What Lessons Has Traveling Taught Me About Money?

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” – John A. Shedd

How to travel the world
New friends in Argentina

There was a moment of silence at the table. We had exhausted all possible conversation topics for the moment. The silence was going to get really awkward. You know that feeling when everyone has nothing left to say even though the party has just barely started? That always ruins the night.

So what did I do? I killed the silence by telling a recent trip story.

The story involved drinks, an exotic location, and interesting characters. Everyone loved the tale and the night resumed. This led to more stories, more jokes, and more laughs. The story had so many sub-stories and sub-topics to dive into. The night was back on track.

The thing with going on frequent trips is that you become the most interesting man in the world to your friends back home.

You always have a story to the tell. You always have something to talk about. You have epic fails and amazing triumphs. You’ve spent nights on the streets. You’ve also spent days on top of the world. You never run out of things to talk about with your friends.

Traveling, partying, and exploring have all taught me a great deal about myself and about life. They’ve also taught me a decent amount about MONEY.

What has travel taught me about money?

Travel the world
I tried bringing in the head band in Panama City Beach

Experiences are everything.

I’m all about experiences and trying new things. I could live with very little. I don’t need many things. Give me my laptop, some fresh clothes, and access to good food.

My friends used to laugh at how empty my condo was. Just the bare bones. Nothing fancy. I didn’t mind this at all. I was never bored. With a mind like mine, you don’t need much to be entertained.

What do you really need? I’d much rather live and experience.

According to this article at Psych Central:

“Even for people who naturally find themselves drawn to material purchases, our results suggest that getting more of a balance between traditional purchases and those that provide you with an experience could lead to greater life satisfaction and well-being.”

I also found another article on Psych Central:

“When you have some discretionary money, it is a good idea to find ways to use it to bring you together with other people.  In the long-run, those purchases will help you to buy some happiness.”

Travel is the best investment that you could make because experiences are way better than things that you’re just going to toss out one day.

You don’t need to be rich to travel.

“It must be nice to have the money to travel.”

This is a common misconception. Everyone generally thinks that you need to be rich to travel. That’s not the case at all. I’ve met some of the poorest people possible on trips. They barely have enough money to scrape by another day. Yet, they use their creativity to find a way to survive another day on the road.

I’ve met folks that have done the following just to stay on the road:

  • Find odd jobs.
  • Work at the hostel in exchange for free stay.
  • Live off nothing.
  • Cook food daily.
  • Save up for months in advance by not going out and not spending money frivolously.

Most “rich people” don’t even get to travel that much because they’re so busy working.

You don’t need to be rich to travel. You don’t even need to have money saved up right now.

I won’t leave you hanging. Studenomics is all about practical tips.

How can you travel when you have no money?

  • Take advantage of low hanging fruit to save up (stay in, eat in, avoid common money traps.)
  • Work program. There are many programs available where you can work in a foreign country.
  • Volunteer. This will help the world, give you meaning to your life, and allow you to see the world.

[Must read: 5 steps to get hired as an English teacher abroad.]

Stop blaming your finances for not traveling. You already have enough money. What you need is less excuses.

Making more money > saving money.

It really is.

The more money I make, the more I want to work. I always explore new options for making money. I want to find new ways to solve problems.

Saving money is just meh.

Making more money is exciting.

Find a way to make more money (hint: start freelancing now) and go after it.

This planet is filled with interesting characters.

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill.

The highlight of every trip has been the people. I don’t care about sights or landmarks. I care about the stories and memories.

When you travel you’re going to feel a plethora of emotions about the various folks that you run into. Everyone makes you feel a different way.

What does this have to do with money? You see that everyone has a unique relationship with their finances. Some folks hoard every penny. Others live like there’s no tomorrow. Some even go into debt because they don’t ever plan on paying this money back (not advised). At the end of the day, it’s your money and you should treat your money however you want to.

We all want the same things.

Everyone just wants validation, love, security, enjoyment and hopes for a better future. The way they verbalise this and work towards it is where things branch off, but we all have the same basic desires. You can relate to everyone in the world if you look past the superficial things that separate you.” — Benny Lewis

We all really want the same things. Money is just a tool that makes most things possible. However, money isn’t the only tool.

You don’t have to win the lottery to enjoy life.

There’s this common image in our minds where we think that we need to win the lottery to travel or have fun. That’s totally not the case. You’re never ever going to win the lottery (sorry the odds are against you) and that’s okay. I don’t even play because I don’t care. If I want more money, I go after it.

You don’t need to win millions to live somewhere else on this planet.

Nobody has their finances figured out 100%.

You don’t need to feel guilty if you don’t have your finances figured out because most people don’t. Most of us just wing it or hope for the best. If you start planning a little today, you’ll be far ahead of the game.

What’s the point of all of this? Where am I going with this?

I want you to invest in a trip.

I want you to save up for a trip and to go on it. You can’t just plan forever and then never go. I want you to actually leave home and explore a little bit.

The rules are simple:

  • Pick a destination.
  • Choose the amount of time you’ll be away for.
  • Plan the escape date.
  • Research.
  • Save up.
  • GO!

Where are you going to go first?

The travel post that you need to read is…

[How-to become your own travel agent for your epic adventure.]

If you want to start traveling or plan some sort of an epic journey, you need to read that article. I share with you every single detail that you could ask for when it comes to organizing an excursion.

[Easy challenge: Open up a new checking account with Capital One 360. Use the free $50 as your first $50 saved towards your next adventure. Start from there and don’t stop. This offer expires on the 10th of December, so act fast.]

I guarantee you that you’ll come back with many lessons from your first trip. I would be one ignorant jerk today if I had never traveled before and explored other cultures.

The Truth About Working Hard vs Relaxing in Your 20s

“You can always find a new girlfriend, but you won’t always find new opportunities.”

I gave a buddy hell for turning down overtime to hang out with his girlfriend. He could’ve made some good money, impressed his boss, and helped out his team.

saving money in your 20s

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about courting, gallivanting, and spending time with cool people. There’s just a time and a place for everything. I only gave this friend grief because he’s trying to build himself up. He’s at the stage where he wants to beef up his savings account and invest in himself. He’s ready to put the work in so that he can enjoy life and make some moves in a few years that his friends could only dream of.

Another buddy then asked me about working hard vs taking it easy in your 20s. He wanted to know what I thought about the balance between working too hard to achieve goals compared to taking it easy.

My thinking here is simple: You have to work hard so that you can do whatever you want. If you want to relax, then you have to earn that. 

I believe in the following quote 100%…

“Lacking an external focus, the mind turns inward on itself and creates problems to solve, even if the problems are undefined or unimportant. If you find a focus, an ambitious goal that seems impossible and forces you to grow, these doubts disappear.” — Tim Ferriss

The best thing that you can do is take action and set a goal right now!

Without bold goals and dreams, you’re just wasting time because you don’t have a purpose or a reason to do anything.

Working long hours to invest in a rental property, business, to pay off debt, or to earn your freedom is mandatory.

Working long hours because you’re bored or because you can’t get a hold of your spending is a waste of precious time.

You can’t be afraid of work, but you also need to know why you’re working so hard.

You can’t hide behind work because you’re afraid of launching or trying something new.

[Check out our Dream Catchers Series.]

Should you work hard or relax in your 20s?

There isn’t just one answer here. You don’t have to worry about choosing between working hard and relaxing. You can find something that you look forward to doing.

What’s the truth about working hard vs taking it easy?

I can’t articulate my point too well, but the following quote sums up my beliefs perfectly…

“Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another.” — Anatole France

What this means is that you have to work until you get to the point where you don’t want to relax 24/7. If you want to take it easy, it’s only because you don’t have any goals right now.

What this means is that working hard and taking it easy become the same thing.

For example,

I try to attend a weight sessions or a BJJ class at my gym as often as possible. I don’t see this as work. It’s relaxing for me to go in and train.

I attended two trips this year for business (World Domination Summit in Portland and FinCon in New Orleans) and I didn’t view any of these trips as “work.” I had a blast while learning because this is what I want to do.

You’ll eventually get to the point where your relaxing seems likes work to someone else.

What if I’m clueless Martin?

Luckily, we’re all clueless. Some of us are just less clueless. I have two articles that you need to read right now.

The Uncertainty Technique — This is the system that I follow religiously. The safe road is always the boring road. You can’t go after the sure shot. That’s no way to live life. Do something uncertain and see how it makes you feel.

Start Freelancing Now Course — I turned my book into a course. This course shows you how to go from clueless to making money. We cover everything from dealing with problem clients to figuring out what to call your business.

Nobody wants to tell you this but I will. You can always find a new girlfriend, a new job, new friends, and new shows to watch. You sometimes might only get one shot at your dreams. If you have a goal, go after it ruthlessly. Don’t let anybody get in your way. If you want to get out of debt, then work like an animal, sell all of your crap, and ditch everyone until you’re debt-free. If you want to start a business, then find a client. Stop waiting for something to happen. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes.

Do you want to work hard or relax in your 20s? You tell me.

What No One Tells You About Taking The Safe Road (The Uncertainty Technique)

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” — Oscar Wilde

Taking on big risks

The thought of death totally petrifies me. I hate the feeling of uncertainty. I hate not knowing what’s going to happen next.

I can deal with failure. I can deal with shooting for the stars and falling flat on my face. I can deal with making a complete fool out of myself. I just can’t deal with the uncertainty of life after death.

What’s the point of this? Well, I’ve come to accept this uncertainty and I dance with it. Nothing is guaranteed in life.

I’ve also come to understand that safety is the most dangerous thing in this day and age.

What’s uncertainty all about?

According to Wikipedia, Uncertainty is defined as:

“The lack of certainty. A state of having limited knowledge where it is impossible to exactly describe the existing state, a future outcome, or more than one possible outcome.”

In other words, you have zero guarantees and you don’t know what’s going to happen next.

I get really nervous when chasing goals. Before my last pro wrestling show I wasn’t ready at all. I didn’t want to go out for my match. I thought of excuses and possible ways I could fake an injury. My nerves always take control of me.

Then, I just go and adjust accordingly. This applies to traveling alone and starting new business ventures.

Here’s a shocking truth for you about taking the safe road : nobody knows what the hell they’re doing. Nobody is ever certain of anything. We’re all uncertain about everything. Some folks just appear to be more confident. Others just don’t care and avoid safety at all costs.

[Must read: Are You Radical With Your Thinking?]

What happens when you do the certain thing?

Nothing good in the long run. You just keep on keeping on.

I have a friend who’s so predictable and I just can’t handle it. You can guess where he’s going to be at all times and what he’s going to say next. He never has a new opinion, a new idea, or anything interesting to share. Truthfully, I rarely even hear from him anymore because he’s busy being predictable.

I recent shared this article on Facebook about a man who wrote about wasting his life. I usually don’t share this kind of crap, but I really wanted to open some eyes and spark some discussion. The man is 46 and realizes that he didn’t chase after any of his goals nor did he follow through on any plans. He took the safe road and now he’s emotionally bankrupt.

The article finishes off with a startling statement:

“I realized I let procrastination and money stop me from pursuing my passions when I was younger, and now I am dead inside, old and tired.”

That’s just terrible. That’s where the safe road gets you.

What’s The Uncertainty Technique?

This is concept that I’m introducing to you right now. The general idea here is that it’s more beneficial to go after the uncertain route than going for the sure shot. As hopeless as it feels to let go of control, you sometimes have to. There’s no fun in going after only guarantees.

Don’t you want the prettiest girlfriend? The best friends? Top career path? Amazing experiences?

Before we go any further, we need to look at why most of us fail miserably and give up when it comes to the uncertain path.

We either blatantly take the safe road, slack off, or just create excuses.

This brings us to the concept of the lizard brain. This article over at The Huffington Post describes it best:

“The lizard brain is the resistance. The resistance is the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, go slow, compromise. The resistance is writer’s block and putting jitters and every project that ever shipped late because people couldn’t stay on the same page long enough to get something out the door. The resistance grows in strength as we get closer to shipping, as we get closer to an insight, as we get closer to the truth of what we really want. That’s because the lizard hates change and achievement and risk.”

Sound familiar? Don’t feel too bad. It took me forever to just type this article up.

What’s your homework?

I want you to overcome a fear and actually start something new. Take on a challenge. Do something different. It can be as simple as finding a new part-time job or joining a new gym. If you’re really afraid, you can try just changing your Facebook profile picture.

Next, I want you to sign up for something or agree to something that’s very uncertain.

Every single person reading this has failed to launch at some point. That’s in the past. Moving forward, I want you to launch constantly and to embrace failure. There’s nothing worse than not trying.

“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” — Neil Gaiman

What You Can Do With $1,000 Right Now to Skyrocket Your Income

“I only have $1,000. What should I do? Is there anything worth doing with this money?”

A friend complained to me about his life situation. He didn’t know what to do next. He felt like he didn’t have enough money to do anything. He wanted to invest money and increase his income. He just didn’t know where to start.

If someone legitimately wants help, I try to help them. This guy was just trying to garner sympathy. So I didn’t bother because I knew he wouldn’t listen or would just create excuses.

The problem is that everyone thinks that you need money to make money.

We all assume that you need to have thousands of dollars to even bother with investing money. Many of my friends think that there’s no point in thinking about investing money unless there’s big money at stake.

I don’t agree with that.

You should invest in yourself even if you only have $100 or just $10. If you want to increase your income, you need to invest in yourself always.

Today I’m going to break down the different ways you can invest $1,000 to improve your situation and make more money (who doesn’t want more money?).

[Check out: The Ultimate Guide to Investing in Yourself.]

How can you invest $1,000 in yourself to see explosive results as a freelancer or someone just looking to make more money?

Attend a conference in your field or a field you want to get into.

If I had to start over again, I would attend more conferences and meet as many folks as possible as soon as possible.

The first conference that I ever attended was the financial blogger’s conference (FinCon) in Chicago in 2011. I had just come back from a Euro trip so I wasn’t sure if I could swing this excursion. I also didn’t want to miss a chance to meet all of my blogging peers in person.

So what did I do? I drove down to Chicago. It was like ten hours of straight driving through the night. I also found a roommate and enjoyed the free drinks offered at the event.

After the first night, I realized that this was the best idea ever.

Why are conferences so amazing?

  • You can talk to anybody that you want.
  • Real business talk happens after a few drinks.
  • You learn from successful folks.
  • You make connections.
  • You drink and have fun.
  • You jump ahead.

If you want to see explosive results, I would recommend attending a conference first. Find a field you want to enter, track down an upcoming event, research who’s going, and show up.

Buy a book.

I don’t care how unique you think you are. Anything that you want to do has already been done by someone. Every successful person has a biography. Every possible self-help topic has been covered.

Books are amazing because someone out there has conducted hours/years of research and put it into a book for you to buy for about $10.

All you have to do is read the book and apply the tips in it.

Go on a trip.

Get out of your comfort zone! Go on a trip and explore this planet.

It’s difficult to quantify the value of a trip because you just can’t explain what happens to you when you travel. Take some money and just go away. This might just be the best investment you ever make.

Take someone successful out for lunch.

I read this tip on Get Rich Slowly years ago and it has stuck with me since.

Think about how simple this idea is. Email or message a successful person that you look up to, ask them to go for lunch, and pick their brain.

Think about how many lunches $1,000 is? A ton. That’s lots of good conversation and food. How could you go wrong?

Start a blog.

You can start a blog for pocket change. For a few bucks per month you can share your ideas with the world.

Your blog is like your resume. Studenomics has brought me on trips, put me on the news, and landed me some sweet paying gigs. A few dollars will give you the platform to show everyone what you have to offer and what’s on your mind.

Why wouldn’t you take advantage of this opportunity?

[Must read: How-to Start a Blog in Six Easy Steps.]

Attend an expensive event.

Attending an expensive event will open your eyes. Recently, Ric Flair came to my gym. He charged $100 for a private evening of questions and a picture opportunity. I had a grappling tournament earlier that day, so I just came to help setup and left before the event started. As I stood outside, I observed all of the fans in line. These fans were lining up and ready to hand over their $100 just to meet another human being.

Imagine that? You work so hard that you no longer have to introduce yourself. You also have people lining up and paying to see you. Paying just to shake your hand. That was truly eye-opening.

Do you have $1,000 in your savings account? Are you looking to increase your income or make a wise investment?

If so, take it and use it to invest in yourself and your freelancing business. Stop wasting time. You owe it to yourself to increase your income.

Your homework is simple: pick one of these strategies. See what happens. Make an honest effort to increase your income.

If you want to start freelancing right now and make more money to do cool stuff, then you need to get your hands on a copy of my book off Amazon.

Are you going to make more money or will you remain in the same position forever?

How to Get Quick Cash Right Now

Situations arise that require the ability to obtain money right away. There are a few options to consider. Even those with poor or no credit can obtain cash right now. Sometimes it requires a bit of creativity on your part, however, you have to remember that “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

Online Social Media for Sale Group

Most local areas have for sale groups on social media outlets. This is one of the fastest ways to sell items and get money fast. The more in-demand the item is that you’re selling; the more likely you are to have it sold within a couple of hours.

When posting in these groups, be as descriptive and honest as possible about the item and price it fairly. Those that are interested in the items are likely to haggle a bit on the pricing, but this is standard in any situation that involves buying and selling.

Offer Services to the Community

If you have any type of skills, offer them to the community at fixed prices. This can include cleaning services, landscaping, home improvements, grocery shopping services and even babysitting services. It is ideal to market your abilities to the local community as many will support those that live among them first. Research what others in these industries are charging and make your pricing slightly lower than theirs to entice more people to work with you instead.

Quick Cash Advances or Auto Title Loan

Auto title loans and quick cash advances do provide funds right away. Depending on the sum of money being loaned to you, cash may not be given. Most facilities issue a check which can be deposited into or cashed at your bank. Payday advances must be repaid in one lump sum payment. Auto title loans are spread out in smaller payments similar to an installment loan. These options are for those with a steady job and valid checking account. For auto title loans, the vehicle must be paid in full and must have a clear title.

Keep these options in mind when you find yourself in an emergent situation. Quick cash is available through a variety of different options. For some, working with a lender for payday advances or auto title loans is the best option. In other situations, receiving cash from earning it or selling items is the ideal option. Consider your need and the situation at hand before deciding which route to take for fast cash.