A Matter of Courage

A Matter of Courage

“Traveling is never a matter of money, but of courage.”

Paulo Coelho

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As a huge fan of Paulo Coelho’s literary works, I can easily relate to his views on the world. Recently, I started reading his book Aleph; inside, was the quote listed above, and it spoke to me immediately. Above all things, traveling truly is a matter of courage.

Yes, sure, it can be argued that you need money, but that argument can be countered with the idea that you don’t need that much. Often, it’s what holds people back from traveling, “Oh, I don’t have the money,” but it’s actually about so much more than just that.

It’s about stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing whatever it takes to travel the world, even if that means losing security, in one way or another.

Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam.

Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam.

Sometimes it’s financial security, other times it’s emotional security, but let’s be honest, it takes some courage to step outside your front door and out into the world. Otherwise, everyone would do it, and I know of plenty of people who are afraid of making that small step. Still the benefits outweigh the risks. Trust me.

What I’ve learned out on the road, often while testing my courage, has been invaluable in my life. It’s allowed me to grow and understand myself better. It’s taught me that I am capable of much more than I previously thought. It’s made me a more patient and kinder soul. Those are lessons that can most often be taught as we step outside of our comfort zones and into our courage zones.

Fiji.

Fiji.

Plenty of people quit their jobs and travel the world. Sometimes it’s just for a few months, but other times it’s for years at a time. To the average person this looks risky, especially in the sense of money, but more-often-than-not, those who are traveling this way have found a way to do so without a lot of money.

I can’t tell you the amount of times people say to me, “I wish I had the money to travel like you do.” I try to tell them that they do, but we have choosen to spend our money in different ways. To me, seeing the world is a priority, which is why, even if I don’t have all the money I need, I would choose to have less to travel the world.

Okavango Delta, Botswana.

Okavango Delta, Botswana.

Travel is important to me, and it takes courage more than anything else. But, in the end, if you have that courage, the courage to break away from the ordinary and see the world, I promise that your experience and what you will discover will be worth any and all risks.

“After weeks on the road, listening to a language you don’t understand, using a currency whose value you don’t comprehend, walking down streets you’ve never walked down before, you discover that your old ‘I’, along with everything you ever learned, is absolutely no use at all in the face of those challenges, and you begin to realise that, buried deep in your unconscious mind, there is someone much more interesting and adventurous and more open to the world and to new experiences.”

Paulo Coelho

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Comments (19)

  1. Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap)

    You are so so so right Erin! We hardly spend our money on anything apart from food and wine! lol. The rest is for travel. We used to waste so much on stuff we did not need. We would rather spend it on life!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Haha, Paul, I like it! Food, wine, and travel…really, what else does one need? 🙂

  2. @mrsoaroundworld

    i am absolutely with you! but also need to buy shoes!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Haha, well, shoes are very important too, Ana!

  3. Pola (@jettingaround)

    I hear you, Erin! It’s always possible to find time & money for things you love. I don’t need the latest gadgets, I too would rather spend whatever money I have on travel. Great quote.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Yes, I loved that quote, and I agree, I’d rather have travel over “things” 🙂

  4. Amanda AngloAdventure

    I quit my job to expatriate to French Canada. It took a bit of courage but ended up being one of those life-defining things. I am not the same person I was when I left. I no longer care about money or my job as much. The only trouble is, I can’t figure out where to go from here (had to move back to Seattle).

    Love Paulo too!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Paulo is the best. 🙂 Yes, that takes a lot of courage. I can also see how it would be hard to pick your next move after such a big one. I’m sure you’ll figure it out though, especially if you were brave enough to make the first move.

  5. Traveling Ted

    I have that same photo of myself in the Cu Chi Tunnels as does I am sure every traveler that goes through Southeast Asia.

    1. The World Wanderer

      So funny, Ted! At first, I wasn’t too keen on getting in, but I figured, why not?! 🙂

  6. Francesca (@WorkMomTravels)

    Spot on, Erin! My travels have given me so much more confidence in every-day life. This is an important message and the reason I’m starting my kids out traveling so early on.

    1. The World Wanderer

      So important, Francesca! I am the person I am today because of travel. 🙂

  7. Charu

    I love this post! I agree with you that for many people, the idea of letting go of fear is very important. Love that photo of you in the tunnels! 🙂

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks, Charu! Sometimes letting go of a fear is easier said than done, unfortunately.

  8. the lazy travelers

    i love this erin! i remember one time while discussing travel with my mom, she said to me that she could never travel as much as i do because “she isn’t as brave.” its worth overcoming the fear of the unknown!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks! I agree with you, and you eventually realize, there’s really nothing to be afraid of. 🙂

  9. lola

    Erin – i couldn’t agree with this more. traveling means needing courage to make choices. you just have to decide how important all the things are in your life.

  10. Albert

    Good post.
    Especially the ‘out of your comfort zone’, what you hear a lot.
    Some people rather stay in their comfort zone and don’t understand why we step out of it.

    It’s funny, I just wrote a post about how some friends and family think my dream of going abroad, again, isn’t a great idea and they prefer that il stay, find a job and be safe.
    It’s getting annoying and exhausting to defend my dreams all the time. So I am glad I am moving away again soon.

    I am glad I had the courage to go through with it, and hopefully more people will get it as well.

    Albert,

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