Why It’s Never the Perfect Time to Travel

taking the leapWith 2012 just beginning, many will be thinking of vacations and trips around the world. They’ll be pondering exotic locations and amazing adventures. And then abandoning those dreams as rapidly as they were thought up. Something will come up and plans will be put off until tomorrow as you wait for “the right time.” But, here is a secret: it will never be the right time to travel. You will always have some reason to stay at home. You always be able to find an excuse as to why today just isn’t the right day. But the idea that the stars will align and you’ll find the perfect day to step out of your door and into the world is a fantasy.

Today might not be the perfect day – but neither is tomorrow.

Tomorrow, there will still be bills to pay.

Tomorrow, there still won’t be enough money.

Tomorrow, there will still be someone’s wedding to attend or a birthday party to go to.

Tomorrow, there will still be planning to do.

Tomorrow, you still won’t know if you are making the right decision.

Tomorrow, you will still second guess yourself.

Tomorrow, you’ll still find yourself putting off the preparation for one more day.

Tomorrow, you’ll find another excuse why you can’t go.

Tomorrow, people you know will still sow the seeds of doubt in your head.

Tomorrow, you’ll still worry about all the bad stuff that might happen to you.

Tomorrow, something else will come up.

Tomorrow will never be perfect.

When tomorrow does come, you’ll say to yourself “Today isn’t the right day. Let’s try again tomorrow.”

But tomorrow will never come. Tomorrow will always be some vague day in the future.

And then one day you’ll find you’ve run out of tomorrows.

And you’ll be filled with nothing but sadness and regret.

So stop waiting.

Stop making excuses. Today is your day.

It’s never the right time to travel.

Forget about tomorrow.

Just go.

It’s a new year.

And it’s full of possibility.

    • rick be

      When I left my job of 20 years & got 9 weeks severance-I was afraid I’d find a similar one so I took my first trip to Europe. I like to say,it didn’t turn out that way;
      I haven’t had a steady job since,but have seen 60 countries.

      • Aween

        Wow ! amazing. Last time I always think off when is the right time to start travelling. Then I said to myself, if I keep thinking about it and didnt do something, I wouldnt go anywhere. So I challenge myself to go for a solo trip over the weekend as a kick start.
        Now I’m addicted to it !

  1. Andrew Legere

    Amen Matt,

    I love this! I was in the same situation, although working for an airline and travelling for a couple years, I was always “to in debt” or has lose ends, so I could never just leave home and travel…

    A few months ago I decided it had been long enough. Made plans to rent a friends spare room in the Caribbean, sold the few things I owned, sold my car, put notice in at work a couple months prior to the day I planned on leaving… and now that day is next week…

    So all that is still going through my head. Money, where I am going, second guessing my decision… The whole works,,, However its so worth it!

    So stop waiting! Love it! Great post!

    • Just decide to go! It is the way to do it. Make a decison to avoid regrets later when you are unable to go for health or family reasons. If you don’t risk, there will be no adventure or experience.

      • rick be

        I’ve been to Mexico many times but when my PC showed a flt. from BDL to CUN for $280 RT,I knew God wanted me to go again.

    • Brian

      Well, if you paid off your debt, bravo. The world is yours. If not, and this goes for others too, then the decision to spend money towards consumption instead of paying off interest-accumulating debt needs a deep soul-searching reevaluation.

      • monkeytine

        I do agree with Brian. I do not regret a single time I chose travel over paying off debt, but I was also >25 years old. I am now a prisoner to my debt, because I literally cannot afford to travel outside of a 100 mile radius because of my high monthly payments. Again, I do not regret anything, so there’s something to be said for that, but I also am comfortable with my decision to pay off my debt before any more destination vacations. I only have a year left, too! Then I’ll be off on new adventures, picking up right where I left off.

        Point being, if you have NEVER travelled for the fun of it, just do it, because you may not even be here tomorrow. But, if you have travelled a lot and are now in a pit of debt, and if you know deep down inside that it is not a good decision to make travel plans at this very moment, (and it will be a very obvious deep, gut feeling), then listen to that, too. Debt has caused me endless anxiety and depression, so I know in my heart that it is not worth living like this anymore until I have caught up with my previous spending patterns from traveling. I have learned from my mistakes, though, and will travel within my means in the future, which will in turn make for an even more enjoyable experience. (Because literally the only thing I didn’t love about traveling was the constant anxiety over whether I could afford the trip at all, because honestly, I couldn’t! Imagine how much better it will be without that fear!)

        Good luck to everyone struggling with this issue out there! Just see it through to the end, and then follow your heart wherever it leads you!

  2. Going … going … gone …!

    It helped that I started my year of RTW/travel on Christmas Eve by leaving my country of residence for the last five years, and ending back in North America on Christmas Day.

    Thanks for your post, Matt!

  3. I totally needed to hear this today. I just got a text from a friend that invited me to Costa Rica at the end of February. I now am going to do all that is necessary to make that trip happen. Thx

  4. This is a simple but great article. All my friends are envying me about my world tour, so when I tell them just do it it’s not that difficult they always answer: “Yes but I can’t, I have this or this or this”…..I think it’s more because they are afraid about jumping in a new way of life

  5. So true, so true. I did not want to end up wishing I had gone when I had the chance instead of waiting for a better moment. This is the best moment. Hence, I am going :) Now. (well, in 3 weeks actually, but that’s still ‘now’)

  6. So true!
    There are always more important, more grown up things to spend your money on. But those things will still be there if and when you come home.
    So many people wait until retirement to travel when they could have spent all of their life having adventures. Rather than waiting for some magical day in the future when everything is worked out perfectly just do it now!

  7. This is so true and exactly what I said when we finally bit the bullet and actually did it – and when we did it? no regrets whatsoever!

    There’s always a reason NOT to do it, find the reason to JUST DO IT!

    If you want something to change, you have to be prepared to change something, and don’t mistake the edge of the rut for the horizon!

  8. Inspiring post. Thanks Matt. My thoughts are that a lot of the people who come up with these excuses don’t actually want to travel, or certainly don’t want to prioritize it. There is nothing wrong with prioritizing money towards houses, cars, etc., but the excuses are an easier way of explaining lack of travel rather than saying, ‘I’d rather have a house.’

  9. Thanks for the inspiration. We are trying to plan a vacation for April with our now 16-month old daughter and every one I look at seems so difficult with a toddler! I feel like the timing will never be right, although it’s good now because my husband is working from home finally. Love your site!

  10. Nikki

    i am an avid fan of your site esp since after my last month-long trip to Thailand I’ve decided to move there and start my world adventure. i don’t have a plan really and don’t know what’ll happen but know i have to go. i came home to sell my condo, sell all my belongings and make a few dollars and each day that passes a little more doubt creeps in, one more thing i feel i should “be here for” comes up etc..i found your post on the exact day an unexpected bill hit that’s wiping out a lot of my “travel reserve” and i was starting to think i should push off the date or maybe it wasn’t the “smartest” idea. your entry reminded me that there never will be a good time, tomorrow is always tomorrow and the feeling i have when i travel, the person i really am will never be realized here sitting behind a desk. i’ve already waited too long in my life to make this jump. thank you, thank you for speaking right to me. you are an inspiration and my hero as of late. hope to meet you someday

  11. well put Matt. I always get seem to get pre-trip “anxiety”, thinking “Well…I am just not quite ready yet” or I “have to do this one last thing” and before I know it, it is 4 months later in the US before my next travel stint. My NY resolution was to end this. Just go. You can buy it on the road. You can set it up on the road. You can phone them on the road. Jumping is the hard part, but the most worthwhile.



  12. Wow. so true! Now is the right time. I am studying abroad for the 2nd time, and I know too many people that said they didn’t have time to. I’d rather graduate a semester or two later and have this amazing experience. Take the plunge, you won’t regret it :)

  13. Eugene

    Cool post! It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland where the Queen of Hearts says to Alice that she can have “jam tomorrow and jam yesterday but never jam today.” Dammit, I want jam today!
    I got tired of talking about going back to Thailand “one day” for a holiday and spent a tax rebate I got in November on plane tickets for my wife before I could think of something more “sensible” to do with it. Now my tomorrow has turned into April.
    From the other comments it sounds like your words are turning into other people’s actions. Nicely done.

  14. You’re absolutely right. Travel time is when you’re sick and tired of following routines and prepare for the possible unwanted issues. We better take the moment as we don’t know where we’ve come from and where we’ll end up. This very moment is what we can make of our own.

    Rahman Mehraby

    TraveList Directory

  15. Aj

    You couldn’t be more right, sometimes you just gotta put all the “what if’s” to the side and grab the bull by the horns! Congrats by the way, for being recognized as a top travel blog. Just see the piece about you now!

  16. Great mantra to live by! Sometimes you just have to pull the trigger when it come to traveling and watch what unfolds. Every trip is worth the risk!

  17. Eric

    For over 12 years of my adult life it was those exact excuses that kept me from ever going anywhere aside from the rare weekend outing. Then one day I sucked it up and went. Baby steps mind you,2 week car trip with my young sons (4,8,12),just the “guys”,and ya know what? The world didn’t fall apart, everyhing was just as I left it. A small step and getting past the “obsticals”(I put inmy own way)and in the 1 years since I’ve covered 30 of the states and over 25 contriesmany with “the guys”. “tomorrow is never perfect” but that’s why today is.

  18. Eric

    AAAAgh! I hate my keyboard! it’s “15 years since” not 1 years. the spellings and run ons are totaly my doing though. Cheers

  19. Matt

    I think some people say ‘you are running away’ when they are just jealous you are deciding to follow something that makes you happy.

    I am certainly keen to shun these naysayers and follow the dream …


  20. Travel change people and will change the face of the world!

    Sometimes news are scary and people prefer to settle but they don”t know how you feel to travel!

  21. Deborah

    Hi! I really like your website. It is beautifully designed and everyone can relate to your website. What you have written is very meaningful and so true. At times we tend to postpone the things we could do right now to tomorrow. Life is to short to keep on saying that tomorrow we will do this and that. We never know when our life might end and then we will look back and say that we have not done everything we wanted to do just because we were scared. Like Shakespeare once said: ” Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.”
    So we should enjoy it by doing such things for tomorrow we never know if it never comes…

  22. Mark Lader

    Life is short and so I agree that travel is really a necessity of life for any interesting person. Wish I had a se cond language.

  23. It is so true. Would love to do a trip far away. The last years I just traveld through Europe and I´m from Germany. But nothing “big” is in sight. Maybe I simply should book a cheap flight to the US or Asis at least for a week. You never know what comes up next respectively tomorrow.

  24. Krisabele N. Ricamonte

    The hardest thing about the first backpacking trip I did, was deciding to go or not go because I was worrying with random things about that time. But I’m glad I decided to get on the plane, because I discovered a lot about myself during that trip.

  25. Yesterday was the 6th of June, the anniversary of a day that wasn’t perfect for Eisenhower to visit France, but it turned out well enough.

    If your trip isn’t more important than anything else you have to do, then maybe you’re not a traveler.

  26. Marilynn

    I am not a vagabond nomadic traveler. I have traveled in my life and done things others said were going to get me raped or killed, like driving the Baja in a 73 bug back in 98. I lost my husband of 45 years in June. Living half the year in Mexico and the other half in the States and having seen Europe gives me more perspective than many. Also, perhaps being a senior makes things different for me. But the same thing applies, you have to say GO and than do it. Being older it is important for me to get going NOW, before it is too late. I will have 2 months in Europe, some preplanned, some unplanned. Suddenly single is sad, a tad scary and freeing, I have no one holding me back and no one I have to please, just me. Get going before you miss life itself, I am running away. I am running away from fear, I am running away from becoming old before I JUST DO IT.

  27. Kate

    For all those people that would love to travel, stop thinking about that and DO IT while you still can!!

  28. 100% true – I spent 4 years waiting for tomorrow – what a waste of my life!!! Proud to say I finally lived for today and have now been on the road for 18 months 😀 best thing I ever did!

  29. Matt…

    your posts are so inspiring. I am exited about my first long term trip, and when I read your encouragement words, I know that I made a great choice to go out to see the world and experience more.

  30. Carlotta

    Maaaaaaaattt, I was one of the “maybe one day” team players but you have helped me change the way I see my life now. I’ve started a new business that will afford me more time to go here and there and everywhere. Going to Iceland next month. And China in May. Never been to any of those places. I’ve lost a dull life and gained a very exciting one. Thanks for inspiring me so much!!! Love from Italia X

  31. Beth

    Hello Matt, My daughter sent me to your site. She has done some major traveling with her parents as well as alone, and learned how to be the respectful American traveler, which is important. Now she wants to go for an extended trip (months as opposed to days or weeks) and her father and I were opposed. She has a wonderful job at a University health center, with a great team, and further, will need health benefits at 26 years old. The time for that is over, I told her.
    She calmly answered me that she understood the losses she would face and still was confident she is making the right decision. She said, “I never heard of anyone on their deathbed say that they should never have taken that backpacking trip around the world”. OK. Enough said and you have my blessing. You get it.
    Thank you Matt for these blogs which will help so many young people travel frugally and grow. In my day you were OK to hitchhike but this is pretty much over now. Also I was thinking of you and the movies and wonder, have you been to http://www.Coursera.org ? The courses are everything from Modern Jewish Mystics, to How to feed your horse, to Game Theory video taught by professors from colleges and universities all over the world. I think you would LOVE it!
    Keeping you in the Light Matt,
    Beth (went 10,000 miles of the United States in the summer of 1976)

  32. Laura Bruckner

    I can’t say I haven’t traveled. I’ve been to the British and U.S. Virgin Islands twice, Aruba, Mexico twice; St. Maarten, Canada; almost through every state, and most of those were before I was 20 and with my parents. I continue to travel the U.S., but have been wanting to go back to the BVI for the past 35 years. I sent an email to my siblings and cousin last week; told them I was going on a sailing charter summer of 2015 with or without them. Guess what – they are all in! We will be ages 56 through 67!Now I am committed and feel so much better! Yes, it’s going to be expensive; I don’t do frugal traveling. So maybe I’ll have $20k less to live on in my retirement. I can live with that. And after that trip I’m going to Hawaii, where I missed my chance 22 years ago when pregnant with my youngest daughter, and because of a minor complication, was afraid to leave the U.S. Thanks Matt, your sight reminds me that yes, tomorrow might be too late, so I’m gonna do it now!

  33. This is every bit as true today as when you first wrote it – maybe even more so. I agree 100% with you. Just DO it!

    By the way, we were in Iceland just a month ahead of you. Our evening excursion to see the aurora borealis got cancelled due to bad weather. I’m so glad you got to experience it and look forward to seeing more of your pictures. The one you posted yesterday or today was amazing.

  34. I stumbled upon this 2012 post of yours from your recent update in your Facebook. I must say it gave me conviction to pursue my goal for this new year – travelling. Though i work long hours in an office, i firmly believe that i will find ways to explore other places if i focus on this goal of mine. Thanks, Matt. May you continue to inspire people to believe that there’s never the right time to travel and widen their horizons.

  35. Heather

    Inspiring post. Thanks for that, Matt!
    And nice photo of someone jumping into Crater Lake, as well. Was that you? If not, be sure to make a detour on your way through Oregon in May. It is truly spectacular. Looking forward to seeing you at your book tour stop at Powell’s.

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