Take a journey to discover your essential self

Financial plans for personal development through transformative travel – Part 1

I went ski-ing in March.

So what, you might say, so did I. So did a lot of people for that matter (although being in term-time the slopes in Les Trois Vallees were relatively uncrowded, thankfully).

Well, the point is that a journey (or holiday or travel for any reason for that matter) has an influence on our lives beyond just the trip itself. It involves those two core consumables that are ever present in our lives – time and money.  It is also fundamentally disruptive, taking us out of our normal routines and comfort zones, and is therefore both refreshing and regenerative. Travel, at the end of the day, transforms us from our ordinary self to our essential self.

Travel, therefore, should form an important part of our life and financial plans, and should be positioned towards the top of our agendas. Sadly, though, it is often left as afterthoughts in our plans, to be taken spontaneously as and when time allows.  And whilst there is nothing at all wrong with spontaneity, an off-the-cuff break may not provide the same benefits as a more set piece holiday. A friend of mine is religious: work six weeks, travel two weeks, repeat. I have to say, he looks good on it and remains full of energy and drive.

And ‘travel’ does not have to be a major or expensive event. It encompasses any journey which takes us into a different environment. So going to a concert or an exhibition can have the same effect, although to a lesser degree, as heading off to a remote part of the world for a couple of months. Arguably, reading a deep and well written novel is a journey, even if we don’t physically move anywhere.

This is the first part of a four part post considering the importance of travel in our plans. I have consistently argued that the main purpose of financial life planning is not to become financially wealthy. Rather it is to become wealthy in mind, body and spirit (which some would call happiness). Travel, as I argue in subsequent posts and elsewhere (particularly in Chapter 8 of Right Money, Right Place, Right Time), is fundamental to personal growth. And so when we come to the ‘Utilisation of Resources’ phase of the financial life planning process it is important to find the resources, both time and money, to make this happen.

In subsequent posts I will consider how the three phases of a journey – preparation, travel and return – deliver personal integrity, transformation and your essential self.

(Continued in next post)