Dear Savvy Traveller: Can I hide in your suitcase?
Congratulations! This is the question I am asked most often, and you’re about to become the first person to get more than just a “haha” in reply.
At least weekly someone reads about one of my adventures or sees a beautiful ocean pic on my Instagram and asks me this sarcastic question, or some variation of it like, “Do you need an assistant?” (Yes, I do, but I can’t afford to pay you, so you probably don’t want the job.)
But there’s truth behind sarcasm, and I know there’s a real question behind yours. We all realize you don’t actually want to curl up into a ball and contort yourself in my luggage, but what you’re really asking is if there is a life in which you can see these places, too.
Of course there is, and it’s your current life. To reiterate: that’s a yes, Sandy!
You’re probably not going to see as many of these places as I am, but deep down, you don’t really want to. It’s work, and like most other work, it’s grueling, exhausting, demanding, and at times emotionally draining.
But most of those negatives describe the logistics behind such an intense schedule; the travel itself really is beautiful and enlightening, and, if I’m doing my job correctly, you should want to join me. That is my goal, after all, so I’m happy you want to come along.
In moderation, that is. The healthy truth is that you don’t want to travel as much as I do, but you do want to travel more than you do, and that’s an aspiration I fully support. That’s why I’m finally answering this cheeky question.
There are hundreds of reasons people give for why they’re not travelling, and each week I try to use this column to overcome one of them. But I think we can all agree the two biggest obstacles people perceive are time and money.
They’re the behemoths I extend the most effort striving to bring down by offering practical tips for saving both. But I don’t believe they’re the real inhibitors, and that’s why I used the word “perceive.”
I believe the true reason people aren’t travelling as much as they want is because of their expectations—and that’s why, in addition to offering some practical tips each week, I spend even more time helping readers to refocus their thoughts by shining some experience and reality on them.
Your question doesn’t address any specific concern, and that’s exactly why I picked it this week. No one has yet presented me with a question that has led to me answer, “You shouldn’t travel. Stay home.”
It’s not an unfathomable outcome, but the reality in most cases is what I find myself repeating regularly: Whatever it is that is mentally preventing you from travelling is exactly why you should travel.
If you tell me travel is too expensive, I’ll address some inflated expectations that make travel seem expensive. If you tell me you’re physically incapable of travel, I’ll show you a different kind of travel that suits you.
If you tell me you don’t have time to travel, I’ll show you how to rearrange other things in your life that seem to be taking up all your time, and remind you that travel can be as brief as a day or two, and can incorporate the obligations you just can’t leave behind (fun fact: most of my trips are only a few days, and I block out time to work during all of them, daily).
I don’t care what it is—kids, sick parents, bankruptcy, relentless jobs, weak stomachs, fears, aversions, lack of inspiration, whatever!—if you’re not under house arrest, you can travel more than you’re currently travelling. And once you get out there and come back with a successful trip behind you, you’ll understand that your obstacle only prevented you from travelling because you let it.
It’s all a game of perception, and it’s time to start winning that game!
So no, you can’t hide in my suitcase, Sandy, but you certainly can go where I’m going, see what I’m seeing, taste what I’m tasting, and learn what I’m learning. And if you still think you can’t because your personal obstacle is uniquely insurmountable, I invite you . . . beg you . . . dare you! . . . to tell me what it is.
If you do, I guarantee you’ll get another reply from me, and I almost guarantee that I’ll find a way for you to travel more.