When choosing your destination, you need to decide: are you traveling for leisure or culture? I define leisure travel as relaxed and quite a bit like home, but with either service or beauty influencing the destination (ex. beach, cruise, resort, etc). Cultural travel (my kind of travel) is where you set off in hopes to learn, truly experience and open yourself up to a whole new culture and way of life. If you’ve chosen leisure, unfortunately I will have to stop you here, because I don’t think I’ll have much to offer you as far as travel tips that you can’t easily find on some corporate-owned, high-dollar, travel website. While leisure travel is fine and there’s nothing wrong with it, I don’t have much experience sitting on my ass while locals wait on me, so I can’t really pretend to be an authority on the subject.
If you are unsure of where you wish to travel to, it’s about time to start searching within yourself. You either are very curious of another culture’s way of life or you may wish to find direction in your own; perhaps you desire some sort of enlightenment. If the corporate 9-5 cubical, soul-wrenching beast of a world is getting you down, traveling to spiritual and less modernly advanced civilizations may be the key for you. For me, it wasn’t just the corporate world that I despised and traveled to seek refuge from. I despised (and still do, to this day) greed, materialism and the negative influences that technology has had on our world. I was in search of the ‘old’ world. I wanted to experience my roots and the wonderful world of history, culture and arts. I wanted to experience where humans once strived for true greatness and when wisdom and accomplishment made you famous, not for being a trashy-whore on T.V. from New Jersey.
Take some time and dig deep within yourself and find out what you really need, as a person, to make you happy and to feel fulfillment. Travel is more than just jumping on a plane and seeing art in a museum or remnants of a lost civilization. Travel is powerful and life changing, because when you’re in a foreign place with a foreign language, where no food, drink or person is familiar, you will experience a reckoning. Giving in and letting go will change you forever, and you will forever have a new understanding of yourself. Within this reckoning, you become altered, because you are now alone and are left with only that of who you really are. All ego, judgement and negativities are washed away and you then begin to learn, grow and gain wisdom. Don’t let this transformation scare you, because you will be vulnerable for a time, but you will naturally learn to be stronger and more independent than you ever were. You will find a new and beautiful understanding and appreciation for people and cultures. Real travel, where you let the experience rule you, rather than you passing by place by place without taking in a thing, will give you a new meaning and faith in life and the human race.
I’ve been grounded in St. Paul, Minnesota from September to December and then in Columbus, Ohio until now, because of a robbery that happened while I was traveling in Puerto Rico. It’s been a tough seven months and I’ve been so antsy to get back out into the world again. What you see to the right is what I had mapped out for myself a few months ago. This trip is as amazing as it is long, and it may not be entirely possible, but time has finally come for me to set off and to be on my way. I fly out to London, then Barcelona on April 16th.
I realize that my itinerary plans may be a bit unrealistic. And even though I completely believe that I will either totally steer away from my preplanned routing or I won’t be able to complete it to its entirety, there’s still nothing wrong with a little hopeful planning from time to time. Over the following weeks, I’ll be talking about travel planning, as a sort of step by step guide for you – full of tips and helpful information, and no doubt a few rants too. I invite you to join me throughout my upcoming journey, as I’m sure it will be a memorable one. I hope in some small way that I will inspire you to take off and experience the wonderful world we live in.
(Top photo by Trey Ratcliff)
Travel planning (Step FOUR) – Final preparations
Travel planning (Step THREE) – Packing
Travel planning (Step TWO) – Your itinerary