You get to experience new things, places, people, and culture. You see sights you only thought existed on the travel channel.
You’re in awe with every new experience. Every new happening. It’s all new. All exciting. Endorphins firing on all cylinders.
You come home from your first trip and your energy is palpable. You’re ready and willing to do it all again. And soon!
So you do. You save up and plan out another adventure on the road. Again, and again. It’s amazing being able to have such incredible experiences.
Until one day…
You’ve had enough new experiences to last a lifetime. You’ve seen dozens of amazing sites you never once thought you’d get to experience. But the exciting just isn’t the same. Stepping off the plane doesn’t give you that crazy energy boost any longer.
It’s just “meh” so to say.
Traveling With Purpose | How to Improve Your Trips
I probably sound like a spoiled trust fund brat. Sick and tired of traveling to some of the most beautiful places on earth. Sick of having unlimited freedom. Sick of being able to do whatever I want whenever I want.
I’m not. Not a trust fund kid. Just a guy who built a business and started traveling the world long-term, only to realize there’s more to life than visiting a new city every 3-5 days.
It took 3-4 years, but it happened. Traveling just to travel got old. However, I didn’t abandon my life of vagabonding.
My style of travel simply evolved. I began traveling slower. Trying to make close friends and build relationships.
Oh, and I always try to find a purpose for the trip.
That purpose usually comes down to:
Finding a local hobby or skill to become proficient at.
If you’re looking to add a layer of depth to your next trips, then keep on reading this bad boy. Because below I’ll breakdown exactly how you can start traveling with a purpose too…
- Learn a Language
One of the best ways to truly interact with a culture? Strive to learn the local language.
This is especially important in Latin American countries, as English levels often aren’t very high. So learn Spanish or even Portuguese for Brazil tends to be exceptionally important.
I found that once I started studying Spanish while living in Colombia, my purpose for being in the country changed. I became more than just a tourist. I was a man on a mission, determined to become great at speaking Spanish.
This is an incredible way to find purpose through traveling.
Many cities have immersion language learning programs that offer 4+ hours of studying a day and a number of interactive activities outside the classroom every week. These type programs are an amazing addition to any and every travelers agenda.
- Practice a Sport
When I was in the Dominican Republic, I walked into a big building one afternoon while hungover. I heard what I thought was a basketball being dribbled and wanted to see if I was right.
Having played basketball in college, I loved the sport.
It turns out a local nationwide bank employees team was about to practice. Their league was taken seriously and made up of many former semi-pro and pro players in the country.
I asked if they needed anyone else to practice with and they said sure. I grabbed my shoes from my apartment and ran back to the gym.
I ended up playing in a dozen games with the team and found out that Dominicans drink beer after games instead of Gatorade. A bit odd, but sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.
The friends I made on that team ensured my time in the DR was incredibly fun. We partied together and practiced multiple times a week. One of my favorite travel memories.
Next year, I’ll be going to Brazil and planning to train Jiu Jitsu in the country. This gives my travels more purposes and allows me to fully immerse with the locals. I’m incredibly excited to train BJJ in Brazil.
- Find a Unique Volunteering Opportunity
Many travelers find volunteering gives them purposes when traveling, and there’s scores of amazing opportunities to volunteer all over the world.
One of my favorite travel memories was working a basketball camp at a massive finca outside Medellin, Colombia.
A finca owned by a certain “cartel” from Medellin who sponsored the camp. 100s of kids, dozens of coaches, and me...one lowly gringo.
Luckily, half of the coaches spoke English, including my old college basketball teammate who was fluent and the old Colombian national basketball team coach.
For four days, I stayed in a finca room while coaching basketball 12+ hours a day for free. Usually one of the kids would speak English in each group and he/she would translate my instructions to the other kids.
It was funny at times, frustrating at others. But overall, it was an incredible experience overall.
I can’t recommend finding unique volunteering opportunities anywhere and everywhere you go. This will make your life and travels better.
- Master a Dance
As a gringo, dancing is almost always a struggle. It doesn’t matter what it is. Having two left feet doesn’t exactly equate to great dancing skills.
Luckily, practice makes perfect.
One incredible way to learn about the local culture and make friends is by taking dance classes.
For example, if you go to Colombia, you could study salsa dancing. In the Dominican Republic, you might want to try bachata dancing. In Brazil, you could learn forro or samba. The list could go on and on.
Dance plays an integral part of many cultures, especially in Latin America and Africa. This is an exceptional way to immerse yourself in the culture and give your travels purpose.
Improving Your Travels!
By incorporating the ideas above into your travels, you’re sure to improve your trips. Giving your travel purpose is absolutely ideal and will make things way more fun.
What other ways can you add some “purpose” to your travels and further immerse yourself in your travels? Sound off in the comments below.
This is a guest post from Jake Nomada, who creates at Nomadic Hustle.