*updated for 2018
While you’re awaiting the next big adventure or upcoming trip, what do you do in the interim? I’ve been thinking about that lately as I’m currently in that category (sadly). These thoughts have also been prompted by memories of trips past that keep popping up in my Facebook feed and looking ahead to future plans that may be coming together in the next few weeks and months of the new year.
I have been reflecting not only on what I am doing between now and the next big adventure, but I’m also considering what smart travelers might do with this welcome (or perhaps not-so-welcome) void in their travel schedule. So, I’ve been jotting down some ideas and thoughts along the way.
Here’s what I’ve come up with.
What I’ve found myself doing during this time of hiatus is reflecting back upon the places I’ve been. What I’ve done. Where I’ve gone. What I’ve seen. Where I want to go next, and how and when I’m going to get there.
I also have spent more time than usual scrolling through my photographs of adventures past. This helps me spark the remembrance and emotions of that trip and brings me to a place or renewed inspiration. I ask myself questions such as: What was happening here? How did I feel? What did I see? What left a lasting impression upon me? Would I want to go here again anytime soon? What was the best part of this day? What was the worst?
This is one of the main reasons I take so many pictures in the first place. So. Many. Pictures. Not only do I have a pretty bad memory sometimes, but I find that a picture really is worth a thousand words. I can look at some of my photographs and remember so much about that particular point in time that would have otherwise been quickly forgotten without the visual reminder. (I’m sure part of this is because I’m also a very visual person and definitely a visual learner.)
Reflection is helpful in most aspects of life. Travel is just another one of those areas where looking back is meaningful and necessary to help you start looking forward. Speaking of…
I find that the next natural step after looking back is looking forward. It makes me think. It makes me evaluate. It makes me mindful of what’s next. Where else do I want to go this year? What are my constraints? Time, money, scheduling, a cranky three-year-old (just kidding)? What are my motivators? What is realistic?
I like to look long-term and explore my options. It’s exhilarating. It’s encouraging. It’s necessary.
When I’m between trips and travels, I find that it’s the perfect time to do some research. Sometimes that research is intentional and sometimes it happens randomly.
My intentional research involves delving deeper into the places I want to go, the things I want to see, and the experiences I want to have. My unintentional research usually comes in the form of scrolling through social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, and seeing a headline that catches my eye. A travel post. A blog. A photo essay. There’s so much to learn and so many places to do it, that I don’t ever run out of reasons to research. (It’s also in my nature, but that’s another topic for another day.)
When I’m not traveling somewhere, I read about traveling somewhere. I also read about the amazing and inspiring travel adventures other people are having or have already had.
I spend more time reading books in-between adventures. Any books! Fiction. Nonfiction. Biographies. Self help. Children’s literature. It doesn’t really matter to me. I find most good books to be a travel adventure in and of themselves taking me to new places, learning new things, meeting new people (characters, authors, etc.) and exploring new ideas. I love it. It’s like an instant vacation.
And there’s no limit to these type of journeys. They’re free. They’re available to anyone. They’re seemingly unlimited. They’re ready and waiting for you. They don’t require much more than a little bit of your time and energy.
I find that even when I write travel blogs for my clients each week, it’s inspiring to take that written escape to somewhere other than where I presently am. I write for beautiful beachy areas mostly, so it’s fairly easy for me to delve into that and take a mini-beach getaway in my mind while I’m working.
I also tend to carve out more time to write about my own travel adventures when I’m not actually traveling. I’ve tried writing in real-time in the past, and it’s hard to keep up. The days are already full with what I’m doing and experiencing that by the end of it all, it’s hard to muster up the energy to keep going and journal everything that’s happening. I like the freshness of doing that, but more often than not, it just has to wait.
It’s during these times of non-travel that I find more time to interact with other adventurers in the blogosphere or on Twitter or wherever the opportunity presents itself. I get to communicate more often than normal with those outside of my immediate circle of friendships and acquaintances during these times. It has definitely proven to be worthy endeavor.
Doing all of the above-mentioned things also propels me forward into the planning stages of new adventures that are to come. It’s not enough to reflect, research, discuss, read and write about travel-I want to do it! Penciling it onto my calendar or at least on a list makes it more tangible, more concrete.
Dreams are valid. Dreams are necessary. Dreams are motivators for change.
This downtime is the ideal time to blow the dust of your bucket list. Remind yourself of what you’d like to do. Where you’d like to go. What you’d like to experience. Don’t be afraid to update your list, revise it and most importantly make some progress by checking-off at least one of those items every now and again.
Since we’re on the topic of dreams and life goals, I’ll gratuitously share a couple of my favorite and most inspiring quotes on the subject.
“If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
– Henry David Thoreau
“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.”
– John Barrymore
Though I would not rank myself high up on the “smart” or “experienced” traveler list, I do know that many of these things are beneficial and well-worth dwelling upon.
If you are a seasoned traveler yourself, I would really love to know how you spend your downtime in between your trips. Are you playing catch-up from being away? (That one should probably be on my list….) Are you writing? Sharing your experiences? Gearing up for the next big adventure? These are the things I really want to know!
What are you doing in-between travel adventures or during the lulls of life itself? I’d love to hear about it. Inspire me to add a few more things to my list.