Even if you have been socking away presidents since you were l5 years old and planning for rainy days by wearing a financial raincoat all your life, you are probably not immune to the economic uncertainty that is gripping the U.S.A. and much of the world. Maybe you are wincing when your monthly statements come in or calling your broker to say “hi” when you really want to scream “help.” You may have noticed that your shopping therapy outings are shorter, non-existent or you’re doing more window shopping than looking at yourself from the side and rear in a dressing room. Is this any time to be thinking about travel? You bet it is. And the Wild Pair would love to tell you why.
1) Quality of Life Issues
When you are l06, perhaps with your teeth in a glass full of denture cleaner next to your bed, you will muse about your life and how amazing it has been. What incidents or experiences will come into clear focus when you quick-scan your life? Will you dwell lovingly on your late nights at the office or the prep you had to do for meetings? Will you remember worrying about your kids’ SAT scores or schlepping them to the E.R. when they fell off their bikes and heard a crunching sound? Or—(and we are asking you to be honest here)–will you remember the wind at your back when you hiked up a mountain, the froth of white water as you whisked through the rapids or a performance of a classical opera in Vietnam?
It could be time, for all of us, to rethink our value systems and what is most important in life. Maybe it’s not about buying a new car or needing to wear a new outfit to every cocktail party. Maybe, just maybe, there can be a direct correlation between what we spend and what matters most to us. The Wild Pair is willing to bet that the quality of our lives is more significant that the quantity that we buy and own.
3) The Last Five
Think back over the last five years of your life (you don’t have to wait to be l06 to do this). What immediately stands out? Wasn’t it that trip to Slovenia, the cooking school in Italy, the wildflowers in early spring in Provence or the man who showed you how to dowse at Stonehenge?
4) A Picture is Worth a Thousand Bucks
If you don’t believe what we are saying, turn on your computer or bring out the photo albums for the past 5 years. When you look through the pictures you shot and saved, aren’t many or most of them from your travels? Those are the images of your life you wanted to hold onto.
5) Giving Up Something to Get Something
If your financial situation is rosey, then you can smile as you read these words and feel good about your position and that you have worked hard to achieve it. But if you are saying “ouch” from the pinch, and feel guilty about plunking down money for a dreamy trip, then make a deal with yourself. How about you give something up in order to feel justified in traveling?
6) Become a Trader
What are the least essential expenses in your life right now? Eating out every night? Splurging on expensive wines in restaurants? Gassing up the buggy and making four or five short trips each day as opposed to grouping errands together or sharing rides with friends? Buying more jewelry? Trading in your car every two years? Lavish entertaining? Ordering something every time you get a catalogue in the mail? Supporting your kids’ label-happy shopping? Blowing your wad on holiday gifts? Remodeling the kitchen again? Which of these could you give up so you could–guilt free– apply the money to a trip or two?
7) The Wheel of Fortune
Now look at the kind of trip you want to take. Maybe it doesn’t have to be the most luxurious safari in the world, and you can stay at one or two of those palatial lodges/camps instead of requiring total pampering every night. Or you can take a train ride for some segments of your trip instead of needing to fly everywhere. Perhaps this is an opportunity for you to focus as much on the experience of the trip as the luxurious trappings of the journey. If you have had the good fortune to meet people, mingle with locals, have heart-opening experiences, you know that they were not dependent upon how much money you spent.
8) The Scale of Things
Perhaps your fantasy is taking your kids on a biking trip in Europe. But your kids would rather stay home and hang with their friends. Instead of forcing your fantasy, make arrangements for you to go on a trip without the kids. There’s even the possibility all of you will be happier that way, and you will save a bundle of moolah.
9) No Is Not An Option
So, in the opinion of the Wild Pair, this is definitely NOT the time to say no to that trip-of-a-lifetime. It may be a time for re-assessing, re-thinking and doing a little juggling, but it is the season for you to enjoy, flourish, expand your horizons, connect spiritually to the world around you, leave behind some of the panics that are consuming people, live, learn and build memories. In other words, there is no better time to travel. And, before we forget, Bon Voyage!
ABOUT THE WILD PAIR: Judith Fein and Ellen Barone:
They’re smart, sassy, savvy, award-winning travel journalists and photographers and now they’ve joined forces to become THE WILD PAIR, bringing you cutting-edge information and tips on how to turn your next vacation into a life-enhancing experience.