Traveling while broke is not always a good idea, and if someone tells you otherwise, then you should just ignore their misleading advice.
“There’s no better time than when you’re broke to travel!”
“No money, no problem.”
Or even better:
“You should quit your job and travel”.
Have you ever heard that? These are sermons often preached by travelers seeking to inspire their public to follow in their footsteps.
It’s also a great piece of misleading advice at best. Dangerous nonsense at worst.
Which is a shame because these long-term travelers are rarely, if ever, ill-intentioned. They’re living their dreams and think they will help you do the same by listening to their advice. Unfortunately, while some of what they say might make sense, the overall message is wrong.
Being broke isn’t the best time to travel. Leaving your job probably isn’t a good idea either.
Why They Tell You That It’s Great To Travel When You’re Broke
Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? If you’re broke, you have nothing to lose: you have everything to gain! Why not give your dreams a try, then?
Plus, if you don’t like your job, leaving it is easy. Why would you keep suffering? Saying goodbye to something you don’t like is a piece of cake. You might even slam the door, just like the dramatic exit that you’ve been picturing in your head for a while.
And imagine what lies ahead of you? You might find the love of your life, live fantastic experiences, acquire invaluable knowledge!
There is no perfect time to travel. If you always wait till it gets better, you’ll always find a reason to wait. It’s your chance to follow your dreams! After all, what could happen? At worst, it won’t work out and you’ll get back to square one. So it’s worth a shot!
Why This Advice Is Dangerous
I definitely agree that when I have more money than I really need, I spend it carelessly. In retrospect, I wish I didn’t have as much. But that’s entirely different from saying that being broke is awesome.
You’d have to be lucky enough to live in a privileged environment to think like that.
1. “If everything goes bad, you can always get back to square one”.
Sleep at your parents’ house or take your old job back. There’s a mattress to catch you in case you fall, awesome!
That could happen, yes, but do consider this:
You’ve left everything and everyone behind to live your dreams. You had hopes, you were happy, motivated. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, so you go home. Or to your parents’ house if you sold your place before leaving.
I bet your family and friends will be glad to see you. And you to see them. But you’ll feel bad inside nonetheless. Because you had to give up your dream. You failed. It might seem like nothing, but I bet that mentally, it’d be hard to recover from it.
What about now? You go back to your old job? Alright, let’s assume they do take you back. Now that they know your lack of motivation about it, don’t count on it getting any better than it was.
That’s the problem:
If things go bad, you most likely won’t be starting from square one, but even further than that.
2. “Being broke is the best time to leave”
What if you have debts? Do you need to pay your student loan? Do you need to financially support your family?
It’s one thing not to have money and another to owe some or to need to give some to people you care about who depend on it.
That’s why I brand this advice as dangerous. It’s noble to seek to inspire people – it’s dangerous to do so without presenting the consequences it might also have.
For many people, it doesn’t come down to “not worrying about money” or choosing between amazing life experiences and a crappy job. It’s often more dramatic: pursuing a dream that they might not be prepared for, at the risk of making their situation even worse or keep working hard because they have to, and yes, it’s safer.