“ Not all who wander are lost” -J.R.R. Tolkien
This quote perfectly sums up how I feel about travel. When I go somewhere new I like to wander. That impulse has led to some scary and fantastic moments. I always fantasized about what world was beyond my neighborhood back in Chicago. I made it my mission to go somewhere. Because I was determined to explore, I’ve been able to go to a majority of the US States, Japan, Spain, Italy, France, The Dominican Republic The Virgin Islands and more. I’m nowhere near done. My list is puny compared to other travelers I’ve met. I toy with the idea of long term round the world travel. I imagine it would be fun, but then I think back to my longest trip.
My Europe trip lasted about 5 weeks and I was exhausted by then. I think I’d rather secure a home base and then explore from there instead of moving constantly. Planning a dream trip can take hours, days and weeks of planning, saving and fact checking. Trust me it’s worth it to see it through. Stopping once you hit a wall can be disastrous. I know from personal experience. I just got burned out and neglected to book a place to stay. All of the guidebooks promised that I could find a place once I arrived. Um no. Sometimes the guidebook writers confuse their own good fortune with a hard and fast rule. There are people who will only travel free form and refuse to plan anything. That’s okay. That’s the experience they want.
People travel for different reasons. Some are just restless. Others want to learn about different cultures and some just don’t feel they belong in there birthplace. Traveling will always teach you something about the world or yourself. I learned that my sense of direction was worse than I thought! Now I’m much better at reading a map after I had no other choice. I had no map apps when I traveled so the traditional route had to suffice. I also learned that I can depend on my wits to get me out of trouble.
If it’s your dream to take on a big solo trip or to see more of the world with friends, go for it. It will take patience, planning, money and a lot of decision making. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s silly and that there’s nothing else out there for you. Explore. It’s not a stupid dream to want to see and experience the world. You’re not strange for wanting to dive into other cultures. You’re just a person whose dream is to wander.