A question I am asked fairly frequently is “how do you choose where to go?”
Like most questions I get, there’s not an easy answer. My travel plans are a mix of whimsy and luck, with the occasion bought of careful planning thrown in. Usually when people ask me where I’m headed next I don’t really know- there are so many variables at work.
One thing I know for sure is that I have a list roughly three pages long of places I am just dying to visit. From Mongolia to Albania, New Zealand to Austin, Texas, the list is extensive and constantly growing. That’s not even including all the places I’ve already been and urgently want to go back to (hello Vietnam, Italy, Japan). The world is so vast and beautiful, it is sometimes difficult to focus.
So my question today is, how do you choose? How does a place move from your “that sounds nice” list to your “need to make this happen now” list?
Here area few reasons I’ve come up with:
Word of Mouth
One of the biggest influences for me are first-hand recommendations. You can read up all you like, watch Anthony Bourdain non-stop and pour over pictures on the internet, but nothing beats hearing the real truth from someone you trust. It was first hand endorsements from traveling friends that lead Mike and I to move sight unseen to Sayulita (which, sigh, I still really miss).
Once again I’m befuddled by how anybody knew anything before the internet. 95% of everything I know about anything comes from the internet. How did you trip plan without blogs, TripAdvisor, top ten lists and all the other tiny bits of advice and inspiration floating around the web?
Articles play a big role as well, on travel blogs of course, but also on larger sites. Lately I’ve been leafing through the new Yahoo Travel website, which curates articles magazine style. This story has me convinced to go to Puerto Rico, this article reminds me I have a lot more food exploring to do in Hong Kong and this one reminds me there are things in my own backyard that I don’t even know about.
Books, Movies, TV
I never had any desire to go to Paris before I watched Midnight in Paris, but the idea of Fitzgerald and Hemingway getting plastered in 1920’s cafes really struck a chord with me and now I’m dying to go. Hemingway had already sent me to Spain by writing The Sun Also Rises, so it kind of makes sense.
All of those things are a factor, but probably the biggest influences in where I decide to go next, are the places I’ve already been. Now that I’ve visited Northern Italy, I absolutely have to go down South. I spent a month in Vietnam and barely scratched the surface of that fascinating country. I spent 9 months in South America and never made it to Peru or Bolivia. You’d better believe Machu Picchu is calling my name. The list goes on and on.
This confirms something that I’ve been saying for years. You don’t get travel “out of your system.” In fact traveling extensively has the exact opposite effect. The more you see, the more you have to see. My list gets longer and longer. I will never conquer it. I don’t really mind though, that’s part of the joy of living.
Where do you find your travel inspiration?
This article was written by me, brough to you by Yahoo Travel