I have wanderlust, like real bad. There are 195 countries in the world and I’ve been to a very small part of 3 of them. Even the country I live in is unexplored territory to me. I’ve seen bits and pieces of it, but I haven’t really revelled in it. I want to, I really really do, but my resources are so limited.
Reality doesn’t keep me from scheming and dreaming though. Our family created a bucket list of places we’d like to go and experiences we’d like to have before our oldest daughter graduates high school, a mere 5 years from now. It’s an ambitious goal, some would say too ambitious, and they would be sane (and right). Luckily, I’m not one to back down from a challenge (or be sane apparently).
Once the dream is set in motion, the scheming begins. Travel takes money and I find that coming up with the money is about 90% of the work of traveling. I poured over our budget to see how we could possibly invest in these dreams of ours and I saw a familiar answer.
In the same way that digging out from under the piles of stuff in my house has been a journey of baby steps, and in the same way that getting healthy is a journey of baby steps, making our travel dreams come true will be all about baby steps. I found one of those charts on Pinterest that tells you “If you put away X dollars each week, in one year you’ll have X dollars” and decided to follow it. It seemed simple enough. Week 1, put $4 in the jar. Week 2, put $8 in the jar. Then by Week 52 we have over $5000.
I immediately started stressing about the weeks where we’d have to put over $100 in the jar. Where would that money come from? What expenses can we slash? What is our latte factor? Do I have anything to sell? I got so caught up in the bigger amounts that I forgot to pay attention to the smaller ones. I didn’t understand that it would take discipline to put $4 in a jar. I probably have that in loose change in my purse, right? I put the first few weeks in and then a seemingly small expense came up, so I took those few dollars out of the jar. I can always put it back, I mean I probably have $4 in loose change in my couch cushions, right?
I sat down to evaluate our progress and was astonished to discover that we were a few hundred dollars short of where our loose change should have gotten us. No big deal though, it’s such small amounts and I had them in my purse and couch a few weeks ago, It wont take much to catch us back up. I was so wrong. The purse and couch have been raided. All the nickels and dimes have been swept away.
When dreams are big it’s hard to remember that they start off with baby steps. Even harder than that is to understand that each baby step is important. It’s the little things stacked on top of each other and added up that get to the big goals. The truth of the matter is that by neglecting the baby steps I may not be able to attain those dreams.
I’ve learned the lesson of baby steps. Taking something big and breaking it down into bite sized chunks. I do it without thinking now. That doesn’t mean I’ve arrived though, it just means it’s time for the next lesson. My baby steps have been haphazard. I take them when I have extra energy or time. I take them in a random order. I see them as individual items on a checklist that I can tackle however the wind blows. It’s worked so far.
The next lesson is to add discipline into the mix. Taking the steps when I don’t feel like it. Taking the steps when they seem inconsequential. Taking the steps in a more organized and thought out way. I could learn this lesson in other areas of my life, but I think I’m coming to this realization around travel because that’s where I’ll be successful with it first. Wanderlust is incredibly motivating. I can think of no better reward for hard work than visiting somewhere new. I’ve gotten the rhythm of left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot steps. Now to get those feet on a path and follow it through. I can’t wait to get to all the places I’ll go.