Traveling is like losing weight.
If you want to lost weight, you diet and discipline yourself into exercising regularly. Everyone realizes that being fit didn't "just happen" to you - you had to work for it. It took sacrifice. You had to be committed.
People tend to assume however, that traveling is different. So many people want to travel, but believe it only happens to the lucky few, like winning the lottery. Those are the people who will dream of a romantic vacation in Italy, but always find a reason not to go.
In reality, traveling follows all the same characteristics as losing weight: it requires hard work (research and planning), commitment, and sacrifice (budgeting to save money).
I've had many long conversations with people who want to know how Jacob and I made traveling possible. Are we wealthy? No. Did we bargain our future firstborn child in exchange for airplane tickets? No. We did have the advantage of connections in Europe, but we are certainly not the only ones who have friends of friends in foreign countries.
Jacob and I knew that we wanted to travel more than we wanted a flat screen TV, a new iPhone, or a daily latte. We set aside that money for a trip to Europe, and when the time finally came to take a deep breath and buy the plane ticket, we reminded ourselves that the experience would be worth the expense. And boy, was it worth it. No designer purse could equal the thrill I experience from exploring a new place.
For most people, the opportunity to travel is always available, it just requires a bit of creativity and dedication to make it happen. It requires taking a hard look at your priorities, and deciding what is truly important to you. In the end, whether you travel or not is entirely in your hands.