the end of your trip.
What are your priorities?
Secondly, for those of you asking the question if you should travel or not, unfortunately, there is no rule of thumb. It really depends on your priorities, and how deep your desire for travel is.
If you can afford it, and there are no commitments in the way, what are you waiting for? I assume though, that most of us do not have this luxury. I also assume that travel ignites a passion in you, and perhaps you, too, have a soul that seeks adventure – why else would you be reading this article?
A motto I have always lived by is “collect moments, not things”. I shop at inexpensive brands, avoid fine dining (not that I can appreciate it anyway) and the most expensive thing I’ve bought for myself is probably this Macbook Air I am typing on. My point is, I do not mind giving up material luxuries in exchange for experiences that leave me with a richer understanding and appreciation of life. And for me, that is what travel brings.
To travel is to live
I strongly believe that your 20s is the best time to travel as much as you possibly can. It doesn’t have to be long distance to exotic locations. Get out of your comfort zone and experience the world from a different lens. Live in the moment. Do something that you will remember ten, even fifty years from now.
Once the 30s roll in, perhaps with a crying toddler in tow, that road trip may not be so feasible after all. And neither would a picnic beneath the Eiffel Tower be quite that romantic. In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.
We owe it to ourselves to live the greatest life that we’re capable of living.
And great is what we need to define for ourselves, because it is not the same for everyone. It is different for Edwin and I, and that is something we need to work around.
Maybe the question we need to ask really shouldn’t be “To Travel Or Not To Travel?” but “Am I Travelling With Purpose?”
Don’t waste time and money travelling for the sake of travelling. Do you have a destination you’ve always dreamed of going? Have you always wanted to take that 6-month backpacking trip across South East Asia? Do it now. Work your butt off and save up for it. Don’t settle for less.
I want to be sure that when we make the trip to New Zealand, it will be worth every penny, and it will be one of our best memories made, captured on Instagram or not.
Published on Tripzilla Mag