Finding the Time To Travel: what’s it all about, Alfie?
Time and money.
Actually, you ranked them in the other order.
Money and time, according to the Solo Traveler Reader Survey taken in the fall, are the two challenges that stop you from traveling as much as you want.
I’ve written a number of posts on the issue of money in the last few months. Now I want to take on the challenge of time.
This is the first in a two-part series. In this post I’ll delve into “time” and explore why it is an issue. Next Monday I’ll suggest ways to address this issue.
First, the meaning of life.
This will be a bit of a jumble but please bear with me.
After visiting my mother in the hospital last week I went to my closest friend full of what can only be described as existential angst. I have lived this before – after the loss of my husband. Known for his ability to enter a room and bring it to life, he was also an amazing listener capable of making every individual feel special. His death prompted me to wonder what it’s all about. Why are we here and then gone?
I’m not a religious person and I don’t want this to become religious supposition. Fortunately, my friend, who has deep religious beliefs, responded with language that I believe works regardless of your beliefs. I love this. He said:
Life is art. It’s about making something timeless out of limited time.
In one fell swoop, he gave me the meaning of life and the meaning of time. I am so fortunate to have him in my life.
I had already started writing this post when he said this. I immediately grabbed my computer and slammed those words into this post so they wouldn’t be lost.
With these words as a backdrop to my thoughts I wondered what to do with the research I had already done. It seems to me that the meaning of time (and its availability for travel) must fit into this meaning of life.
Shifting our attitudes to time.
From my research I had already concluded that there are four main factors that affect how much time we have for travel – or, for that matter, for making our life a work of art.
- Work (our present and future need for money).
- Career or vocation (the need to create our identity).
- Responsibilities to family (my definition of family extends to anyone we may care for).
- What other people think (the need to feel respected).
Each of these has practical considerations that can stop us from doing what we really want to do with our time.
I could analyze each of these separately but, instead, I’ll take them all on at once because, basically, you’ll be better on all counts – work, career, family responsibilities and respect from others – if you take care of your own happiness by spending some time doing what you want.
Sound selfish? It isn’t.
A research survey done at the University of California in 2005 called “The benefits of frequent positive affect: does happiness lead to success?” suggests that numerous studies show that happy individuals are more successful in life, including marriage, friendship, income, work performance, and health. In other words, you’ll do a better job on all the factors affecting how we use our time if you’re happy.
Taking care of your own happiness is not selfish. It makes us better for ourselves and those we care about.
Solo Travelers – by definition you are halfway there.
If travel is important to you, if it is what makes you a happier individual, it is important for all aspects of your life that you find time for it. As a solo traveler you already know what it is to follow your own interests as you travel. To find more travel time, follow your own interests in your life.
We budget money for travel. Now that we know that time for travel is important, we can start budgeting for it as well
That’s the topic for next Monday.
When I wonder about life, I always think about this song, hence, “What’s it all about, Alfie?”