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The challenge of delayed gratification

The challenge of delayed gratification

We honestly thought that once we made the decision to travel long-term, the few months leading up to our RTW would be simple and the time would just fly past. We figured that our minds would be focused solely on the end goal and why we’re making so many sacrifices that it wouldn’t affect us too much. But with approximately 200 days remaining until we depart and each day at work seemingly getting more difficult to get through, let us tell you one lesson we’ve learned…

Delayed gratification is not easy!

Daily we read about the amazing experiences our fellow travelers are having overseas and all we want to do is join them on this path right away! We have enough money now to buy our airfares and pay for 2-3 months of expenses and daily we are tempted to take the plunge and purchase those first tickets. So why are we waiting another 6+ months grinding through the daily routines of 9-5 jobs when we can easily afford to go now?

There are plenty of reasons. We want more than 2-3 months on the road. We want to visit as many cities/countries as possible. We want to be able to afford to experience several once-in-a-lifetime opportunities on our journey. Basically, we want to travel indefinitely!

Unfortunately long-term travel requires significant funds and major sacrifices. It requires delaying gratification and waiting those extra few months in order to get exactly what we want. The problem we face is this – how the hell are we going to delay gratification and maintain self-control for another 200 days?! Browsing the web we stumbled upon this article by Ray at Financial Highway and he’s given 5 great tips to help with delaying gratification.

1. Make an advance decision and know what you want.

We’ve specified above what we want – we want to travel indefinitely. It’s difficult to resist the urge to start traveling right away, but this goal will keep us going for the next 6+ months.

2. Know what is important to you – know your values.

We want to be able to do what we want, when we want when we’re traveling and not be counting pennies at the same time. Sure we’ll have a budget, but if someone invites us to do something awesome we sure as hell want to do it!

3. Have a plan.

We’ve got a financial plan in place to reach our savings goal and a timeline of when we want to depart. Any deviation towards immediate satisfaction will affect these plans, which makes delaying gratification that tiny bit easier.

4. Prioritize.

This is the most difficult part for us. Saving for travel is obviously our number one priority right now and generally comes before anything! But at the same time we don’t want to alienate friends and drive ourselves insane by constantly turning down invitations just because those plans involve spending money. This is where tip #5 comes in.

5. Reward Yourself

Our dream of long-term travel still seems like just that sometimes… a dream. We’ve got some money in the bank, but nothing else to show for it and this can get quite frustrating at times. This is why we’ve allocated an allowance for ‘fun’ things over the next 6 months which will include a few weekend getaways to destinations such as Sydney and various parts of Victoria. These small rewards will keep us motivated to turn our dream into reality in just a few months time.

For those of you who have gone through it (or are currently in the same situation as us), how did you deal with delaying gratification?

Flickr Photo: jacsonquerubin