What is the REAL reason you travel?
Have you ever thought about this?
It wasn’t until recently that I started to ask myself this question. I’ve always felt that the act of travelling was the reason in and of itself. You travel to, well… eh… to travel, right?
But there is actually more to it.
Hear me out.
FROM MINDLESS TO MINDFUL TRAVEL
As a serial over-planner, I must confess that I’ve often felt stressed out on trips because I simply tried to cramp too much into my itinerary.
Things that ‘should be on your Bucket List‘, popular sights in a destination, certain experiences, particular routes… and almost every time I planned too much in detail, I felt pressure.
Pressure to see and do it all, pressure because of upcoming pre-booked trains, buses or planes that could not be missed, pressure because there was always something ‘next’ on the itinerary to see or do.
While I did had a good time on the road (otherwise I wouldn’t still be going on adventures over and over again), I have realized that being fully in the moment is HARD.
It wasn’t until recently, when reading the inspiring book “The Ikigai Journey” (highly recommend reading it!), I came to realize just how much over planning actually limits our possibilities.
Trying to ‘see it all’ really does end up making a trip stressful, or even boring or underwhelming, because in your head you already have planned what you’re going to find in a certain place. Your mind is made up.
All you need to do is see the sights. Tick the boxes. And in case you’re a travel blogger: take a photo of it – or it didn’t happen …and then move on.
THE JOURNEY MATTERS MOST
“Its the not the Destination, It’s the Journey that matters most.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (or whoever really said this, you can never fully trust the source of quotes you pull of Pinterest)
But hey *newsflash*. It’s so true.
The unexpected experiences you have and the people who accompany you on your trips are much more important than what you are going to see when you arrive.
The random meetings you have, the connections you make, the things you tried that perhaps were a bit out of your comfort zone – those are the things you will remember years from now.
Like when we trusted our guide in Nepal to lead us the way to 4130 meters into Annapurna mountains, where we sang songs about monkeys and chickens and we met that lady that could make her pet goat jump on command…
Or every time on a press trip where group pressure made me do things I would have never thought I’d dare before (such as dangling my legs out of the open side of a helicopter in Austria, participate in a cave rescue mission and surprise paraglide experience in Iceland, go around a race track in a Ferrari at about 260 km/h (162 mph) in Italy or sled down a ridiculous steep ski slope in Finland at -24°C / -11,2°F) – and actually enjoying all of this as well!
CREATE AMAZING MEMORIES
It seems that the ‘trick’ to memorable experiences on the road (and good stories for when you return back home) is to not to try and take in too much and instead setting yourself a small number of motivating goals, then letting go and let the universe take care of the rest.
And here is a bonus tip: when you are able to match these goals to one of your passions, deep wishes or inner values, you’re in for the win!
- Are you passionate about music, dance or theater? When planning your trip, look up if there are any events going on in that destination at the time of your visit.
- Love photography? Book a street art, street photography or other type of photo-walk in your destination and leave plenty of time for self-discovery.
- Do you get energy from meeting new people? Book a homestay or hosted Airbnb and meet the locals!
- Want to develop your language skills? Book a private lesson or go to a local language school during your stay. Join an evening class, find locals to talk to on meetup or via social media.
- Are you a real foodie? There are plenty of cooking classes or food tours in destinations all over the world.
- Get excited about the underwater world? Get your PADI diving license or go on guided dives around the area.
- …You get the idea.
THE TRAVEL TESTER TAGS
To give you even more inspiration, I’ve set up tags on The Travel Tester website to mark articles for specific travel motivations, so you can plan your next trip based on one of these experiences, depending on your own personal preference or motivation for that specific trip.
But remember: don’t plan too much in advance and leave time to just stroll around with no route or objective and let yourself be carried along by whatever grabs your attention.
Let yourself be surprised every now and then and leave some part of your next trip up to chance.
Like the authors of the book I mentioned say: “If you focus your energy on planning every step of your trip, you won’t leave space for making discoveries and getting to know the locals. Don’t worry if things don’t work out perfectly. Celebrate it!”
I TRAVEL FOR…
I’ve divided the experiences on our website into the following “passion groups”. What is the reason you travel?