Ask me what I’m thinking about on any given day, and there’s a good chance the answer will be travel. Where I’ve been, where I’m going, or where I’m dreaming of going. The possibilities feel endless because in my mind, they are. In reality, they aren’t. I have work to do, bills to pay, and things on my to-do list that keep me tied down, too. But I let my imagination run wild, anyway. And I do it intentionally.
There are so many reasons not to travel. It takes time we don’t have, and money we should save or spend in different ways. It takes some courage and trust in ourselves to know we can handle any problems that might arise while we’re away from home. It can push us outside our comfort zones and challenge us to think about the world in a new way, and sometimes that can feel a bit overwhelming.
It’s no wonder with all the reasons there are not to travel that we so often just stay put. There are lots of very real reasons why travel might not be possible right now, and I’m not trying to discount any of those. But if you might just need a little kick to get up and go somewhere, these are a few of the ways I like to dream of new places to travel – and sometimes, they manage to get me there.
Literally Just Pull Up Google Maps
This one is a nod to all us visual learners out there. When I’m dreaming of where I might go next, I honestly almost always pull up Google Maps to help me visualize my options. It seems simple, but I find it inspirational. I like to scan the European continent (where I’m currently living) until something catches my eye. I’ll look it up, see if it’s interesting, and then I might just end up there.
Take Inspiration from Books or Movies
Maybe this one is a bit cliché, but I think it’s fun anyway. Once, on a trip with my mom, we went to a symphony performance at La Fenice, the opera house in Venice, because it featured prominently in a murder mystery my mom had read. It was one of the highlights of the whole trip, in part because all those images she had in her head for months while reading finally came together in real life at that performance.
Don’t Discount the Small Places
I’m all about some major cities and the wonderful things they have to offer visitors. But some of my happiest trips have been to smaller cities/areas. They have a lot to offer at much lower prices, and the crowds tend to be much more navigable, too. I also love that small cities are walkable and that by the end of my trip I feel like I know my area. When travel seems like a reach, I find it’s a lot easier to grab at a small destination.
Ask a Friend
If you’re feeling the travel bug, chances are a friend is too. Just ask! And if you get shot down the first time, ask, ask again! Asking a friend if they want to go on an adventure will never cost you a thing, and if they aren’t up for it now, they’ll consider asking you the next time they are. Traveling with friends is a great way to build awesome new memories together and give each other the confidence to explore a new part of the world.
But Don’t Be Afraid to Just Go It Alone
At the same time, if there’s somewhere on your list that you’re dying to visit, don’t feel like you have to wait for company. Unless this is a place that you absolutely have to wait for – a place you’ve talked about visiting with a specific friend for years, for example – stop waiting. Traveling in good company is great, but so is traveling alone. You get to set the itinerary just the way you want it, make last-minute changes that suit your mood, and you learn a lot about yourself, too. Enjoying your own company is good anywhere – but it’s best in an exciting new place.
Whatever your travel abilities might be in 2018, it’s always free to dream. And if you do it now, you’ll be better equipped to know what you want when you can take off. Hoping your New Year is full of dreaming and, if you’re lucky, traveling, too!
by Emma Schultz