The best way to learn about yourself and the world is to have an adventure. It may feel like you’ve this insane calling to be in a place where you’re not. Are the mountains calling you? Does wanderlust beckon you to cross oceans to be truly satiated?
The travel bug always seems to be biting, especially when you return from a grand adventure. Maybe the days now blend into one another, and the hours between when your head hit the pillow for sleep and waking up feel like mere moments. Where do you go when you dream?
It’s natural to want to get the heck out of dodge, whether you want to hide, rediscover yourself or take a break. You’re having an I want to get away moment. You’re even saying it out loud, but so far nothing’s manifested. You feel stuck, but you can do something about that itch to get away now.
Try a mindfulness exercise to discover where your dreams want to take you. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Say it like you mean it: I want to get away.
When you zone out, where do you go? Do you daydream, or have you experienced dreams lately, where you are on a beach, in the mountains or in an entirely different culture? Hone in on all the details. What do you taste, smell, see, feel and hear?
Use your senses to experience your surroundings. Taste the food made by street vendors. This is a clue you want to experience new cuisines, perhaps in a night market in Taipei, Taiwan or one of the best BBQ Festivals in the U.S. Smell the salt in the air and let your toes dig in the sand. Is there anything unusual about your surroundings? You may have read an article or remember a snippet of conversation that inspired your dreams.
So, dream away, and be open to your surroundings in daily life. Let ads catch your attention. Encourage others to talk about their travels. Your cousin or old college roommate may have connections to get you a great deal through their memberships, associations or travel agent. Make a note if something catches your attention as they talk. What excites you about what they are saying?
Is your body literally aching to climb a mountain? Focus and let yourself dream, so you can go chase it: “I want to get away. I need to get away to explore the Appalachian Mountains, taste the unique street food in Taipei and swim the seven seas.”
Let your fingertips do preliminary exploration on your keyboard, and search the best travel deals. You don’t have to focus on money. Follow that “I want to get away” feeling, and you’ll find that the best options often catch you by surprise.
Once you have a stronger feeling about where you want to go, investigate those countries or places. Read articles about the culture of your chosen country, its must-dos and must-sees. Search specific airline sites.
Maybe you don’t want to go where everyone wants to go — Paris and the Louvre doesn’t have the same appeal. When you don’t have a predetermined place in mind, it’s possible to let the most affordable fare decide for you. As long as you’re knee deep in sand and sea, the continent doesn’t have to matter.
Try the FareCompare Map, and your departure city should come up where you can arrange to do anything (or something specific) at a time frame you set for any price (or a specific price). A number of options specific to your outlines will pop up, detailing airfare and the like. Similar sites to explore are Kayak, Google Flights and BookWithMatrix for flights to various destinations.
When your fingers do the walking toward your “I want to get away” dream location, prices begin to emerge. Bookmark or write those down, and don’t let sticker shock get to you as you conduct your research. You’ll begin to gauge a range for your travel budget.
Look closely at what money is coming in and what money is going out, to pay bills or get a latte. Look at your assets and money you’ve set aside for a rainy day. What savings do you have for splurges or entertainment? Are you able to cut certain expenses to save money? To meet a goal of $500 or $2000, you need to set aside a certain amount every month.
Do your credit cards earn you travel miles? Can you do part time work or build a side business? Now is perfect time to minimize your hoarder tendencies and cash in on your old clothes and electronics by selling what you don’t need anymore. Use technology to budget and save for your “I want to get away” moment such as Bank of America’s “Keep the Change” program that rounds up purchases and saves the change in your savings account.
The travel itch is hard to stop scratching, but that doesn’t mean your wanderlust can’t be satiated with a little time, ingenuity and planning. When you have one of those “I want to get away” moments, let yourself feel it.
Envision it, and know that it’s important to honor the deeper need behind that. Let yourself dream, research and ultimately do what you need — Explore yourself in this big and beautiful world.