My dentist has a map of the world in his waiting room. Perhaps it is to get the patient thinking about where you could go and what you could see, rather than the evitable teeth cleaning waiting behind the swinging door.
As I look at this map, the world is not so small to me. I realize I could go anywhere, but where?
One of the most important stages of being a traveler is planning. Some always seem to have a clear picture of where they want to go and what they want to see, while others merely dabble with ideas that might never come to fruition.
If you can’t see the forest for the trees, you may need a travel planning intervention. As you fend off questions from friends and family as to where your next flight will take you, consider heading to these places for travel planning inspiration so that travel doesn’t just become some dream in the dentist’s chair.
The Book Store—Hopefully by the time this article is posted, bookstores will still exist. Joking aside, the glossy covers of travel guidebooks and novels about far away lands lend overwhelming inspiration. Park yourself in the travel aisle of your local bookstore and see what inspires you. Pick a guidebook, any guidebook and you’re bound to find inspiration. You may also find a few great gifts for fellow travelers.
The Unorganized Closet—Recently, I decided I should venture into my unorganized closet at my childhood home and sort through all of the items I have left behind with that childhood. It can be amazing just what unorganized closet cleaning will do for travel planning inspiration. I uncovered old brochures and ticket stubs to various places I have been around the globe. If you have a space in your home that needs organizing or a place where you keep old travel mementos, dig through it. You will find your travel planning might take a turn when you are reminded of that time in Spain.
A Panorama or Viewpoint—Find the highest point in your town or city. Take a drive up to a nearby hill or viewpoint. When you can see where you live from above, you get the sense of size. Where you want to go might become clearer when you can see for miles and miles. High points can inspire the traveler to seek out landscapes and places well beyond the horizon.
The Airport—We often go to the airport when we have already worked through travel planning. The plans have been made and we are stressed, ready to get through security, hoping we didn’t miss the connection. Airports can be high stress environments, especially when you are traveling. Go to the airport as an observer. Stare at the departure screens. Observe the hellos and goodbyes. There is a great deal of emotion wrapped up into airports, from utmost joy to the sadness of parting. Whatever may be holding back your travel planning, whether it be too many choices or the costs, the airport will remind you of the emotions of travel and why that experience is so giving.
A Solo Outing—When it comes to travel planning, the choir of voices can turn into pressure to go here or there. Go have dinner by yourself at a restaurant. Sit on a park bench for an hour. Take a walk. Having some solo time can quiet those voices and distractions, the ones that are clouding your travel planning. Being heavily saturated by people, whether it is online or in the “real world” can cloud the mind. Be with your thoughts and hopefully the travel-planning path will clear up.
After narrowing down some destinations, browsing through cheap flights can bring your next trip a bit closer to reality.
Where do you go to find clarity in the travel planning process?