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The intriguing psychology of “travel porn”

Ramit Sethi

Notice how some of the most popular blogs and Instagram accounts are people sharing beautiful travel photos.

In fact, when I’ve posted pictures on the beach, I get more Likes than almost anything else.

barbados_beach

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I spent my birthday in Barbados with friends
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Why do we love these photos?

One reason is the “travel porn” phenomenon of following/liking these photos…as a proxy for actually taking the trip ourselves!

In other words, we change our desktop background to a picture of Aruba and imagine what it would be like to visit — but we never actually take the trip.

My counterintuitive take is that it’s GOOD to look at these photos. It gives us something to work for. But if we just go one step further, we can avoid simply gawking at other people’s travel photos…and take the trip ourselves.

In other words…how long have you been telling people you love to travel? Or that you’re hoping to visit Australia/Thailand/China?

How many more years before you actually do it?

Too many people just dream but never take the trip (especially when they’re healthy enough to do it).

As your Surrogate Asian Father, I’m not going to let that happen to you. If you’re reading this email, it means you CAN do it — and the good news is that it IS possible to live our dream life.

How to “cash in” on the skills you already have

When most people think about earning money on the side, they assume they need to start the next Facebook or build the next Instagram and sell it for $1 billion 18 months later.

Yes, this does happen. Just like people do win the lottery.

But the odds of “winning” are astronomically small. The reality is that most of us don’t need to see $127,398,919.29 in our bank statement to be happy. Or even a fraction of that.

The surprising truth: earning just $1,000/month on the side can have a dramatic impact on your life. What could you do with an extra grand every month?

  • You could take a weekend ski trip to Utah with your friends, guilt-free (I did this earlier in 2014)
  • You could pay off your student loan debt 3x faster
  • You could buy the new iPhone when it comes out, instead of waiting for your next upgrade cycle 2 years from now
  • You could pay for your parents to visit you and treat them to an amazing time

And when you start making $1,000/month, you realize that it’s possible to hit $2,000/month, then $5,000/month…and soon the possibilities are endless.

Notice the natural psychological reactions:

  • “I don’t have an idea!” / “I’m not a web developer or programmer!”
  • “I don’t have time for that” / “I don’t want to trade time for money”
  • “That won’t work for me…I live in Alabama/Spain”

I have tens of thousands of students who have overcome those exact problems. If they can do it, why can’t you?

Right now, you have a number of skills that other people would happily pay for. You just haven’t positioned them right! To give you a sense for how wide the possibilities are, let me give you some examples of things you could “cash in” on:

  • Teaching women in their 30s about football so they can better connect with their boyfriends
  • Using your health and fitness expertise to teach new mothers how to get fit again
  • Providing dog walking services for busy professionals who have dogs cooped up at home

Just 5 hours a week on these ideas could give you the money you need to turn your dreams into reality.

And I want to show you how.

NEW: 1-hour mini-class on how to start earning money on the side

To find out exactly how you can “cash in” using the skills you already have — no matter how weird — and make $1,000/month on the side, I’m hosting a mini-class next Wednesday, October 8th.

Mini-class: How to turn your existing skills into $1,000/month — or more

Here are the details:

  • When: Wednesday, October 8th at 9:00pm Eastern (see time zone)
  • Where: Click here to register
  • Sorry, this will not be recorded. One night only. I do not care if you live in the North Pole. Drink some coffee and see you there

I’m reserving time on this webinar for a live Q&A with you, so if you have questions about starting an online business, bring them to me and I’ll try to answer them.

Register for the presentation on how to use your existing skills to make $1,000/month on the side here.

Do you know your actual earning potential?

Get started with the Earning Potential quiz. Get a custom report based on your unique strengths, and discover how to start making extra money — in as little as an hour.

Start The Quiz

Takes 3 min

13 Comments

 
  1. Simon Cave

    $1,000/month does make a difference! (especially when travelling to Thailand where everything is super cheap)

  2. Jay @ ThinkingWealthy.com

    The hardest part is starting! Once you begin seeing trickles of extra income your ambition and confidence will go through the roof. Wonder how many people are rushing to create sites that’ll teach women about football now….

    Jay

  3. Brian D. Evans

    Travel porn is an interesting topic. It stems from ego. Much like putting up pictures of cars, money or hot bodies. It’s an idea that we think we need those things to be successful.

    Instead of going around and saying “I will be successful when I can fly business class to Europe” or “I will be successful when I have a Lambo” or “I will be successful when my bank account has seven 0s” … instead, we should be focusing on our purpose and doing things for reasons other than ego.

    Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with traveling, cars, money or hot bodies… but the THINGS themselves should not be the goal. The goal should be to HELP PEOPLE, improve people’s lives, do good for humanity. When you make it all about the THINGS and the MONEY, you are leaving yourself wide open for a world of disappointment.

  4. Gmatrix

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.

    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back
    to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post.

    I will definitely return.

  5. Nicolaj

    So right now I’m out travelling the world and the way I finance it is by working in the different countries I visit. Only this restricts me to go to only curtain countries, which brings me to…
    How amazing would it be to work with something that you’re passionate about and be able to bring it WHEREVER you go?!

  6. April Capil

    Ramit – I love your blogs and “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” is hands-down the best personal finance book I’ve ever read. I can’t tell you how much it has helped me personally and professionally. This post is especially close to my heart because money was always a barrier to my travel dreams, until I decided not to let it hold me back.

    Two years ago, I had to face the fact that the job I was at would never get me my dream vacation: Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro before I turned 40. I set a goal to get a new job with a specific salary in three months, and reached it. Even with a 50% raise, I realized I only had 6 months to raise almost $10,000. Impossible without a credit card? Nope. I did it by being resourceful:

    1. The first thing I did was put off buying a car until after my trip. I took advantage of my company’s free bus passes, rode my bike, and walked everywhere. Savings: $500 a month in car payments, gas, maintenance, and insurance.
    2. Since my company pays us a dollar every time we ride our bikes to work, I netted about $60 over six months from that perk. Once, on the way to meet a friend, I got caught in the rain and her son said, “April, why are you all wet?” I said, “Because I want to go to Africa, kid.”
    3. My new job had a lot of free snacks – PB&J sandwiches, fresh fruit and granola bars. I had an apple and peanut butter for breakfast almost every day, and a PB&J for lunch more than once (and yes, I ate a lot of scrambled eggs and rice for dinner).
    4. I contributed pre-tax dollars to my HSA and comparison shopped to cover the medications and immunizations I needed – over $400 worth – and saved about $200.
    5. I saved $700 just by watching ticket prices on Kayak and flying Ethiopian Airlines instead of KLM.
    6. I sold every piece of jewelry I could live without, including my grandfather’s Naval Academy ring, which went to a curator for a museum collection.
    7. I borrowed or rented all the technical equipment I needed, and packed efficiently to save money on luggage fees. Using what I had and could borrow instead of using the trip as an excuse to buy new gear saved me hundreds of dollars.
    8. I started a GoFundMe campaign for my trip, and my friends donated over $1200 to help me.

    Lastly, what proved to be the largest contributor was re-filing my last two years of taxes with a professional accountant, which cost me $800, but netted me over $4,000 in refunds!

    Would the $10,000 have been better invested in a 401K or a Roth IRA? Perhaps for other people, but not for me. As a stage 3 breast cancer survivor, I wanted to climb Kili while I was still young enough and healthy enough to do it. The experience taught me that where there’s a will, there’s a way, and that lesson was absolutely priceless. 🙂

    • Andie

      Wow, April, your story is amazing! I admire your dedication to your dream and the way you documented how you achieved it. Also, you sound like a very strong woman surviving Breast Cancer and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro! Incredible!! Keep living life to the fullest. You have inspired me. 😀

  7. Joe

    I know this sounds crazy but I hired a guy from Fiverr and he calculated the best way for me to pay my loan with the least amount of interest. https://www.fiverr.com/johnharris27/balance-your-loan-payments-in-excel

  8. Mike @ Precisesecurity.com

    Travel porn is definitely a real phenomenon. I know it hits me when I visit Barnes and Noble, (My wife and I go there to escape the kids) We browse the magazine section and have coffee, and I always check out all those glossy magazines with sexy beach pics and travel destinations far from my day to day reality. Especially in winter, (We live in Nebraska).
    I can see how people are very susceptible to this sort of thing.

  9. jason

    Excellent story April, it sounds like you went through a lot. I have family members who have been through cancer and it is very difficult, they survived but its tough living and never knowing if it might come back.

  10. myplanetjourney

    You are right. Everyone of us love to travel but the great question is when? This travel porn is a global phenomenon. I have experience your experience that when you post of a picture having travel abroad in your instagram or facebook, it tends to get more likes compare to your other picture. Thank you for your article, I found it interesting. More power.

  11. Ruth

    I’ve noticed that people seem to love refashion porn too. I’m starting to sell crafty things that I make in an etsy store and started a facebook page to let my existing online community know about it. The posts that get the most views and comments are not posts about the items I make, but about the crazy refashions that I do, turning old clothes that don’t fit into clothes that are literally made for me. People seem to love these because they may not sew themselves, but it’s the kind of thing they secretly wish they could do. Very interesting.

  12. Akash

    Lol, nice post https://goo.gl/f2dZ05