Can I confess something? Every time I admit that I am planning a trip I am overcome with a mass of guilt. Sometimes I know well enough that I have a bit of a guilt complex in general, so acknowledging that helps, but most of the time I honestly feel like I am just a spoilt brat. I sort of am.
Don’t get me wrong. I do work hard to make our travel goals come true. But it’s the kind of “hard work” that is made possible by a whole lot of pre-existing privilege. I have a pretty good knowledge of what things cost because I’m always looking, and I try really hard to make sure that we can pull things off on a very tight budget. I pour a lot of hours into figuring out how to make a small amount of money go as far as possible. A lot of effort goes into what I achieve. And sometimes what I achieve feels like a damn miracle.
I assure you it is not.
Sometimes it’s tempting to take all the credit. Sometimes it’s tempting to say things like “If I can do it, anyone can.”
But calling my travel achievements “hard work” does not take into account one very inescapable truth:
- I’m lucky because I have a husband who doesn’t mind living a super frugal life at home so that once or twice a year we can splurge on an adventure. We keep “extras” to a minimum. Take-aways. Booze. Dining out. New clothes. Electricity. (that last one is only sort of a joke)
- I’m lucky because my husband’s salary pays for all of our expenses. Ty pays for all of our day-to-day life and there is zero wiggle room there. He juggles it like a pro though! Because he does this, I can put away the small bits of money that I make every month and save until we can afford to use it on a trip.
- I’m lucky because my husband can take leave at any time of year and isn’t forced to take it in December like a lot of our peers are. December is high season. Being able to travel in low season makes a huge difference to affordability.
- I’m lucky because I have a mom and dad who have bought me plane tickets before. And who have loaned me money to go on trips and been patient about the time it takes me to pay them back. They understand that I am far better at diminishing debt than I am at saving money.
- I’m lucky because I have people who will look after my kids for me. My mom, my sister, and Noah’s paternal grandmother are always accommodating when it comes to Noah. Tom and Bridgette’s mother and grandmothers are the same. Without these people Ty and I would not be able to do this.
- I’m lucky because I have tenants who look after my home and my animals when I am away. If I had to pay for a house and pet sitter that would be quite a huge extra expense and I wouldn’t be able to afford it.
- I’m lucky because I have a lot of the kind of privilege that is easy to overlook when you’re scrambling to make things happen. It’s there though. And it plays a big role.
So, yes. I work hard. I save hard. I plan hard. I sacrifice some things to make our travel plans work. But very little of what I am able to do rests solely on me. Very often my trips occur because of a cosmic series of fortunate events , and I would be remiss to ever assume that if I can do it anyone can because we all live different lives and we’re all caught up in different circumstances.
I am, however, grateful to myself for making the decision to use my circumstances to my advantage. I’m grateful to myself for finally admitting what I wanted and for having the courage to go after it despite the anxiety issues that I keep triggering because of it. And while I do admit that I am a spoiled princess who is able to travel because of a whole bunch of luck, I also think that I can be used as an example of how we can sometimes look at what we want and see it as impossible when actually it’s just improbable.
Improbable is something that I can work with. It took me a long time to learn that. But I know it now.