I Traveled The World– Broke, Alone, And Fresh Out Of College- And You Can Too

Traveling The World

Broke, Alone, And Fresh Out Of College

During the summer of 2016, I circled the globe on my own.

It has been a while since I checked my facts on this, but I am pretty sure that I gained a few hours of my life while doing this. One of my last flights was from Auckland, New Zealand on August 5th at 9pm to Los Angeles, CA, where the plane landed on August 5th at 4pm.

I added an extra five hours to my life! If that’s not enough incentive for you to travel, then keep reading.

For The Love Of Travel

My classic story of catching the travel bug began the summer between my junior and senior years at school. I took a class abroad in Greece for a few weeks, and it was the most memorable part of my college experience.

The travel bug bit me just as the biggest question in my life became, “What’s next?”

Traveling to Greece had sealed the deal: I knew that I wanted to see the rest of the world, and I wanted that to be a part of my “next.”

Fortunately, basically everyone in my life supported me in this. My parents were immediately on board, my friends all supported me, and even the random people that I talked to about it were supportive. It made me realize that most people want to travel, and are supportive of others traveling, but that not everybody takes the chance.

Traveling Is Doable

You should take the chance, though, because it definitely is possible to plan a killer trip even without excessive amounts of time or money.

For many people that I talk to, travel seems like such a far-fetched goal, something that is expensive and out of reach. But I’m here to tell you how a broke, part-timer fresh out of college (me) was able to do it for two months alone.

The odds were stacked against me. I had no money, just a part-time job at a grocery store; recently graduating from college meant that I had just been pushed into the real world with a liberal arts degree. That’s the kind of stuff that nightmares are made of, but I still pulled my travels off.

The first step necessary for me to travel the world was to move out of my apartment in Boston and move back in with my parents. Not having to account for the cost of rent and feeding myself every night meant that I could save money for my travels.

All By Myself

When it comes to planning a trip, which I will discuss in more detail in the next section, you must know if you are going to travel alone or with others in order to properly plan.

I decided to travel alone, and here’s why:

I am the most honest version of myself when I am alone, which is why I ultimately planned the trip as a solo adventure. If I were to have traveled with someone else the entire time, it would have been a completely different experience. For me, doing this with someone else would have been doing it halfway.

This was a challenge that I needed to accomplish! I wanted to do this for myself; not for anybody else. As much as the trip was designed to enjoy, it was also a deliberate growing and learning experience for me. While I don’t think that I’ve changed completely, I have reached a point of comfortability with myself that I never had reached before prior to my trip.

That probably came from all of the nights that I had to explain, “Yes, table for one. No really, I swear, it’s just me!”

Sounds Great!

How do I do this?

You also can take the leap of faith and travel the world!

The key is to plan ahead.

Whether you are 100% ready or still want to feel the idea out, start planning now. Figure out where you [might] want to go and what you want to see first. Lay the groundwork for the basis of the trip. Do you want to go to Europe? Where in Europe? Spain? Italy? Both? Once you know what you want to do with your time, you can start to work through the details. Where will you stay? How will you travel from one location to the next? How much will it cost? From here, you can start to make the changes necessary in your life to gather the funds.

I had a great time traveling because I had a plan in place before I even left the States. I always knew– at least for the overwhelming majority of the time– where I was, where I needed to go, and how to get there.

“The key is to plan ahead.”

One exception to this: there was one night that I got to my hostel late and the doors had been closed on me. I called the help number, but the owners only said, “If another guest comes back tonight, then they can open the door for you.” Fortunately, a few people came by and let me in, but there were a solid few hours of worry that night.

When staying at hostels, I recommend making sure that you know what time the frontmost doors lock so that you can avoid any stressful or potentially sketchy situations like the one I just described.

Other than this incident, I had no trouble. Except there was that one time in New Zealand that I mixed up the bus times and ended up staying in Queenstown an extra day. And my first night in Rome when I couldn’t find the AirBnB and had to wander the streets for an hour at night.

But seriously, other than these times I really had no trouble.

The key to a good trip is good planning! Know where you’re going and how to get there and you will have a good time.

And don’t forget: part of a good plan is being ready to make a few mistakes along the way. It doesn’t hurt to have some emergency money set aside for unexpected occurrences; even if nothing happens, the peace of mind will still be worth.

The Best + Worst Days

Let’s be honest: nothing is all easy, and my trip is no exception. Europe, for instance, was not just one big field of flowers to skip through. I definitely had a lot of good days, but there were a few bad ones as well.

There were days that I wanted to drop everything and run to the airport to get on the first flight home. But even in those darker moments, I still knew in the back of my mind that I would regret going home.

I did not mention this in my travel blog (because I’m a dirty liar, and because I didn’t want anyone to worry about me) but I got sick for a couple of days while I was in Vienna, Austria. I am not entirely sure what happened, but I am sure that staying in a bunch of hostels across the continent exposed me to plenty of germs. My throat was so sore that swallowing was painful; eating was slow and sleep was difficult to give in to.

Fortunately, I was staying at a hostel called The Grand Ferdinand, which was hands-down the nicest place that I stayed the whole trip. There was literally a chandelier in the dorm. A chandelier, I tell you! The beds were so comfortable and slipping under the blankets was like covering yourself with a cloud. This helped a lot during that time.

For every dark day, there were ten great ones. For example, the day that I was in New Zealand, I was able to visit the Hobbiton movie set. For hose who don’t know, Hobbiton is a fictional town from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series. When Peter Jackson made the books into movies, he recreated the actual town in the countryside of New Zealand.

This was huge for me, as I am an enormous Lord of the Rings fan. I took a photo in front of Bag End (Bilbo Baggins’ famous hobbit hole) and I had a drink at the Green Dragon. So basically, I could have died that day and I would have accomplished most of the things that I wanted to accomplish in life.

My main point is that traveling somewhere new is scary or out of your comfort zone sometimes; there’s no getting around that. But it’s also worth it.

If you go out on your own, don’t expect everything to be perfect. But if you tackle that challenge head-on, you can have some of the most memorable and rewarding experiences of your life.

Why You Should Travel Too

The world is such a big place! There are so many different cultures and places to see and experience. Even if you’re not sure if something like this interests you or not, you truly won’t know for sure until you try.

So in my humble opinion, it is better to find out that it’s not for you than it is to wonder for the rest of your life.

And this last part goes out to the target demographic of this site:

If you are in your twenties, now is the perfect time to go travel.

You are almost done– if not completely done– with school (if you’re still in school, take advantage of that and study abroad) and you likely have little to no responsibilities/commitments at this point (even if you do, don’t let them hold you back, just make traveling a priority and plan plenty in advance).

You have the time and energy now, so scrape together some money and make it happen!

I promise you that you won’t regret it.

Travel On, 

Matt Buckley

P.S. If you have any questions about my trip, please comment below! Also, be sure to stay up-to-date with Twenties and Adulting on Facebook and Instagram, and keep your eyes peeled for my other travel articles published on this site also. Thanks for reading!


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