One of my favorite career design questions is, “What would you do if you won the lottery?”

I don’t want to know how you’ll spend your money. I want to know how you’ll spend your time.

People usually tell me that given enough money to alleviate the need for work, they would spend their time traveling the world. They think money can bring them exotic locales, unusual cuisine, and stories that will inspire envy in all their friends.

And of course, that’s true, money can bring you those things.

What most people don’t seem to understand is that you don’t need a pile of cash to do that right now.

Here’s how to live the lottery lifestyle, without the lottery.

What’s really holding you back?

I used to tell people that I worked in order to travel. Like you, I enjoy experiencing exotic locales and the creative shift that often accompanies new surroundings. The friendships I’ve made on travel have been surprisingly rich considering how much time we actually spent together.

The problem was, I only took about one trip a year, if that. I had my reasons of course. Trips were expensive, I couldn’t take time off work, and who would take care of the cats?

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Farnoosh Brock, author of the blog Prolific Living. What’s extraordinary about Farnoosh is that, despite a full time job, a busy blog, and a rather ordinary paycheck, she was always jetting off somewhere.

Berlin. Los Angeles. Hawaii.

And that was just in the space of a few months! Clearly I was missing something.

Farnoosh is kind, but she’ll call it the way she sees it. I was forced to admit that what stood between me and my world travel fantasies was … fear.

In some ways, that makes total sense. After all, if I’m afraid to invite myself to parties, arranging to go where people don’t speak my language and where I don’t know a soul can rightly feel scary.

So I was relieved to learn that my globe trotting friend had once felt the same way. That she too had previously setttled for comfort over courage and experience. As she says in her new book

I had every plan to visit a long list of countries and yet I was never quite ready to go for it. I always had excuses. Excuses made me feel safe and comfortable, even if a bit regretful. Excuses were an escape from taking my dreams seriously. Excuses were easy and convenient. It was time to stop the fear and to begin to live the dream of traveling.

I felt like she was talking about me. And I’m guessing she’s probably talking about you too.

She covers about every fear imaginable: not having enough money, safety concerns, not having a travel partner, a fear of flying, traveling with children, and the nebulous fear of leaving it all behind.

And best of all, she tells you how to get over it and get out the door.

It wasn’t until I read Farnoosh’s book and listened to the accompanying interviews that I understood what my real barriers to travel were. I thought that because I had ridden camels in Giza and trekked through the mist at Machu Picchu, I was fairly intrepid.

Butt here were fears lurking inside of me I’d never really given voice to. And here was someone finally giving me permission to set those fears aside and realize my dreams.

The timing of Farnoosh’s book couldn’t be better.  Here’s the news I’ve been holding back: my family and I are moving to London this summer.

Living overseas has been a life long dream of mine and I’m thrilled we’re finally going to live it. Travel is a big part of that dream. I don’t just want to visit the Roman ruins in Bath. I want to see wild tigers in India, cruise the fjords in Norway, and explore the medieval town of Split, Croatia.

I intend to take Farnoosh’s lessons with me. No more excuses. As she says

Travel does not discriminate; people do. Travel is not reserved for the young and unattached; travel is not set aside for the rich or retired. Travel embraces people from all walks of life. Travel can begin anytime and need not stop until you and only you decide it needs to stop. Travel is open and accessible to anyone willing and desirous of it. Travel only asks that you give it a chance and in order to take a chance, you must first crush the fears and overcome the anxieties weighing you down.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being weighed down.  I’m ready to fly.

No, seriously, what about the money?

Some will argue, loudly, that money is the reason they can’t travel, not fear. Farnoosh has a whole section on this, so I won’t belabor it.

Let me just say there are people, such as Karol Gajda and Jeanie Witcraft, who travel extensively on very little income.  If travel is your priority, it can be done on almost any budget.

Only interested in first class travel? Then you might appreciate the Travel Hacking Cartel, founded by author and world traveler Chris Guillebeau.

Chris has a goal of visiting every country in the world in 5 years and usually visits about 25 countries a year. Since he’s frequently on long flights and living out of hotels, he’s learned how to hack the reward systems offered by the airlines and hotels.

And by the way, Chris makes his living as an author and blogger. He’s not insanely wealthy either.

Essentially, Chris shows you how to earn hundreds of thousands of miles without ever getting on a plane. I’ve been using this service since February and since that time, I’ve earned some impressive rewards

  • Earned roughly 120,000 miles with various airlines without taking a single trip
  • Free silver status with Hilton Honors
  • Free Gold status with Hertz rental company

Yes, many of those miles came from credit cards. I use credit cards anyway, so it seemed to make sense to get miles while doing it. And it does take a bit of time to follow up on the promotions to get all the benefits.

But free business class tickets seemed like a great way to start our adventure.

I certainly don’t intend to wait for that winning lottery ticket to get started.