How to manage the "in-between" time before travel

May 03, 2017

The pre-departure can be a tough period of time. Between all we need to do and organize. But also for some of us, still living our day-to-day life. Even though in several weeks to several months we will be on a completely different journey.

It's been several months since I decided to take the big step. And decided to leave my appartement, drop out of uni, quite my job and go travel the world. I am now a few weeks away from my departure for the US. And here's some few things that I've learned through those last months since my flight was booked :

TIP 1 : Don't overwhelm yourself with too much 

Making research on what you need is a good thing and quite essential. Personally, as someone still struggling to manage my worries I really fall sometimes into over searching information. Between vlogs, tips and blog post on travelling, solo travelling, countries in Asia how to travel in U.S.A and so on... I can get easily lost and feel overwhelmed.

Taking the step to go travel somewhere far away is a big step with all the questions and "ifs" that comes with it. So having the basic information on insurances, an idea of your itinirary, accommodation, work if you are going to work abroad and all the things that are related to your trip is good.

But then turn off your computer or close your book and just go and have fun.

Making research an hour a day (ok maybe 3 hours), is sufficient and then just spend your day enjoying what you love to do. If it's working out go work out, or swim, if it's walking around go walk around, even take a little trip nearby for a day to the seaside if you are near or the country side.

Just take the time to be present and appreciate where you are without thinking to much about where you are going to be. Take time for your family and friends. It's in those times that we realize how much we appreciate them.

So don't overwhelm yourself with too much informations and enjoy the present.

TIP 2 : Match your work ethic with the lifestyle you aspire to 

From saving for your trip, to doing everything else, finding a new roomate, moving your stuff, get all the paper work done, packing, organizing so on and so on...

As you can see, the time before your departure can get quite full of things to do. And if you are also saving for your trip like me, money can play a big part in the choices you make. From working extra shifts to being really tight on your budget to save as much as possible.

But before getting lost in this tight budget and savings organization. Maybe just take a minute to reflect on your "WHY". As the reasons you are planning to change your lifestyle, go on an adventure or taking a gap year.

Why are you making these changes ?

Changing lifestyle for me was because I wasn't happy studying as just working and getting on with my day-to-day life. Each day resembling to the day before. I couldn't see myself staying in that kind of life even for the next months.

So if you are actually maybe considering a change of lifestyle, or don't actually want to work all the time, maybe continuing working all the time isn't the best way to go. If you want to enjoy the present and its adventures, doing extra shift to save more or putting all your energy in your savings, maybe isn't the best way to start the journey.

When I was saving, I started the first weeks working 4-5 days straight in a week as putting all my energy to sell clothes. And then decided to just go for 3 days maximum and just give away my clothes. Because I wanted to be able to enjoy my life as it was changing. What is the point if  I can't enjoy the process ?

When you work all week from 8 to 6 or worry about your savings all the time, the day passes by and you don't even enjoy it. When you come home you are too exhausted to do anything. And that is the kind of lifestyle that I don't want and maybe neither do you.

So if you are planning to live a life without being exhausted maybe you could start by not working to much and obssessing about money. Save what you can as you enjoy the process. Because savings is important but living is more. We all travel to live not to let days pass us by  half of the time.

And regarding to money, there is so much different ways to save while you travel, from free accomodation to go buy food in markets or supermarkets instead of eating outside. So you will find a way to maximize your ressources.

But also trust the universe. Travel is about trusting life with the events and people we will cross path with.

TIP 3 : What are you taking/what are you leaving ?

There is a lot to do on your list and to avoid again getting overwhelmed, packing progressively can be wise.

Because as you will be packing you will notice what is missing. What you will maybe need to buy or what you probably will leave back home.

Being in a transition period can feel surreal (knowing that we are going to leave soon) so it can be good to sit down and take the time to think rationally about what we are going to need once we will be there.

But more so filling or taking something out of your backpack or suitcase from time to time can also put in perspective what kind of travel journey you want to follow. As what is your journey about ?

Maybe you are going to volonteer or work in new environments. Starting a new blog or starting a travel photographer career. Whatever it is, you decided to follow a new path and growing out of it. And sometimes it means leaving certain habits and ways behind you.

Packing is about what you are leaving behind and what you are going to take with you from your clothes to your life experiences and lessons you have learned.

TIP 4 : Prioritizing

On a more practical note, prioritizing the things that can take time can be useful. When it comes to travel if you don't have that much experience with travelling for a long time and/or that far away, after booking your flight and having your passeport or visa in order, bank, insurance and health come first.

Going to your bank explaining your departure and asking your questions about currency, transactions and withdrawing money, making sure that your card is active worldwide is useful and at the same time reassure you.

As for the insurance, taking the time to compare different insurances coverage and researching information can take time. If you benefit from your home country's healthcare coverage, contacting them to know what are their policies on coverage overseas can be helpful (some have their own travel insurances that you can benefit from). Personally I just went with an international insurance that someone recommended to me.

Concerning your health care : going for a visit at your GP and checking your vaccins if they are in order. And maybe taking a blood test making sure everything is in order. Personally I had to check my thyroïd this year to see if everything was balanced. Nothing major but it's always good to know before leaving. And if you are in a country where you have social health care, and in particular, don't pay anything when it comes to medecines and medical appointements, you have to take advantage of it!
When you sorted that out everything is just about organization and crossing out progressively each item on your to do list.

TIP 5 : Organizing your last days

After everything is booked and nearly organized, we can forget just a little details. Who is going to accompany you to the airport ?

Just kidding. 

Whether family will be there or a friend or maybe you will call once there, you are still leaving. And if like me you have been in your home country for quite a while and didn't leave that long you will probably want to say goodbye to your boss, baker or neighbourhood friends. 

But moreso, 

how do you want to spend your last days and with whom? 

Sometimes even if we are excited, taking the time to appreciate what we had and how lucky we are can be a good thing. 

We often can think about all the things we won't miss. But how about the good stuff ? 

Currently being in my shared flat and being aware of that makes me appreciate so much more my roomates and just enjoying living with them before I am leaving. And it's a blessing.

I took time to appreciate more my town and go around. Even around the country. As I was at the seaside of Belgium biking with my mum, I noticed how much I thought I knew it all but in fact I didn't. There is still some part of this little country that I've never been to.

So don't forget to appreciate the process and where you are. It is because of where you are currently that you will soon be further in your journey. 

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