Making the Travel Itself Count!
by Jocelyn Anne
(Orange County, CA)
So often, we women get all caught up and enraptured in the idea of “getting somewhere.” We have a list of destinations within any given time frame, whether that’s just getting from A to B or that’s getting from A to B and stopping at A1, A2, A3 and A4 along the way. We’ve got time limits and time schedules and sometimes even planners that we think will help us “successfully” navigate said travel and arrive everywhere we “must” and see everything we “should” before all is said and done. We consider the “getting there” a pause. We get irritated with delays and we are always thinking five steps ahead.
If you can’t sympathize with any of this then you’re definitely reading the wrong article for you! But if it resonates even at all, and you’re frustrated with it, fortunately, all of this can be so very easily remedied. Plus, I think you’ll discover yourself enjoying your travel ever so much more than you already do. And, I guarantee, if you’re the type (I’ve been here myself), in which you come from your vacation of travels in desperate need of a vacation to relax and unwind, than please read!
I had this breakthrough when I was planning my next trip. I started thinking, rather than some big bon voyage across the seas to foreign lands, that perhaps this time, I simply wanted to take a road trip. Oh! How I love a good road trip. But, this may, and did, seem odd, why would I want to stay here when I could go afar? I had to break it down with a little analyzing, and I came to realize something: I love road trips so much because they’re so relaxed. I hop in a car, loaded up with all my favorite beverages and gummy worms and stashes of Pringles, a playlist two miles long, a destination that I can arrive at whenever and however I please, and nothing but time before me. Now, that, is freedom. I decided, then, that somehow, I had to learn to apply this to my travels abroad so that I could venture out of the states and still maintain that whimsical, carefree, “the trip IS the trip” feel.
You may see a few less sites, you may not eat at every single recommended restaurant in Budapest, and you may not actually get quite as far in one trip as you had originally “planned.” But, I happen to think you’ll take in what you do see in a more appreciative, in-depth way. Nothing bugs me more than when I hit up 10 tourist spots and didn’t really fully, wholly take in any of them. I’d so much rather see 5 spots and know them intimately and go examine the cracks in their walls and meet the people who dedicate their life to telling their stories day in and day out for 25 years.
If you’re craving something new, consider traveling a different kind of travel. You’ll give some things up but you’ll gain so many more. Ready? Let’s go! Here are some basic tips to remember:
1) Planning, What Planning?
Don’t do it! Don’t plan! Okay, so you can plan where you’ll start from and where you’ll end up so you can get back home eventually. And, if there’s an issue with worrying about traveling solo as a woman without researched stops, then plan those. But other than that, try to plan in as broad of strokes as possible. Give yourself some options, ie: I can see x, y and z today, but I don’t have to see any of it!
2) Enjoy the Getting There as Much as the There
Put yourself in the mind frame of a road trip, in which the trip IS the trip. Enjoy the freedom to go where you want to go. Enjoy the relaxation of being taken to your destination. If you’re flying, start the trip the minute you set foot on the plane, not the minute you step off. Relish a book you’ve been dying to read. Start the journal that will document all the splendors you’re about to witness. Take in some Spanish lessons. Whatever it is, make it a point to enjoy and cherish the time, rather than wish it away. It’ll extend your travels even further and leave you with a much more fulfilled feeling.
3) Purposefully Re-Arrange Plans
This is called practiced spontaneity for those of you just getting started! One day of your trip (or more than one if you absolutely love what happens), completely go out on a limb and do absolutely nothing on your original “not-planned” itinerary. Travel a different direction, ask a local where you should go instead of your travel guidebook. Who knows, you might successfully erase all the remaining plans you’ve made!
Plan less, enjoy more, and take the time to breathe it all in and absorb it. That’s what makes travel linger in our souls well after we’ve returned.
Freelancer Jocelyn Anne is a passionate traveler and environmentalist in Orange County, CA. At the moment while not traveling, she’s promoting Air & Water portable air conditioners as eco-friendly, cost cutting replacements to central AC systems.