Traveling For A Year Isn’t Luck

by Jason -- September 2, 2010

I don’t normally create blog posts that consist of a rant, but, this post is a rant. I’m tired of being told how lucky Sharon and I are that we get to travel the world for a year. That’s not luck, we made that happen.

There are many things in my life that I would consider lucky; this trip is not one of them. Here are a few things I’m particularly lucky for: I was born to two awesome and supporting parents, Sharon finally decided to date me, I’ve got my health, I didn’t buy a house in 2007 when everyone seemed to be buying a house. That’s luck.

How did we make this trip happen?

Not luck. We prioritized the trip above all-else. We sacrificed going out. We didn’t buy new cars. We lived in a pretty small room with 2 (sometimes 3) other housemates. We automated our savings – creating a little stockpile of money for when we get back and then saved up as much as we could for the actual trip. Nothing in there is luck, we made that happen. Sure, you could argue that having jobs to support all of that was lucky, but if we didn’t have the jobs, I guarantee we would have found another way.

I’m tired of people saying how lucky we are, that we were lucky to quit our jobs and travel the world for a year and they can’t. I typically smile, nod my head, and agree with them how lucky we are, but deep down I know they can be “lucky” too. Of course you can, you can do anything you want. Admit it, it’s simply that you won’t do it. And why won’t you do it? Do you have a house? Sell or rent it. Kids? Bring them with you. Debt? Create a plan and pay it off. For every excuse out there, there’s a solution. As long as you first admit that you CAN do it and it’s only yourself that’s the barrier.

End of rant. Have a good day.

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16 Responses to “Traveling For A Year Isn’t Luck”

  1. Good point!! and very well said!

    You’re very right. I think many times to myself when I read your blog or look at your photos why I dont do it too. I know, that I personally enjoy the comfort of home a little too much and thats why I wont. But you’re totally right…. i COULD do it :) I actually remember when I was with you guys before you left and Sharon was telling courtney and I “You can do it too!” and telling us that it just takes commitment.

    I would say though, yes you guys are lucky to have each other for support for your traveling. So does that mean you dont like the song “lucky” then? :)

    my iphone countdown app says 23 days till I see your smiling/jetlagged faces!!! :) (and hopefully those awesome yellow sunglasses…although im sure they wont be needed in Seattle)

  2. Very well said! It’s so easy to attribute the outcome of our lives to outside circumstances, but really, we make the decisions and if we make things happen.

  3. So true! It will never happen if you don’t decide to make it happen. :)

  4. Amen.

    Your post brought a huge smile to my face as I often feel the same — and not just about travel.

    Sometimes the unspoken needs spoken. Props to ya for having the guts to do so!

  5. And traveling isn’t necessarily a carefree life. It’s not always cocktails on the beach and five star villas. Travel constantly brings about challenges which require us to adapt to our surroundings, find new ways for communication, and deal with the unexpected.

    A good rant, well needed every now and then!

  6. Nice post. Even though we haven’t left yet and haven’t even purchased the tickets, we still get the same responses from friends and colleagues. I always point out that traveling the world is much cheaper than most people imagine (or at least it can be).

    It seems that the old stigma of people who travel the world are born with a silver spoon in their mouth or are trust fund babies still prevails.

    However, there are a lot of sacrifices that must be made to make something like this happen. (i.e. eating rice and beans for dinner, getting DVD’s from the library instead of the movie theater, etc). For some, that sacrifice is worth it. For others, not so much. I used to be one of the later. Now, I am making those sacrifices to be one of the former.

  7. @Holly - I completely agree with you that Sharon and I are very lucky to have each other for support. I’ve got no problems with luck, I’ve had it by my side many times. We’re excited to be there and I can’t wait for my yellow shades to make their state-side debut :-).

    @Vivian — Very well put yourself!

    @Amy — Thanks for the comment. And for being one of my examples!

    @Cat — Haha! Thanks!

    @Matt — Really good point that I definitely agree with. There are a lot of aspects of traveling that can be difficult and some aspects can make you question whether it’s worth it to be honest. But then I just think of the alternative and realize it is totally worth it.

    @Jenneil — Really good points (I think you may have a post in your comment!). There are definitely a lot of sacrifices that are made, and even more after you’ve left to keep the budget in line. But it’s worth it. Leading up to the trip, Sharon and I always use to talk about how we’re going to feel at the airport waiting for our flight. When you’ve sacrificed something, just think of that moment.

  8. Labeling the ability to travel as ‘luck’ is the perfect justification for someone who may not be up for the challenge of turning their goal of travel into reality.

    While you did what it took to get out on the road, it definitely can be a frightening process for some - selling a car or home, quitting a job, heading off into the unknown - and many people allow the fear associated with such major life changes to hold them back. But nobody wants to admit that! So using the lucky/unlucky comparison is the perfect alternative as it removes the sense of responsibility for the direction our lives take…

    Well-written rant!


    I haven’t even left yet for my RTW trip & every one is just amazed in aww about what I am going to do. The one thing they all tell me is OMG you are so lucky to be able to do that. I want to tell them the same thing you just mentioned here its not luck its hard work. I wanna tell them read my blog & you can see some of the things I’m having to go through. Making so making cut backs, dealing with different emotions & becoming a new you for a RTW is not luck. One day they will realize that you have to make it happen cus no one else wil.

  10. Amen, brother. I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve gotten into discussions with people that say “I wish I could do that.” Then I would have about $100, with which I could live in South Asia for a month or two ;)

    People, at least in America, think that traveling is necessarily expensive, that it is impossible to get by without sharing a local language, that they won’t be able to adapt to the local culture or food or whatever, that the people will hate foreigners, particularly Americans, etc. etc. etc. Traveling is easy and cheap - well, it can be. It can also be difficult and expensive; but I prefer the former.

    And as Matt said, it’s not all roses. There have definitely been aspects of my time abroad with which I struggled. You have to learn to adapt, to develop new paradigms, and sometimes to just grin and bear it.

  11. I agree, it isn’t luck. Sometimes it’s just making a plan and having the bravery to stick to it. Some people cannot conceive of actually leaving their own country and stepping out of their comfort zones. Dreaming and doing are different. Taking that first step and going against the usual grain of society is scary, but so worth it . . .

  12. @Earl - Very good point. Luck is definitely used as a way to take it out of people’s hands. If I were more lucky I would be able to travel the world!

    @Jaime - You’re welcome! Good luck on your planning. Looks like you’ve got a lot figured out already!

    @Britt - Yes, yes, yes. Very well put.

    @Nancy - Thanks for the comment. I agree, it’s often that first step of the decision to travel or teach in a foreigner country that is the hardest thing to make. After that things start falling into place.

  13. [...] $15,000 for a year abroad.  Also, just a few minutes after, Jason from Life After Cubes posted Traveling For a Year Isn’t Luck - a perfect way to underscore the message that long-term travel is absolutely possible if [...]

  14. Preach it, Jason. You are absolutely right.

  15. While you did work hard to make it possible, there is definitely an element of luck to it. You were born into the richest planet in the world, you had access to a high-quality education, you had good parents that raised you in a good environment, etc etc etc. Don’t be too proud of yourself, and appreciate that you were born into a pretty privileged life. Just ask the average Indonesian.

  16. Hi Lucky — Totally agree with you. There are many, many things I’m lucky for. All of the one’s you mentioned are included. However, taking all of that luck I’ve been given and then traveling for a year — not luck :-).

    Thanks for the comment!

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