Having recently left a well paying job in Toronto to start traveling the world, I knew there would be a need to make adjustments. Beyond the customary travel adjustments like eating, sleeping and other routines that would be impacted, what I wasn’t expecting was how much I would have to check my ego.
I’m not much used to restricting myself financially. I have always been in a position to afford my lifestyle and have rarely ever needed to hold myself back from purchases consciously. My natural stance is to buy very little as it is. But I do enjoy things like good food and nice hotels. On a typical three week holiday, I always allowed myself this luxury.
This needed to change.
Traveling now, I am staying at places that cost me 10% of what I used to pay. That’s nice for the wallet but rough on the ego. When we look for places to stay, the worst thing you can do for yourself is to look at the hotel pictures. Beautiful pools, luxurious beds, delicious looking food platters. All things I would have previously jumped at. Now, I consciously have to resist. Sure I could afford them. But they would destroy my budget and my travel potential.
This process of searching for the $10 a night hostels in a sea of $30 or $50 a night gorgeous resorts, is where my ego is most vulnerable. You need to remind yourself of your new financial limitations and keep in mind the budget and goal you have at every flip of the page.
But it’s not all bad. Your spending becomes more meaningful and more targeted at its purpose. Looking back over your spending, you have fewer regrets. You also have fewer credit card surprises waiting for you in the mail. You feel more calm and in control.
I was expecting a lot of changes on this trip around the world. But I wasn’t expecting the amount of ego adjustment I would have to make. In the end it has helped me focus more on the right things. But it hasn’t been easy.