One of my favorite lines from any movie is one from the movie Eurotrip. “We can to see Europe, not some crappy statue.”
I think this statement leads to an important question about why people travel. It leads to an interesting thing, which is how you set up your travels and where/when you go. Basically, this would be: what do you travel for?
Personally, I’m an art and architecture guy. I like big, old, historical building and monuments. I like history. I love good paintings, specifically the Old Masters. The big cathedrals, the classic basilicas, the coliseum, the area lines of Nazca, that’s what I find interesting. I like god statues and excellent paintings. The Hall of Rubens in The Louvre is possible my favorite place on earth.
This is me. That what I dig. I have friends that are all about new experience. They like meeting new people. They like to interact with individuals and meld into different cultural settings. If that is your interest, that’s awesome. However, you will need to set up your travels differently than I set up mine. And that, is good!
I have other friends who are about new personal experiences. They want to skydive, scuba dive, BASE jump, or surf. They want to ride motorcycles in the desert (I do enjoy this). They want to test themselves against something new. That’s cool too. These people set up their travels differently than the two groups above.
It is important to know why you want to travel, and what new experiences that you want to experience. This way you end up travelling the right way. You also end up travelling to the right places, at the right times. And, most importantly, for the right reasons.
I structure art and architecture into my plans, and I go to new places to see new things. I understand what I want to see before I decide to buy my plane tickets. I know the experiences that I want to have before I start looking at new destinations. When I do start looking, I look for the things I wish to find.
I have to admit that I also have traveling friends who have no preconceived ideas about what they want. They simply want something different than what they currently are experiencing. I think these people may have to hardest problems in choosing a new travel experience, simply because everything presents itself as new and exciting. I’m happy I don’t have that problem.
I guess all of this boils down to: understanding what you want makes it easier to get what you want. Sitting down and thinking about what you want to do is a solid use of your time. I do this a lot. I do it while watching TV or doing other residential tasks. If I see something on a TV show and it looks awesome, I put it on the list of new places. Sometimes I go there, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it takes five or six years before I get there.
Case in point. I watched a show on Machu Picchu back in 1995. It looked cool. I really wanted to go there. I did. In September of 2012 I bought a plane ticket to Lima, Peru, and went to find the Not-So-Lost city of the Inca. That’s how it happens in my world. Never just let the idea go. Because, it may not be the best idea this year, but it may be THE BEST idea next year. There really is no explaining it sometimes.
No matter what possesses you to go exploring, embrace it! Figure out what makes you happy and chase after that. Find that things that gives your travel meaning and do that. Travel should be a lot of things, but most important is that it should not be something that you don’t want it to be. If you like old building, like I do, great. If you like meeting new people, great. If you like having new experiences, great. Go do that. And, take a lot of pictures while you do. You’ll be happy that you did.
Now, go. Get out there.
Machu Picchu, September of 2012. Taken by yours-truly, from the corner of the entry path. It is one of those places on the globe that will make you happy you put forth the effort to go there. Seriously.