Ashley’s Wild Goal: “I Want to Become a Real World Traveler”

By Dave Fox
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
January 23, 2019

Last week, I wrote an article that breaks down the science and psychology behind how to succeed at your goals. Now it’s time to get specific. 

I asked readers to write and tell me about their wild goals for the coming year, as well as the first steps they might take in pursuing those goals. In this series of articles, I offer tips to help turn those dreams into reality.

My wild goal for 2019+ is to be a traveller – a real world traveler.

“There are a lot of moving parts to this goal – finances, time, preparedness, fear, and the overwhelm of making specific plans.  

I am finished with thinking of traveling around the world as ‘something I’m going to start doing one day.’ I love taking short out-of-town trips to visit family and friends. But in 2019 and beyond, I also want to head out and see the world – to become a real traveler.” 

~ Ashley in Erie, Pennsylvania


First of all, Ashley, I’m thrilled that you’re wanting to expand your travels into new places and I love that you’ve identified the obstacles you’re facing as well. So … how do we get things rolling?

As I noted in last week’s article about how to achieve your goals, vague goals are tricky to tackle. You need to get specific. What does “becoming a real world traveler” mean to you? What sort of world traveler do you want to become, and what would hat look like?

Where do you want to go? Make a list of destinations and/or experiences you’d like to have. (If you’re like many people, it will be long.) Then, pick a starting point — a first destination you want to shoot for — and get to work on making that first trip happen.

Now … “getting to work on making it happen” is easy to say, but not necessarily easy to implement if you’re not sure where to begin, so your next step is to take your list of “moving parts” ­– finances, time, preparedness, fear, and the “overwhelm of making specific plans” – and look at each item individually.

  • How much money will you need for your first trip and how will you save it? How long will it take you to save that money? What in your life could you cut back on? What are you willing to give up in the interest of achieving something big and awesome?
  • How much time will you need for your first trip? How and when can you work it into your schedule?
  • What preparations will you need to make? What do you need to learn before you go?
  • What will it take for you to get over your fears or sense of overwhelm? Or … how much overwhelm are you willing to endure? It’s important to keep in mind that when we leap far from our comfort zones in ways we’re not used to, culture shock is normal. So how can you prepare for that, and quell any anxious voices in your head that might be fighting against your dream?

Don’t let things you don’t understand intimidate you!

Often when people are faced with a list of questions like the ones above, their first response is, “ARGH! I have no freaking clue!” It’s an honest response, but not usually a productive one. In some people, their next step is to freeze – to roll into an imaginary dead end and give up.

There’s a better way to respond. Again, take each item on the list, one at a time, and ask yourself, “If I can’t figure this out right now, then how can I learn? Who can I ask? What can I read? Are there classes I can take?” And so on.

There’s a big difference between not being able to do something and not knowing how to do something. Don’t confuse the two. Most of us can learn a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. 

In your case, Ashley, you might also want to take these steps in reverse order. You mentioned a sense of overwhelm in making specific plans. If that really has you frozen, then begin by figuring out what specifically is overwhelming you and why it’s overwhelming you. Identify your fears or hesitations and seek out people or resources who can help reduce them.

The good news is, you took your first step before you even clicked “send” on the email you sent me. You clearly defined your challenges and the obstacles you need to tackle. So take them one at a time, have fun along the way (travel planning can be an adventure in and of itself!) and also … if your first destination is a big, faraway one that can’t happen right away, then pursue a smaller, intermediate goal as you work toward the big one. Start with something easy – a solo weekend getaway, perhaps, that isn’t so expensive or intimidating (but also isn’t going to visit your family). Think of it as training for your bigger adventures later.

Good luck, Ashley, and please keep us posted on your progress!

Dave Fox is a personal development coach who specializes in helping creative people achieve their goals, and in helping expats navigate the challenges of life abroad. If anxiety or uncertainty are getting in the way of your dreams, Dave can help. Learn more here.

If you’ve got dreams of becoming a bold world traveler but you don’t know where to start, he also offers a fun online course on Udemy: Deep Travel – Have Adventures No Guidebook Can Tell You About


Published on Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Leave a Reply