It's official: The economy may be "recovering," but people are more unhappy and uncertain about the future than ever. With the New York Times' reporting scant opportunities for Americans to increase their income in an ever-frustrating economy, it may be nigh time to hit the road. Here are five great reasons to flip the status quo on its head and travel while the getting's good:
1. The sluggish economy doesn't care about you: This sounds harsh, but it's true. The economy certainly isn't biting its nails over anything that you're doing, so play the hand to your advantage. Investing your life's worth into a depressed system isn't a recipe for happiness, but for disaster. Dismiss the forgotten raises and poor-paying positions and take jobs that can lead you to a path of adventure and self-discovery.
2. You should make layoffs, cutbacks and time off work for you: Why wait for someone to tell you that you can take your two weeks to go out and discover the magnificent world? While lay-offs or mandated time off might be unforeseen and throw you for a loop, use this precious non-work time to go on that trip you always dreamed of taking if you could ever get time off.
3. You could fill your life with meaningful experiences instead of worrying over something out of your control: What will be, will be. Sounds new wave enough, but if it's broke, fix it. Worrying about landing a higher paying job with no prospects on the horizon isn't going to get you a higher paying job. Take a career break, travel the world or re-discover your home town. Come back to your job or attack a new career of choice with rejuvenated enthusiasm.
4. Traveling and spending your money is actually putting more power in your hands as a consumer: One way to stimulate spending and a boost in the economy is to spend some money! Sounds counter-productive when you don't have much, but by being a conscious consumer and purchasing things that will lead to great memories like airline tickets, hotel rooms or a leather-skin journal to document your journey, you're empowering yourself to spend on things that truly last a lifetime.
5. There's more to life than work: Someone once told me that if you don't have a job, you're not going to die. Maybe it means cutting back on going out to eat, downsizing your home or trading your luxury vehicle for a bicycle. If you can find a way to get over associating success with material possessions, therein lies happiness. By working a little less, you will have time to explore parts of yourself you didn't even know existed. Chase a nagging dream, put your toes in the sand, write that book that's been gnawing at your psyche. There's freedom in choice.