Art Model @Kayci.Lee Twitter Copyright 2018 Terrell Neasley

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

I get asked often about why I travel, what its like, and when I’ll come home. I’m amazed at how mysterious so many people think this is. In fact, international travel is no different from when you start a new job, enroll in a new school, or vacation someplace new. It could be that your significant other takes you camping for the first time and you spend your first night eating by campfire and sleeping in the woods. You do it. You get used to it. And after a while, it becomes life. 

But then again, I forget my hypocrisy because I used to be the exact same way. All the excuses I’ve heard are some of the same things I once said… I can’t speak the language. Its too expensive. I have kids or a job that won’t let me take the time off. I had the same mentality, but eventually, the right circumstances happen or when certain people cross your path, change is inevitable. 

German Art Model traveling through out Central and South America

The military set the ball in motion, for me. My first duty assignment was in Germany. I hail from Texas where being 200 miles or more from home was a rarity and most of those times when I exceeded 200 miles, I was still in Texas! I turned 20 in Germany. It was a wake-up call and was the first thing or event in my life that let me know I wasn’t in Texas any more. During my off-duty time, I traveled around Europe. Eventually, other duty assignments took me to more places and I learned to enjoy the deployments ad frequent reassignments.

Towards the end of my military career, I settled in the city of my last duty station in Tennessee which is where my kids call home. I traveled to Lake Tahoe with a girlfriend who travels domestically often. I learned that it’s not as expensive as I had been lead to believe to arrange flights, hotels, and car rentals, if you do it wisely. The advent of online booking options really aided me in those efforts. And yet, I let myself get bogged down in work and making money. 

Through some hiking associations, I met a fellow traveler, who took off on her own to Southeast Asia for two months one summer. I couldn’t wait till she got back to talk to her about her trip. It was at this point that I realized a few things. Excuses were just that…excuses. I had already been through enough life experiences to realize I wouldn’t end this life wishing I’d made more money for my employer. I was on the road WITH that same friend the following summer to Guatemala and Belize. There was one thing in particular that I had to change in my life in order to make these things happen.

Art Model @Kayci.Lee Twitter Copyright 2018 Terrell Neasley


Yes. Prioritizing travel was all it took, really. Just make the decision to go. Go anywhere! But don’t be deluded. You ain’t going anywhere until you get a passport and book an international flight. All the plans you make… all the good intentions, and mean-wells do you absolutely no good until you GET THAT PASSPORT and buy a TICKET! Plan a trip that is several months away to give yourself some time to make the arrangements. Central America has been the perfect proving grounds. For one, its close. Two, its cheap. Three, it eliminates any and every excuse you might have to NOT travel. As many times as you’ve flown across the US for the holidays or other family events, you’ll pay less in many cases flying internationally to the Central America. 

So what, you can’t speak the language. That’s fine. Learn some key things like social greetings, numbers, and how to ask where something is. My Spanish is getting better. But for my first time, I didn’t remember much of anything outside of counting to twenty-nine in Español. Don’t be scared of that. I’d wager that 80% of all the travelers I meet do not speak the native language. However, answer honestly. What are your priorities? Is it getting the new iPhone or a better gaming system. Or maybe trying to find a way to keep those $500 a month car payments current. Or its probably more important to have your Starbucks in the morning. You will find a way to spend your money on what is important. If you cared about traveling, odds are that’s what you would be doing. 

Art Model @Kayci.Lee Twitter Copyright 2018 Terrell Neasley

“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.”

~ Walt Streightiff

So you got kids

Children playing in Belize ©2012 Terrell Neasley

Yeah, my kids are grown. Is that an advantage? I won’t lie. Yes it is. However… So what?? Bring the kids!! Why not raise ’em on a good wholesome diet of culture variety? You can’t tell me how this would be a bad thing unless you are planning a trip to Syria. More likely than not, your kids will also become travelers. Why? Because they’ll be used to it and will ALREADY have passports. Many people stay put because they have never applied for a passport. I see kids on the road with their families all the time. Many get raised on sailboats with parents who circumnavigate the world. You know who I meet on the road from other countries traveling by themselves? 18 to 23 year old kids doing extended travel for a few months before they get locked down in jobs and careers. Do you think your 18 year old is ready to cross the Pacific on their own? Well they would be if you took them traveling and let them see how it’s done one or two times before they eventually leave the nest.

Is it the job?

This is probably a tough one. But then I gotta ask. How important is traveling to you? If your job doesn’t understand your need to be off more than a week a year, then…damn. I don’t want to tell you you need to find a new job. YOU need to tell you that you need to find a new job. America is one of the few countries that still don’t understand the value of time off and burn-out prevention. Traveling or not, a well-rounded lifestyle is more beneficial to your health and longevity. Expense reports are not. But honestly, who can tell you to change careers. I follow travel blogs all the time and often hear about husbands/wives, or single people quitting their jobs to follow their hearts. I know we can’t be stupid. But whatever you make your priority, you’ll find a way to do that.

All I’m saying is this: There are options out there if you look. Plenty of them. But none of them will do you a bit of good until you make the call to prioritize travel with your money and your time. You can do this. Go meet some new people and experience the hospitality of your neighbors. Thank me later.

Locals in Antigua, Guatemala ©2014 Terrell Neasley