Like many of you, 2018 is yet another chance for me to refocus on my goals.

Even though I have ten main goals in ten different categories, one always seems to stick out:

Traveling abroad.

Also like many of you, I tend to overcomplicate things and create roadblocks where there aren’t any.

Most Americans my age (millennials) tend put traveling abroad on a massive pedestal, an expensive goal that usually remains a pipe dream.

I get it; traveling isn’t always cheap, especially when purchasing flights abroad. In fact, it tends to be the largest expense when traveling. For most of us, the biggest expense usually equals the biggest roadblock, for traveling and any other lofty goal.

Personally, this has always been the biggest issue for me, especially as someone who works for myself and doesn’t always have a steady paycheck coming in. It was the reason for one of my few regrets in life: not traveling to London and Ireland with friends back in college.

I will never forget how it felt after they came back from the trip, hearing their stories and watching their videos. As someone who considers shared experience to be one of my core values, I promised myself I would never allow myself to feel the same way again.

Little did I know, I would recently have the chance to prove myself right.

Ever since my girlfriend and I started dating a little over two years ago, we’ve talked about what it would be like to travel abroad together.

Initially, these conversations felt very pie in the sky, dreaming up fictitious trips to visit all of the must-see cities in Europe. Many times, these dreams would even turn into tentative plans (my girlfriend is one of those people who has a knack for converting ideas into plans within a matter of minutes). Alas, like many other failed ideas, these trips would end up in the same pile with countless other orphans.

That is, until recently.

As one of our resolutions in 2018, we set a goal to travel to Ireland.

This time around, we approached this trip a little differently than before. In the past, we would start by having loose conversations about where we might want to go and what we would want to do. This time around, our first step made all of the difference:

We booked roundtrip flights to Dublin, Ireland for the first week and a half of March.

Notice anything different?

We actually booked the flights.

If you stop and think about it, you can’t travel abroad without booking a flight (I guess you could sail there, but ain’t nobody got time for that).

As we agreed upon before, this tends to be the biggest expense while traveling, which also makes it the biggest roadblock. Since we tackled this first (with the help of Hopper — an app that helps you find the best deals on flights), everything else has paled in comparison. Each roundtrip ticket ended up costing us $600 each which, comparatively, is an amazing deal.

Now, I’m not what you would necessarily call financially stable, but I have managed to create a savings account, saving roughly 1/3 of each paycheck I receive. $600 isn’t anything to scoff at (it’s roughly one month of rent and utilities for me), but it’s a no-brainer when it comes to travel. Because our flights were non-refundable, this amount created a positive motivator for following through with the trip.

As many of us might have probably heard from wise friends or family members, you will never regret the money you spend on travel. I would say the same applies for any major goal you want to accomplish.

Just remember, when setting any major goal for yourself, there is one step that should come before all others:

The first actionable step that commits you to your goal.

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