You’ve always wanted to travel, but you’re not sure how to get started. Doesn’t it cost a lot of money? Where would you even go? How would you support yourself while you were there?
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to broaden your horizons without necessarily emptying your wallet. The key is to travel with purpose. Don’t just take a vacation to a faraway country; go there to do something.
Do you still need ideas? Here are just three ways to see the world without being a tourist.
1. Study Abroad
One of the easiest ways to journey overseas is to become a student. This isn’t limited to young, college-aged individuals; though they might dominate the “study abroad” brochures, there are students of every age attending international universities. You just have to find a subject that you love and a program that will allow you to travel. Then you can continue your education elsewhere.
2. Work or Volunteer in Another Country
Qualified professionals can find work on just about every continent. Some of it’s paid, and some of it’s on a volunteer basis, but all of it will get your foot in the door while you experience another world. Think about things like nursing jobs in the Middle East or software engineering in Asia. Think about teaching English to schoolkids in Africa.
Backpacking doesn’t have to be aimless. You can follow certain trails or try to complete specific goals in order to give your trip purpose and meaning. For example, you might try to travel from one end of Japan to another without using any planes or trains, or you might plan a trip through Brazil that hits all of the country’s cultural touchstones. It’s up to you. You control your destiny.
These are just a few ways to get off the couch and start traveling. Some of them will take more effort than others, but all of them will allow you to see, hear, taste and touch the world around you. Let’s see a smartphone do that!