I’ve been reading a lot of unconventional content lately about traveling the world. I’ve been on many trips over the past 5 years. The thing is that I usually go to an all-inclusive resort where it’s a giant party for a week or I visit family in Europe. I’ve never stepped out of my comfort zone to actually experience a different culture or go to a place where I don’t know anyone. 2011 is the year this changes.
I’ve come to understand that there are three main ways to plan your world travels:
1. Plan everything out.
This is a pretty common approach to traveling.You consult maps, travel websites, travel agents, forums, and you construct the ultimate trip. You plan out all of the places you’ll visit during the trip. You figure out exactly where you’ll stay and eat. All of the details of your trip are figured out before you even step on the plane and leave the country. Your itinerary for the trip is set.
I actually tried this for one of my first trips. I went on forums and inquired about every little detail. Sure, I got my answers, but what’s the point? When I got down there I just ended up getting better information from the locals. Planning every detail of your trip can be beneficial when you go with your family. It’s not as necessary when you’re a 20-something roaming around.
2. Try mini-trips and experiment.
Tim Ferriss introduced the world to mini-retirements and the concept of getting away for months/years at a time. This seems like ideal approach for anyone that wants to consider moving somewhere but isn’t sold on the area yet. By taking a mini-retirement at some remote location in the world, you can truly experience the culture and see if it’s where you want to live.
I personally don’t know anyone that has taken a mini-retirement. I do know of a few people that traveled to Thailand to learn the art of Muay Thai over a span of 2 months. This is likely where I would see myself. I don’t want to take a trip where I relax for an extended period of time. I would like to learn something new or perhaps work. I can’t just be idle. Learning something new is always cool. Working in a different country would definitely allow you to experience the culture of the locals.
3. Go all in with your travels.
This is rare but it sounds like fun. Just book a ticket and go with the flow. This is something that you see in the movies. You’ll probably be deemed “irresponsible” by your family. You could also run into trouble. You could be stranded. You won’t know the language so you won’t be able to get around. You’ll have to scramble to find a place to eat and sleep.
Then you can look at the other side– who cares? As a recent college graduate this can be one of the funnest and most un-structured things that you do in your life. Just be ready for lots of adventure.
I’ve already done #1, #2 is coming this year in some shape, and hopefully one day I can pull a #3.
Have you traveled to any cool places? How do you plan your travels?
Check out my 2,000 word post on Vagabonding and what you need to know about traveling the world.
(photo credit: faunng)