It’s Okay to Run out of Money When You Travel

When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it.

— Charles de Lint

Here’s a secret:

Last winter I was in Mexico and found myself running out of money.

I hadn’t started my blog yet, I wasn’t selling many books, and if I didn’t do something I was going to go broke.

But this is not a heroic story about a silver bullet.

There were no more margaritas by the beach.

Instead, I did what any reasonable person should do.

I went back to work.

The last company I had worked for needed someone and after a few emails with the operations manager I had a job arranged.

When my flight left Cancún it was 93 degrees.

When I landed that evening in Denver it was 23 degrees.

After months of partying through the night in Italy, sipping beer and coffee in Slovenia, relaxing on the beaches of Islas Canarias, and dancing in the tropical warmth of Mexico I was back behind a desk.

It was cold. It was dark. And I wondered if I’d ever travel again.

At night, when I waited for the train to take me home after a long shift, my stories and experiences felt like something from a dream. They were so far away. Had they even been real?

I was hard on myself.

I thought I was a failure.

But the real failure was forgetting that all of life is one big trip.

We’re always traveling.

Sometimes it’s warm sand, sunny skies, and long nights filled with the steady thump of heady music.

Other times it’s lonely, scary, depressing, and routine.

Not many roads are smooth and straight.

But winter gave way to summer. My bank account recovered.

Eight months after touching down in Denver I was on a flight back to Europe. I met new friends and reunited with old ones. I danced the nights away in Prague, Kyiv, and Budapest. And I write this now from Albania where I’m finishing another book.

Where to next?

I don’t even know.

Maybe I’ll run out of money and look for work. Maybe more people will buy my books and I can keep traveling.

It’s all just one big journey.

A lot of people want to travel full-time, or just for an extended period of time, but they’re afraid of the risks.

They think they need to have everything figured out.

So they wait.

And then one day in the future they remember back to a time when they wanted to travel and shrug their shoulders.

“It was just a dream,” they tell themselves. “It was never going to happen.”

Where do you want to go?

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