Author Topic: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?  (Read 25786 times)

steveo

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #50 on: February 16, 2014, 02:20:02 PM »
I wouldn't call it an entitlement, as Libra did, but I do think it's something more and more people emphasis as "worth it."

In other words, the point of FI to me is all about deciding what's important to you and spending money on that, and cutting everything else out.

Thus I don't spend on a cable bill, eating out, large house, etc... But I do spend on, and plan to spend on, travel.

The same seems to be more and more true of others, often other people in the frugality circles - travel is something important to them.  That doesn't mean they think they are entitled to it - quite the opposite, they work hard to be able to do it, not as an entitlement - but that it's something they value over other consumerism spending.

I would state that plenty of people see it as something that you have to do or something that is cool. I think it becomes something to tell other people about. Even your example as stating that people in frugality circles stating travel is important to them has that ring of following the crowd.

I put it in the same category as any other expense and to me it seems excessive for the return that you get.

If you feel it is worth it then I suppose that is cool. I suppose I question how much original thought goes into justifying travel for yourself rather than as a social standing point ala having a fancy car or whatever.

arebelspy

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #51 on: February 16, 2014, 02:26:52 PM »
It doesn't appeal to you, I get it.

But why would you assume we do it for status or social recognition?

I enjoy travel more than doing pretty much anything else.  So much so that I'm building my FIRE plans around traveling full time.

I couldn't give a rip if it was cool or not.

Most of the other travelers I've met are the same way.

I think you are interacting with the wrong people.  People for whom travel is a status thing is the same type of person for whom a new car is a status thing. 

I don't tend to interact with those sort of people, and you may not want to assume everyone is like that (and perhaps consider getting some new friends). 

:)
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Albert

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #52 on: February 16, 2014, 02:43:46 PM »
Steveo: don't travel if it doesn't appeal to you. No problem there really…

RichWard

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #53 on: February 16, 2014, 02:49:06 PM »
We took some advice off the board and set financial goals before we will allow ourselves to travel (ie: I paid off the remaining portion of my highest student loan and will not allow myself to travel before paying off my car - about 1 year). I would like to clarify that we do not feel "entitled" to travel, we just value the freedom to do so and to see the rest of the world more than normal possessions and luxuries. We have made sacrifices (no going out to eat, no new clothes, no cable, cut our own hair, etc) and both contribute to our roth 401(k)s prior to allocating the rest of our income to pay down more of our student loans.

My gf and I both understand that taking such a trip will set us back on our journey for financial independence (and being debt free as soon as possible). We have no desire to have kids so we will need to consider that this isn't a "now or never" scenario. However, if something happened to one of us, I feel like we would both regret not spending time exploring together.

I know it is not Mustachian-like, but if we pay for the entire trip with outside funds, I think I will have justified going on the trip (whether this is correct or not). Partially because I hate needles and there is no way I would donate plasma to pay off student loans. I will be able to deal with being uncomfortable and taking away from my limited personal time if I know it is going toward something I will be able to look back on and be happy about.

Also, I did not buy a "new" car for a status symbol or a result of wanting "fancy" things. It is a 2007 with less than 42,000 miles after "trading in" a car that was valued at $0 by the dealership (I would have paid someone to take it off my hands at this point). The reason I have a loan for it is because I had two options: Pay cash for the car, or, take a car loan out at 3.15% fixed simple interest, and use the cash I saved up to pay down my 6.55% student loan. I chose option 2.

Thanks again for all the input, I got some great advice and some great references.

Melody

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #54 on: February 16, 2014, 04:07:22 PM »
Good job! 12 months will roll around super quickly and you'll enjoy your trip so much more knowing you put your financial security first. Also as other posters mentioned, a longer trip doesn't always have to cost more (or much more) than a shorter trip, so another 12 months will also give you more time to accrue annual leave for a slightly longer trip.

Annamal

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #55 on: February 16, 2014, 05:39:41 PM »
I would put travel in a similar category to having children:

It's expensive, you shouldn't go into debt to do it and it really doesn't suit some people.

It also has the potential to expand your world view in some profound ways.

There are buildings in the world that are so much older than human civilization in New Zealand (Maori have been here  for about 1000 years) and knowing that fact intellectually was nothing compared to being faced with the reality.

arebelspy

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #56 on: February 16, 2014, 05:57:29 PM »
I would put travel in a similar category to having children:

It's expensive, you shouldn't go into debt to do it and it really doesn't suit some people.

It also has the potential to expand your world view in some profound ways.

Hah!  I love that.  Well said.
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travelbug

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #57 on: February 16, 2014, 09:09:26 PM »
Travel is my drug of choice.

I go without a lot of other "stuff" to do it every year and I have never, ever regretted any trip.

We are on track to be FIRE in 2-3 years, we may have a bigger safety net and are already FI, but will stick with it for another 3 years to be able to travel for the rest of our lives.

I honestly could not imagine life without it and have been that way since I was a very small girl. It has become a bit more expensive now as we have two young children, but it forms us as people and we grow and learn by putting ourselves outside our comfort zone.

I do not mind if others choose not to travel, many of our close friends and family do not enjoy it, but for us it's akin to breathing.*

* I am writing from a first world perspective and would cut this expense if we needed the money to eat, have shelter or needed medical care...


Jamesqf

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #58 on: February 16, 2014, 09:35:25 PM »
But why would you assume we do it for status or social recognition?

Who's assuming?  I think we're saying that this is something potential travellers need to ask themselves before spending significant time & money on travel, same as any aspiring Mustachian should ask themselves why they're buying the big house, expensive car, or whatever. 

It does seem to be more acceptable here to spend $X on travel (now or post-ER) than to spend the same amount on a lot of other things, even though those other things might bring the purchaser more (subjective) pleasure than travel.

arebelspy

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #59 on: February 16, 2014, 09:56:00 PM »
But why would you assume we do it for status or social recognition?

Who's assuming?

steveo is.  Read his post.

I think we're saying that this is something potential travellers need to ask themselves before spending significant time & money on travel, same as any aspiring Mustachian should ask themselves why they're buying the big house, expensive car, or whatever. 

Of course.  I think we all agree with that.

I just think that most Mustachians that travel have considered that, and find it to be worthwhile.

You think we consider every other spending in our lives, but blindly spend on travel (while optimizing our travel expenses)?  Or do you think it's more likely we've considered that spending too, and found it worthwhile?

It does seem to be more acceptable here to spend $X on travel (now or post-ER) than to spend the same amount on a lot of other things, even though those other things might bring the purchaser more (subjective) pleasure than travel.

It is acceptable to me to spend your money on anything that makes you happy, if you've thought about it and are making a considered purchase.

I don't care if that's travel, a new car, or flying sex snakes.

But for many of us, it happens to be travel is worth it to us.  I wouldn't spend money on, say, a fancy bicycle, but I can see why one would.

You wouldn't spend money on travel, but can you see why one might?

/shrug

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steveo

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #60 on: February 17, 2014, 12:39:02 AM »
But why would you assume we do it for status or social recognition?
.....
I think you are interacting with the wrong people.  People for whom travel is a status thing is the same type of person for whom a new car is a status thing.

I would relate travelling exactly as per the same idea as having a certain car as being a status symbol. Some people buy a car because they like it whereas others to impress other people or to fit in.

Steveo: don't travel if it doesn't appeal to you. No problem there really…

Agreed.

Who's assuming?  I think we're saying that this is something potential travellers need to ask themselves before spending significant time & money on travel, same as any aspiring Mustachian should ask themselves why they're buying the big house, expensive car, or whatever. 

It does seem to be more acceptable here to spend $X on travel (now or post-ER) than to spend the same amount on a lot of other things, even though those other things might bring the purchaser more (subjective) pleasure than travel.

I should be clear and state that I am not assuming that people are travelling solely for the social status however prior to travelling I would think the purchase through exactly as per the example here.

It is acceptable to me to spend your money on anything that makes you happy, if you've thought about it and are making a considered purchase.

I agree with this. The point is making considered purchases.

Mortgage Free Mike

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #61 on: February 17, 2014, 07:25:03 AM »
I am not FI, but I am debt and mortgage free at age 28. With that said, I traveled as I worked to improve my financial position. Life is about experiences with the people you love, not money. You can continue to improve your financial position and enjoy your life simultaneously.

MrsPete

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #62 on: February 17, 2014, 08:27:48 AM »
I would state that plenty of people see it as something that you have to do or something that is cool. I think it becomes something to tell other people about. Even your example as stating that people in frugality circles stating travel is important to them has that ring of following the crowd.
I think I see a touch of this "I've been ___.  Where have YOU been?" among some of my younger co-workers.  But I also think that pales in comparison to the fact that this generation has been raised on a steady diet of, "You can go and do whatever you want -- you are destined for great things!  Go out and taste the world!"  They've been raised to WANT AND DESIRE travel in a way that my generation wasn't. 

In your early 20s you are likely to be fitter and healthier than in your late 30s. That means you can walk further and sleep in less-comfortable places. I don't imagine I'll be able to get a good night's sleep on a sofa when I'm 40. You're more likely to have children who you'd have to leave at home for months while you were away, that doesn't sound free. Also, you don't have to pay rent if you're abroad for a long period of time, but you do have to keep paying your mortgage.
Have to disagree on several counts:

- When I was 20, I was fitter and healthier.  I'm mid-40s, and I cannot hike as far as I could then, but I don't own a walker yet.  I can still do all-day hikes or overnight hikes.  My pace may be slower and I may need some Icy Hot at the end of the day, but my teenagers don't whine that I'm slow.  What DOES absolutely kill me is wearing a pair of flat sandals (last summer I foolishly wore them to an all-day trek at the zoo, which meant walking on concrete, and my feet were killing me at the end of the day), but if I choose good, supportive footwear, I can still walk all day long.  In fact, what's that I see over by the door?  Why, it's my hiking boots!  Why aren't they packed away in the attic as a memory?  Oh, yeah -- it's because we were out walking in the snow day a few days ago. 

- My mother is 70, and she does half-day hikes on moderate terrain without any problem.  She was never one for sleeping "out" though. 

- I can absolutely sleep on a sofa . . . or on the ground.  Why couldn't I?  The reality is that when I was in my 20s, I often didn't have the money for a hotel room.  Today I do, so I have choices, but that doesn't mean I'm not capable of sleeping where ever.  In fact, I'm a scout leader and frequently tent camp.  I have a great little mattress that's small enough to fit on top of a day pack and is very comfortable to sleep upon. 

- Yes, if you have children, you're probably paying extra to take them along OR you're paying someone to care for them in your absence.  Unless you have kind grandparents who look forward to visits from their grandchildren -- and most of us do have those people in our lives.  Traveling for months at a time is probably impossible, if you're leaving your children . . . but consider the other side of that coin:  The average young person has less vacation time and probably can't leave his job for months at a time anyway -- whereas I have literally a year of vacation time accumulated, and my husband has more. 

- If you leave the country for a few months, you might avoid paying your rent.  IF you time your trip to coincide with the end of your lease, and if you find a place to store all your stuff.  This isn't effort-free. 
« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 08:55:09 AM by MrsPete »

arebelspy

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #63 on: February 17, 2014, 08:31:56 AM »
prior to travelling I would think the purchase through exactly as per the example here.

...

I agree with this. The point is making considered purchases.

Absolutely.  We all agree about that.

No one is saying mindlessly travel.  But if it is important to you, do it.  (See the thread title.)

Just like I'd say if it's important to you to eat out, do it, or to have a sports car, do it.

But pick what you're truly interested in.  For many of us, that's travel.  But yes, consider carefully.
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warfreak2

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #64 on: February 17, 2014, 10:13:53 AM »
MrsPete makes excellent points of course. The real question for me is, if travelling costs more when you are older, is the cost increase more than your investments would be making in the meantime? If there's not much difference then it probably doesn't matter if you go earlier or later.

Daleth

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #65 on: February 17, 2014, 06:39:36 PM »
MrsPete makes excellent points of course. The real question for me is, if travelling costs more when you are older, is the cost increase more than your investments would be making in the meantime? If there's not much difference then it probably doesn't matter if you go earlier or later.

I would say it does matter, for a couple of reasons.

First, traveling when you're young and still forming your basic ideas about the world, your values, etc., is a lot more likely to really expand your mind than traveling when you're older and more, for lack of a better word, ossified or certain in your thinking.

Second, traveling when you're young is more likely to change the course of your life just because anything you do when you're young is more likely to change the course of your life. You're more likely to meet and marry a foreigner (or to discover, through the stress of traveling, that your companion is or is not the person you want to spend your life with); more likely to master a new language; more likely to embark on a college degree in a subject you became passionate about as a result of your travels; more likely to decide to make your life in a foreign country, etc., when young than when you're older.

And finally, none of us knows what the future holds. That's why we have disability insurance and life insurance. I personally chose to travel as much as possible from as young an age as possible, precisely because RIGHT THEN I knew I was physically able to do so, but I had no guarantee that that would still be the case when I was older and more financially prepared.

Jamesqf

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #66 on: February 17, 2014, 10:23:08 PM »
But for many of us, it happens to be travel is worth it to us.  I wouldn't spend money on, say, a fancy bicycle, but I can see why one would.

You wouldn't spend money on travel, but can you see why one might?

I can see why they might, if they had not already done so.  But having done so, I have to say that (on top of the degradation & discomfort involved in commercial airline travel these days) it's pretty disillusioning.  The world is (culturally) too much of a sameness, and IMHO a least common denominator sameness to boot.  It is (or at least I found it so) profoundly depressing to bike around Ireland, and hear nothing but American rock (or worse, CW); to live in Switzerland, but never get to practice speaking French or German because everyone speaks English; to find that people almost everywhere try to dress, act, and consume like the sort of middle-class American that I dislike...  Which leaves scenery the only reason for travel, and I can find just as nice closer to home.

elaine amj

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #67 on: February 17, 2014, 11:02:23 PM »
I'll preface this by saving I adore travel and it's always been a major priority for me. My parents were major travellers and took us kids along on many trips as we grew up. On the other hand, my husband went once to Florida when he was 10. His next trip was when he was 30 years old. His family just didn't travel. He likes it now I've introduced him to it. I tease him though - if I wasn't around, he would still be sitting at home every day not even considering travel as a priority.

For me personally - travel has never been a "life changing experience". I look at it as an entertainment expense. When we first got married and were establishing ourselves financially, we primarily travelled (a long way) to visit my family. We got out and about a lot (I like being active) - lots of staycations, overnights in nearby hotels, and a few camping trips. Now we are on our way to FI and we spend rather lavishly (for me) on travel. But really, we spend about half what anyone else does for the same trips because I enjoy hunting for travel bargains.

Back to your question - if I was in your shoes, I would travel - but either to a less expensive destination or find a way to get there cheaper. I wouldn't spend $4K on a South American trip when I was still paying off student loans and getting financially settled.

Heck, even now we are settled, we only budget $6K or so for 2 major trips and a dozen weekend trips a year (for a family of 4). I like getting value out of my money (although I'm sure I could stretch my dollars further as I learn more Mustachian ways). The 4 of us will be spending 12 days travelling through Europe this March and I'm already upset that the trip's cost is ballooning - to a hefty $3k, possibly $4K. I was hoping to do it for $2k or so (yes, lots of airmiles and hotel points) but public transportation in Europe is way more expensive than I bargained for. Plus my tweens like expensive (i.e. conventional) activities *sigh*. My 12 yr old DD is begging to go to Madame Tussauds in London and that's about $100 right there. For 2-3 hours. OUCH. Especially when we could go to an amazing museum for free.

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #68 on: February 18, 2014, 03:05:02 AM »
But having [traveled], I have to say that (on top of the degradation & discomfort involved in commercial airline travel these days) it's pretty disillusioning.  The world is (culturally) too much of a sameness, and IMHO a least common denominator sameness to boot.  It is (or at least I found it so) profoundly depressing to bike around Ireland, and hear nothing but American rock (or worse, CW); to live in Switzerland, but never get to practice speaking French or German because everyone speaks English; to find that people almost everywhere try to dress, act, and consume like the sort of middle-class American that I dislike...  Which leaves scenery the only reason for travel, and I can find just as nice closer to home.

Yes.  And at risk of coming off as a horribly negative and joyless, I'll add a few more observations:

Many tourists seem to be satisfied by novelties, which I don't quite understand.  Like, if you go to Thailand, you notice that the taxicabs are painted in all these fruity colors, like hot pink.  Big whoop.  And yet I see tourists taking pictures of the taxicabs in Bangkok, because they are delighted by novelties.  Or they want to eat a rambutan (fruit), because you see it at the market and it looks all hairy and weird.  So, the tourists just seem to be content to collect inconsequential new sights and sounds and tastes, which doesn't seem too satisfying or enriching to me. 

Tourists also seem to like taking pictures of old things, which also kinda loses me.  They like to visit castles and see old places, like those narrow lanes with gingerbread-looking houses in Bavaria.  In their minds, perhaps they're "exploring history", but most seem just to be novelty-gazing or romanticizing the past.  Even stuff like going to the Taj Mahal, or the pyramids of Egypt -- somehow, they're just inanimate objects to me, and I don't quite see the appeal. 

I also kinda don't get the shallow, packaged experiences tourists sometimes engage in.  Like, here in Utah, you can pay, like, $175 to ride the bobsled at the Olympic Park.  Or they offer dogsledding packages to the tourists on ski vacations, for a similarly hefty fee.  But no one who does this is really interested in learning the sport of bobsledding, or really interested in disciplining a pack of huskies -- they're just consuming some pre-packaged experience for what?, for novelty, or maybe for entertainment, or possibly for bragging rights.  Not sure why this appeals to people! 

I'm sure I'm totally coming off like an alien from outer space here!  I just seem to not understand what is so enriching or intriguing.  I don't seem to understand why people who have already travelled abroad are still so passionate about travel.  Am I just not wired like a normal human?

limeandpepper

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #69 on: February 18, 2014, 03:30:03 AM »
just seem to be content to collect inconsequential new sights and sounds and tastes, which doesn't seem too satisfying or enriching to me. 

What makes these experiences inconsequential? I've lived in two different countries. So if I enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes in either of these countries, does it make it more valid and consequential, just because I'm not a tourist in these two countries? If I can enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes in countries I know well, why can't I also enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes in countries that are new to me? Or are you saying that sights, sounds and tastes are aspects that you find inconsequential in general, no matter where you are? If so, that's fine if it's how it is for you, but many of us appreciate the variety of sights, sounds and tastes that can be experienced in life.

LibraTraci

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #70 on: February 18, 2014, 04:04:44 AM »
just seem to be content to collect inconsequential new sights and sounds and tastes, which doesn't seem too satisfying or enriching to me. 

What makes these experiences inconsequential? . . . Or are you saying that sights, sounds and tastes are aspects that you find inconsequential in general, no matter where you are?

Yeah, those things just seem kinda small to me personally.  Like, when people say that travel can be a game-changer, and really expand your outlook on life, it just seems like these little sights, sounds and tastes don't totally meet that standard. 

Nevertheless, there's certainly no harm in enjoying the pleasures (small ones included) of whatever country you happen to be in!   

limeandpepper

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #71 on: February 18, 2014, 05:31:00 AM »
Yeah, those things just seem kinda small to me personally.  Like, when people say that travel can be a game-changer, and really expand your outlook on life, it just seems like these little sights, sounds and tastes don't totally meet that standard. 

Nevertheless, there's certainly no harm in enjoying the pleasures (small ones included) of whatever country you happen to be in!

Fair enough. Personally, I don't think travel has to necessarily be a game-changer to make it worthwhile. I enjoy reading, and I like reading a variety of different things so I wouldn't be content if I could only read one book for the rest of my life, even if it is an awesome book. I enjoy eating, but I have an ever-growing list of favorite foods and couldn't bear to pick just one, even if it was hypothetically able to meet all my basic nutritional needs. Same goes for experiencing the ways and pleasures of different countries. I love the two countries I call home, but it's a lot of fun to find out what other countries are like, too. I guess I've just always had a natural curiosity and enjoyment of different cultures, and therefore I get a lot of joy out of travelling.

I have no problem if other people don't feel the same way, as long as there is mutual respect - we don't all have to like the same things. And I'm aware that this forum attracts a certain demographic, but even among us there are many who don't think early retirement is the be all and end all. This is why questions like the one posed in this thread will always get you a variety of answers. It just depends on individual cases and priorities.

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #72 on: February 18, 2014, 06:39:01 AM »
But for many of us, it happens to be travel is worth it to us.  I wouldn't spend money on, say, a fancy bicycle, but I can see why one would.

You wouldn't spend money on travel, but can you see why one might?

I can see why they might, if they had not already done so.  But having done so, I have to say that (on top of the degradation & discomfort involved in commercial airline travel these days) it's pretty disillusioning.  The world is (culturally) too much of a sameness, and IMHO a least common denominator sameness to boot.  It is (or at least I found it so) profoundly depressing to bike around Ireland, and hear nothing but American rock (or worse, CW); to live in Switzerland, but never get to practice speaking French or German because everyone speaks English; to find that people almost everywhere try to dress, act, and consume like the sort of middle-class American that I dislike...  Which leaves scenery the only reason for travel, and I can find just as nice closer to home.

So you've judged it unsatisfactory for you, so it must be for everyone else as well?

Anyone who has done it must be mistaken that they enjoyed it, and those who do it again are just fools?

Or, to reframe the question your just answered: you now say you can understand why people would travel (once). You can't understand why people would repeatedly travel (for pleasure)?
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arebelspy

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #73 on: February 18, 2014, 06:40:11 AM »
But having [traveled], I have to say that (on top of the degradation & discomfort involved in commercial airline travel these days) it's pretty disillusioning.  The world is (culturally) too much of a sameness, and IMHO a least common denominator sameness to boot.  It is (or at least I found it so) profoundly depressing to bike around Ireland, and hear nothing but American rock (or worse, CW); to live in Switzerland, but never get to practice speaking French or German because everyone speaks English; to find that people almost everywhere try to dress, act, and consume like the sort of middle-class American that I dislike...  Which leaves scenery the only reason for travel, and I can find just as nice closer to home.

Yes.  And at risk of coming off as a horribly negative and joyless, I'll add a few more observations:

Many tourists seem to be satisfied by novelties, which I don't quite understand.  Like, if you go to Thailand, you notice that the taxicabs are painted in all these fruity colors, like hot pink.  Big whoop.  And yet I see tourists taking pictures of the taxicabs in Bangkok, because they are delighted by novelties.  Or they want to eat a rambutan (fruit), because you see it at the market and it looks all hairy and weird.  So, the tourists just seem to be content to collect inconsequential new sights and sounds and tastes, which doesn't seem too satisfying or enriching to me. 

Tourists also seem to like taking pictures of old things, which also kinda loses me.  They like to visit castles and see old places, like those narrow lanes with gingerbread-looking houses in Bavaria.  In their minds, perhaps they're "exploring history", but most seem just to be novelty-gazing or romanticizing the past.  Even stuff like going to the Taj Mahal, or the pyramids of Egypt -- somehow, they're just inanimate objects to me, and I don't quite see the appeal. 

I also kinda don't get the shallow, packaged experiences tourists sometimes engage in.  Like, here in Utah, you can pay, like, $175 to ride the bobsled at the Olympic Park.  Or they offer dogsledding packages to the tourists on ski vacations, for a similarly hefty fee.  But no one who does this is really interested in learning the sport of bobsledding, or really interested in disciplining a pack of huskies -- they're just consuming some pre-packaged experience for what?, for novelty, or maybe for entertainment, or possibly for bragging rights.  Not sure why this appeals to people! 

I'm sure I'm totally coming off like an alien from outer space here!  I just seem to not understand what is so enriching or intriguing.  I don't seem to understand why people who have already travelled abroad are still so passionate about travel.  Am I just not wired like a normal human?

If those things don't interest you, don't do them.

To think that those experiences are all that travel offers is laughable.
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Jamesqf

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #74 on: February 18, 2014, 11:15:15 AM »
So you've judged it unsatisfactory for you, so it must be for everyone else as well?

Anyone who has done it must be mistaken that they enjoyed it, and those who do it again are just fools?

Not necessarily :-)  But you have to remember that the OP was asking whether it's worth spending a bunch of money on travel.  That was my answer, with an explanation which I hoped would be helpful.

Now I have to ask why you protest so much.  Aren't you just going for the flip side, and saying that because you like travel, then everyone else should? 

arebelspy

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #75 on: February 18, 2014, 11:27:22 AM »
So you've judged it unsatisfactory for you, so it must be for everyone else as well?

Anyone who has done it must be mistaken that they enjoyed it, and those who do it again are just fools?

Not necessarily :-)  But you have to remember that the OP was asking whether it's worth spending a bunch of money on travel.  That was my answer, with an explanation which I hoped would be helpful.

Now I have to ask why you protest so much.  Aren't you just going for the flip side, and saying that because you like travel, then everyone else should?

Certainly not.  I recognize that my choices are not for everyone.

I do think that the vast majority of people should travel at least a little.

As Mark Twain put it:
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

But if someone likes fast cars and hates travel, spend your money on the former, not the latter.  Duh.
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steveo

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #76 on: February 18, 2014, 12:45:02 PM »
Now I have to ask why you protest so much.  Aren't you just going for the flip side, and saying that because you like travel, then everyone else should?

This is not just directed at areblespy but everyone who is pro-travel and comes back to my point earlier regarding travel being a status symbol. It seems to me that the pro-travel crowd want to make travel out to be something special when its not. Its no more special than what I get to experience on a daily basis.

The Mark Twain quote is another example of this putting travel on a pedestal.

I will still reiterate that if it means a lot to you do it however it is exactly the same to me as spending a lot on whatever your interest is - it could be fancy cars, clothes or too many clothes, cars etc.

If someone came on here and said I have x amount of debt but I want to own 5 cars how would everyone respond ? Taking away all the hype its the same thing which brings it back to the point I made earlier where it has nothing at all to do with it being good in itself but that it is a status symbol or at the very least a way to relieve boredom in your life via spending money. My take would be to create an interesting life that doesn't cost as much if you are still in debt or not as far along your path towards FI than what you feel you should be.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 12:47:15 PM by steveo »

Albert

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #77 on: February 18, 2014, 01:51:19 PM »
Heck, even now we are settled, we only budget $6K or so for 2 major trips and a dozen weekend trips a year (for a family of 4). I like getting value out of my money (although I'm sure I could stretch my dollars further as I learn more Mustachian ways). The 4 of us will be spending 12 days travelling through Europe this March and I'm already upset that the trip's cost is ballooning - to a hefty $3k, possibly $4K. I was hoping to do it for $2k or so (yes, lots of airmiles and hotel points) but public transportation in Europe is way more expensive than I bargained for. Plus my tweens like expensive (i.e. conventional) activities *sigh*. My 12 yr old DD is begging to go to Madame Tussauds in London and that's about $100 right there. For 2-3 hours. OUCH. Especially when we could go to an amazing museum for free.

Are you sure renting a car wouldn't be cheaper for you? It often is if there are 3 or more people traveling. Assuming you are not staying in big cities only. $4k for 12 days sounds a lot if you paid a significant amount of airfare with air miles.

Albert

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #78 on: February 18, 2014, 02:26:28 PM »
I'd like to add that travel could be life changing (particularly if you are in your teens or twenties), but that's relatively rare. More often it's just an entertainment with some added benefits of expanded worldview. How much of a latter depends where and how you travel. Laying on a beach and partying with other tourists not so much, hiking in Himalaya a bit more.

Also it's nonsense that all places on the planet are culturally the same. Europe and North America are basically offshoots of the same culture so of course there are a lot of similarities particularly in todays globalised age. However if you are now telling me that say traveling from Florence to Rome differs little from doing the same between Houston and Austin then I'll never understand you…

And if you really want different go to Asia or Middle East. I'm going to do just that, a 12 day trip to Oman is approaching soon. :)

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #79 on: February 18, 2014, 02:30:57 PM »
I will still reiterate that if it means a lot to you do it however it is exactly the same to me as spending a lot on whatever your interest is - it could be fancy cars, clothes or too many clothes, cars etc.

I'm not overly fanatical about travel myself, but I enjoy it and I enjoy driving fast cars. However the only perspective from which they are the same to me is a strictly financial one...where a $10000 trip is the same as a $10000 slave bought on some human trafficking black market. In every other way, the purchases are very different.

Your opinion is fine, but it's a rare one. I don't think many people can put most, or any, material goods such as cars or clothes into the same category as travel. I agree it can be romanticized, but there are pure/innocent reasons why people romanticize it. At risk of sounding arrogant... maybe you are missing something?

travelbug

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #80 on: February 18, 2014, 02:37:08 PM »
Judging someone else's well thought out priorities is a petty waste of energy.

Live and let live.

Part of the mustachian philosophy, as I understand and apply it to my own life, is to let go of the many wants that overwhelm us in the Western lifestyle and choose what truly matters.

If that is cars; buy the one that would bring you the most pleasure and be satisfied.

If it is travel; go and enjoy and live it.

If it is good food; eat it.

Walk your own walk and talk, but as a mustachian obtain the most bang for your buck that you can and prioritise what is important in YOUR own life.




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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #81 on: February 18, 2014, 02:45:24 PM »
I visited China a few times as a student, two months at a time, and the all-inclusive cost was about what I was paying to live at home for two months during term time. Of course, that's a false comparison because I could have lived at home over the Summer for much less than living in college during term time.

However, (and this won't really apply to anyone else, but) I was there studying Go, and because of that, I'm now one of the top players in the UK (because there aren't enough players in the UK). Therefore I occasionally qualify for an all- (or most-)expenses-paid trip to China, Korea or Japan, to represent the UK in an international tournament, thanks to the generosity of their Go associations (and their sponsors).

Jamesqf

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #82 on: February 18, 2014, 03:22:30 PM »
I do think that the vast majority of people should travel at least a little.

And I wouldn't disagree. But neither would I urge anyone to make it a life goal.  I'd also differentiate between living & perhaps working in other countries (as I have done), and visiting resorts or doing the '8 countries in 12 days' sort of touristing.

Quote
As Mark Twain put it:
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

You forget that he wrote that maybe 150 years ago, when the steamship was the fastest form of communication across oceans.  Nowadays, it's different.

However if you are now telling me that say traveling from Florence to Rome differs little from doing the same between Houston and Austin then I'll never understand you…)

I don't know about Houston and Austin - heck, I'm not even sure that there IS anything between them, or FTM in them - but other than a bunch of interesting old buildings, most of which you won't be able to appreciate because of the hordes of tourists blocking your view, where's there much difference between that and any similiarly-scenic trip in the US?  You'll hear American rock Muzak, be able to eat at McDonalds, see people wearing American-style clothing..

Albert

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #83 on: February 18, 2014, 03:40:30 PM »
I don't know about Houston and Austin - heck, I'm not even sure that there IS anything between them, or FTM in them - but other than a bunch of interesting old buildings, most of which you won't be able to appreciate because of the hordes of tourists blocking your view, where's there much difference between that and any similiarly-scenic trip in the US?  You'll hear American rock Muzak, be able to eat at McDonalds, see people wearing American-style clothing..

US has many scenic trips worth doing for the nature, particularly in the Western states and I've done some of them, but there is virtually nothing if history is what you are interested in. Native Americans didn't leave much behind...

arebelspy

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #84 on: February 18, 2014, 03:47:30 PM »
I don't know about Houston and Austin - heck, I'm not even sure that there IS anything between them, or FTM in them - but other than a bunch of interesting old buildings, most of which you won't be able to appreciate because of the hordes of tourists blocking your view, where's there much difference between that and any similiarly-scenic trip in the US?  You'll hear American rock Muzak, be able to eat at McDonalds, see people wearing American-style clothing..

Is your contention that every culture is just American culture (perhaps imitation)?  There is no other cultures to experience?

That idea seems laughable, yet this isn't the first time you've basically said that.

If it's not your contention, and I'm taking what you're saying a step too far, then why are you even bringing it up?  Sure, there may be some American influences in places, but if there are other cultures to experience, why not seek those out?
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Jamesqf

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #85 on: February 18, 2014, 08:57:08 PM »
Is your contention that every culture is just American culture (perhaps imitation)?  There is no other cultures to experience?

Pretty much, yes.  If there is native culture remaining under the veneer of American pop culture, you as a typical tourist won't get to experience it, unless it's a staged performance put on for the benefit of the tourist trade.  Just turn it around: if you happen to encounter say a Chinese tourist wandering around your home town, are you likely to invite that person home with you so s/he can experience real American culture?

Annamal

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #86 on: February 18, 2014, 09:18:37 PM »
Is your contention that every culture is just American culture (perhaps imitation)?  There is no other cultures to experience?

Pretty much, yes.  If there is native culture remaining under the veneer of American pop culture, you as a typical tourist won't get to experience it, unless it's a staged performance put on for the benefit of the tourist trade.  Just turn it around: if you happen to encounter say a Chinese tourist wandering around your home town, are you likely to invite that person home with you so s/he can experience real American culture?

I believe couch surfers are all about inviting tourists into your home (and being invited into other people's)

There are numerous ways to avoid a prepackaged tourist experience ( my favourite was just walking through cities, it's amazing how much you pick up just getting lost).

The easiest would probably be visiting rural areas that aren't tourist traps ( wwoofers or even comercial farm stays might be a good start).  I could go weeks at a time through rural spain without seeing a mcdonalds (and the Taranaki town my partner grew up in threw a parade for the first KFC to open there).

I can think of a number of ways you could go about experiencing Maori culture here without attending tourist events (especially around Matariki) and I'm sure that this is true of other places as well.

arebelspy

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #87 on: February 19, 2014, 07:05:57 AM »
Is your contention that every culture is just American culture (perhaps imitation)?  There is no other cultures to experience?

Pretty much, yes.  If there is native culture remaining under the veneer of American pop culture, you as a typical tourist won't get to experience it, unless it's a staged performance put on for the benefit of the tourist trade.  Just turn it around: if you happen to encounter say a Chinese tourist wandering around your home town, are you likely to invite that person home with you so s/he can experience real American culture?

Wow.

I'm not saying you can go discover some hidden culture that's untainted from 100 years ago or something, but to claim that all cultures are just the American culture or a close imitation is, as I said above, laughable.

As far as inviting a tourist into my home to experience real American culture, a few problems with that:
1) I live in Vegas. I think they came to see the glitz of Vegas, not the "real" culture of someone living in Vegas.

2) I think they can experience the real culture of America merely by traveling through it for an extended length of time (the various parts, as I think the culture of Portland is very different than Georgia, New England, or Kansas). Inviting them into a home isn't necessary.  Nor is it necessary for you to be invited into someone's home while traveling to experience their culture; you can do so by traveling in their country.

3) No, generally Americans don't do this (invite a tourist into their house).  It does happens sometimes though. But that doesn't mean foreigners won't.  Maybe we are just the inhospitable assholes.  And they actually might, because ... it's part of their culture

4) If you're so hung up on being invited to a local's home as necessary to experience the "real" culture of a place, it does happen.  I read travel blogs all the time where it happens.  This blog, Drive Nacho Drive, shares an experience of asking for a safe place to park their camper, being directed to a nearby temple and meeting the people:
http://www.drivenachodrive.com/2013/12/santanam/

Seems pretty authentic.

Or how about this one: http://www.drivenachodrive.com/2014/01/the-onam-food-babies/
People literally invite them to their homes.  "You should come to our house and stay. You can have Onam with our family tomorrow." 

They ended up declining because they were just passing through, changed their minds and regretted declining the invitation, stayed the next day for the Onam ceremony, and then ... got invited to someone's house (a completely different set of people from the first invitation!).  "You should come to our house for Onam!"

I personally don't think being invited into a local's home is a necessary part of traveling, but you seem to think it's important, so there you go. These are multiple examples, all from within the past month or so.  There's more I could dig up, on that blog, and others, but the point is: it happens.  And it's not infrequent.

American culture might have had an influence on theirs, absolutely.  But if you can't get past the fact that you may recognize a song in a restaurant and equate that to "the culture is the same," I don't really know what to say to you.  Culture is not just going to see native dances from 1,000 years ago, with people in the same outfits they wore 1,000 years ago.  It's the living breathing differences today.  And I guarantee you, it's not the same as American culture (which itself isn't all the same).

There is a vast difference between Germany and Greece (let alone even more different places, like the differences between Thailand and Canada), despite the fact that some people in both places may be wearing blue jeans.
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Daleth

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #88 on: February 22, 2014, 12:23:43 PM »
Is your contention that every culture is just American culture (perhaps imitation)?  There is no other cultures to experience?

Pretty much, yes.  If there is native culture remaining under the veneer of American pop culture, you as a typical tourist won't get to experience it...

I can see from your answer that you haven't traveled much.

No, generally Americans don't do this (invite a tourist into their house).  It does happens sometimes though. But that doesn't mean foreigners won't.  Maybe we are just the inhospitable assholes.  And they actually might, because ... it's part of their culture.

You are SO RIGHT. Case in point: in France, where I lived during my 3rd year of college, I hopped a train to visit a friend (not French) in a small town, and hung out at a cafe the night I got there with him and some friends, including  a Franco-Arab woman. When my friend hooked up with some woman, making it a little awkward (though still possible) for me to stay at his place, the Franco-Arab woman I had *just met* invited me to stay at her place. When we got there she told me I could use her face cleanser and even her TOOTHBRUSH, since obviously I didn't have one on me. The next morning she pulled open her underwear drawer and tossed me a pair, since again, having gone straight to her place from the cafe, I didn't have a spare pair.

Oh, and a few days later, when I had started talking about moving to the town they lived in because it seemed like a really nice place, she said she had been planning to get a housemate anyway to reduce costs, so did I want to move in with her? I did. We shared her apartment for a few months, until it was time for me to go back to college for my senior year. That was over 20 years ago and we're still good friends.

To anyone who has ever heard of "Arab hospitality," the cultural tradition of throwing your home and all your possessions open to any strangers who need hospitality, none of this will come as any surprise.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2014, 12:35:39 PM by Daleth »

MrsPete

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #89 on: February 23, 2014, 09:03:45 PM »
MrsPete makes excellent points of course. The real question for me is, if travelling costs more when you are older, is the cost increase more than your investments would be making in the meantime? If there's not much difference then it probably doesn't matter if you go earlier or later.
That's a question with too many variables to answer.  Will you be interested in the same types of travel when you're 20 vs. when you're 50?  When you're 20 you might be paying for your own way only, whereas at 50 you'll probably be traveling with a spouse and possibly kids. 

I still lean towards the idea of saving first; that is, saving while you're young and have years for your money to earn compound interest.  Perhaps I think this because I've been saving long enough that I have had the very nice experience of seeing my investments "earn" a year of my salary in a week.  If I had not saved aggressively when I was young, I wouldn't be seeing that today. 

MrsPete makes excellent points of course. The real question for me is, if travelling costs more when you are older, is the cost increase more than your investments would be making in the meantime? If there's not much difference then it probably doesn't matter if you go earlier or later.

I would say it does matter, for a couple of reasons.

First, traveling when you're young and still forming your basic ideas about the world, your values, etc., is a lot more likely to really expand your mind than traveling when you're older and more, for lack of a better word, ossified or certain in your thinking.

Second, traveling when you're young is more likely to change the course of your life just because anything you do when you're young is more likely to change the course of your life. You're more likely to meet and marry a foreigner (or to discover, through the stress of traveling, that your companion is or is not the person you want to spend your life with); more likely to master a new language; more likely to embark on a college degree in a subject you became passionate about as a result of your travels; more likely to decide to make your life in a foreign country, etc., when young than when you're older.

And finally, none of us knows what the future holds. That's why we have disability insurance and life insurance. I personally chose to travel as much as possible from as young an age as possible, precisely because RIGHT THEN I knew I was physically able to do so, but I had no guarantee that that would still be the case when I was older and more financially prepared.
I think you're over-exaggerating the benefits that most people find through travel.  Fun?  Oh yes!  Life-altering?  Perhaps in small ways, but -- for most people -- not something that'll genuinely change your life.  Of all the people I know, I can think of ONE whose life was genuinely changed by a travel experience:  She was so moved by a church mission trip that she became a missionary. 

You say you're afraid you might not be physically able to travel later.  Possible. Not likely, but possible.  What about the equal possibility that you'll be unable to work in the future?  Wouldn't it be equally bad to find yourself suddenly disabled and NOT have saved that initial nest egg? 

Ossified thinking?  Seriously?  You're the one discussing widening one's mindset from a young age.  You might think about tossing aging stereotypes! 

Jamesqf

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #90 on: February 23, 2014, 11:38:16 PM »
I can see from your answer that you haven't traveled much.

Then perhaps you need to open your eyes, because I have.  And not just travelled, but lived & worked abroad.

Ossified thinking?  Seriously?  You're the one discussing widening one's mindset from a young age.  You might think about tossing aging stereotypes! 

Hear, hear!

Melody

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Re: Can Traveling Be Justified Prior to FI?
« Reply #91 on: February 26, 2014, 03:27:42 AM »
I have invited tourists into my house... it's not common but it does happen. Generally I will be drinking at the pub, someone will join our group, we'll all be talking, then it will be closing time and the whole group will end up at my place :)
I have also been invited into many people's homes when traveling abroad as well as making use of paid homestays.

From my interactions with my Korean friends (I have never been there but am friends with a number of students from the local English College), while Korea might look the same (i.e. Western) there is a very different cultural approach and view of life. The same could be said of places like Singapore, Malaysia, Russia etc. You don't need to be invited into someone's home to learn this... you just need to talk with them in some depth... easily done at any pub!