Most of us have a trip of a lifetime up our sleeves, that dream that goes beyond a bucket list to the one journey we secretly (or not so secretly) would give a proverbial arm and a leg to do. For some, it's Antarctica, or the Galapagos, or the Northern Lights or Greenland - usually distant, usually expensive, and possibly a tad unrealistic (but we'll still do it, right?)
Someone once asked me what my trip of a lifetime would be and guess what? I couldn't answer!
The closest I came was that my dream was to visit every country in the world, but at 63, the chances of that happening are slightly below average (still, I'm at 83 countries so you never know!)
I hate vague replies so I felt as though someone had thrown down a gauntlet - I took it as a dare.
If I had to put together my trip of a lifetime, what would it be? How would I go about deciding where to go? How would you?
If your dream is already as clear as crystal, that's fabulous!
But for those of you who - like me - enjoy the sound of the words 'trip of a lifetime' without really having one anchored clearly in their minds, I've put together a few prompts that can help us figure it out.
Shall we build that dream trip together, right here and now?
In the late 1970s and early 1980s a popular book by Shakti Gawain called Creative Visualization revolutionized the self-help world by teaching you how to use your imagination to create what you want in life.
It's a technique I've used often to help me be creative.
Even if you're skeptical, you know that if you think about something enough and in great detail, you'll have a better chance of getting it than if you don't think about it all. If nothing else, visualization helps you focus.
So let's do a bit of that focusing.
If you have only one trip to make, one big huge mother of a trip, the ONE that's supposed to provide the memories of a lifetime... what would go into that trip? What would make it unforgettable?
Is extraordinary natural beauty your main criterion?
Are you more of a culture vulture, intent on one-of-a-kind civilizations?
Perhaps your trip of a lifetime is a great journey.
Maybe you're looking for a big adventure...
Your trip of a lifetime could be about a theme...
Is there something you've always wanted to learn?
Do you feel the need to test yourself?
Your trip of a lifetime could be of a more spiritual or introspective nature
Do you have a better sense now of what might go into your trip of a lifetime?
It's hard to put together a trip with all these elements... so perhaps my trip would have to include several stops.
I've always wanted to see Madagascar, so that could be part of my trip. I've never been to India but I love the food and would undoubtedly find it beautiful and culturally diverse. And I've always dreamed of one of those beach holidays, in turquoise seas with a room on stilts, far from the world... so it looks as though my trip of a lifetime could take place in a straight line from Madagascar to the Seychelles to India, say, for about six weeks.
That sounds about right. And I now have a trip of a lifetime, which I didn't have when I started writing this page. (Now all I have to do is take it!)