While just another regular Wednesday morning is getting busy with tasks to do, meetings, emails, phone calls, and things to think or rethink, we may ask ourselves – how to travel more? How to have more holidays, vacations, free days, time to wander around our own cities, or money to go to other countries?
I’m not writing this article to tell you how to travel more. Knowing that many of you have some experience in traveling and that many of you would like to be able to travel more, I will share with you some of my recent discoveries that helped me gaining this skill. Traveling is a skill. So, I will tell you…
…how to travel?
The question is – how could you actually – travel? I was inspired by a wonderful post saying that we are all overdoing this travel thing. The hype about traveling as an ultimate way to happiness and fulfillment may have become exaggerated, I had to agree. As a travel addict, I have my own views on travel, and I will share them here with you and you can tell me if you agree.
0.Visit a Museum
This is a zero point because it’s the main topic of my blog and it lies in the basement of all my personal and professional activities and it may also be the reason why you are reading this blog. You may also be here for the first time, but your goal is to find what are my ideas about traveling, isn’t it? 🙂 These two pictures show my visit to the Arctic part of Europe, where I experienced how it really is in the dark and cold winters, but I also got much interesting information in the museum.
By visiting museums, you get some immediate insights about the whole place, context, and culture, on the topics that matter to you. If you are more interested in nature, you might want to visit natural history museums, if you are interested in local stories, you are likely to visit a city museum or a history museum. If you are particularly interested in sciences or arts, generally, our of contexts, you will dream about visiting great national museums in as many countries as possible. Museums may be public not-for-profit organizations or someone’s private initiatives, and in both situations, you support someone’s hard work. Not all museums are good, but if you read my blog, you will find great museums only.
Do you have any museums in your city you have never visited? This is the time for a visit! Let me know if you think that museum is fun 🙂
1. Be an explorer – discover.
During my recent trip to South Tyrol, Italy, I visited the Museion, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Bolzano. In the Museum shop, I found the book called “How to be an explorer of the world”. The book provides a fun source of inspiration how to explore. Explore. Anything, anyway, anywhere, at any time. No matter where you are, even if you are about 100 meters (or feet) from your home, there is room for discovery.
That’s the reason why I invented the hashtag #myfundiscoveries, and I’m inviting all the bloggers to use it if they found something interesting – no matter if it was found during the travels to exotic places or at home.
See also: 6 truths about train travel
2. Meet people. Meet them seriously.
The key to inspiration, fulfillment, and happiness is in people. It took me a long time to find my own way of socializing. Then I remembered all the lovely moments I had in hostels when talking to absolute strangers, learning their inspiring stories. On the other hand, people I meet around me, who wonder how I manage to travel and establish so much “superficial” communication all around, without getting sad when saying goodbye. It’s not easy to say goodbye to people who showed up to be extremely nice and incredibly inspiring, but I learned how to not take things too seriously, but also keep some contact with people. For instance, listening is truly important. Once you know what a person really likes, you may communicate by sending a little picture or a little link about the topic. The person will feel great and you will feel great too.
Cultivating personal and professional contacts comes as another important part of a traveler’s mindset. I will say more about it in the point 4 of this article, introducing the Global Village program.
See also: Museums, Travelers, and Romance
3. Rethink the realities.
Have you heard the term “urban exploration”? It’s basically about people who enter abandoned buildings, taking pictures and videos of them. Although these activities may be legally and ethically questionable, there are ways to do it without harming someone’s property or safety. Why the place became abandoned? There are always reasons that can lead us to nice ideas to improve our realities. At least, people who visit these places like to sit together and engage in emotional conversations such as “how could they leave a beautiful place like this abandoned”.
4. Join an organized program.
In 2016, I made a decision that led me to a life-changing experience. I decided to join the Global Village program, held at the Lehigh University, in the beautiful town of Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. It was my first trip to America and outside Europe generally. I stayed in dorms with people from 45 different countries, having tons of activities, learning how to manage diverse situations in work and life. The experience wasn’t cheap, but I would not get a 5-weeks stay in the US cheaper with any other travel model, for the same amount of money. You do not even need to spend a fortune to be at exotic places – there are volunteering programs. I’m looking forward to joining some of them, but I haven’t tried such experience yet.
Organized programs are a nice way to meet people and have easier ways to discover more things you will like. Select well what program to join – classical travel agency programs may involve busy schedules with experiences that are too conventional or even boring for you. Choose an educational and adventure program instead.
5. Be a responsible traveler.
Travel and tourism industry may trash our environment and contribute to the bad human impact on Earth. Two people traveling thousands of kilometers/miles by car cause impact. In air travel, there are many little pieces from serving food that end up in the trash as soon as the airplane lands. Many people use small packages of cosmetics while traveling, and luxury hotels serve a high number of small packages that end up in trash very fast. In hostels, many guests buy too much food which gets trashed after becoming abandoned and spoilt in fridges.
Things are changing. More and more packages are getting recycled. High-end hotels try asking their guests to demand fewer towel replacements when staying for a few nights. Hostels try raising awareness about turning off the lights in bathrooms, spending less water, etc. I came to a few conclusions about responsible travel and I will share them with you:
- A.Try finding hotels, hostels, apartments and restaurants that are locally owned, and whose owners care about providing local products to their guests.
- B.Avoid printing too many tickets, vouchers, reservations… most of them can be easily saved in apps. I use Apple Wallet for my boarding passes, after doing online check in. I also use Apple Wallet to save my reservations for hotels and tickets for conferences. There are many Android apps providing the same facilities.
- C.Try getting local experiences from local professionals; free walking tours are a nice idea because by joining them, you support students and young people who make pocket money out of it. If your budget allows you more sophisticated solutions, try hiring a good sustainably oriented agency that will show you the finest experiences and support the local working people. Avoid any massively oriented tourist experiences.
- D.Use your travel cosmetic packages multiple times. If you find nice packages in your hotel, take them with you once you empty them, and use them again. DO NOT steal the full packages to take them home and make a load of trash after using them up. You will not feel that amount of little bottle and plastic boxes as souvenirs, trust me.
- E.If you are staying in hostels, plan your meals wisely. If you are not keen on cooking, try asking others for advice. For instance, for two people, one cup of rice is enough. You don’t need to cook the whole package. If you did not need the whole package of rice, leave it for other guests by labeling it “free”. If you find dry foods labeled “free” in your hostel, use them instead of buying new ones.
- F.Avoid single-use plates, glasses, spoons, etc. Avoid buying fast food on your travels.
- There are more interesting insights about responsible travel on the Roaming the Americas blog.
6. Visit your family and friends.
While meeting people is an infinite source of inspiration, the family and friends are your precious, even if you have a very few close family members and close friends like I do. Visiting them, people who may live on another side of your country, or in another country, may be an affordable option Nothing is better than staying at their places, cooking, listening to the music, talking until late at night… so many options. Also, to my foreign friends, I love to bring authentic Croatian products! I learned a lot about authentic Croatian products – after traveling and living abroad, after meeting people from other countries.
7. Work flexibly.
Here comes the professional part. As a person who partially works in my own family business, I know the importance of being ready to work or be engaged in some kind of professional activity at any time; there is no 9 to 5 model. A friend of mine works for a kind of conventional company, but thanks to her productive and fulfilled days at work, she gets lots of days to travel. I know there no many companies and employers with that approach, but things are changing. The number of working options and the ways how people work is rising on daily basis. But it’s necessary to get flexible, if you really want to travel, particularly if you want to show the world to your children (I’m not a mother, so I have no vote on the topic, but just thinking of the number of family travel blogs I find on daily basis).
8. Go to conferences and other professional events.
Professional life may also be a source of travel options. Business conferences, conventions, workshops, and similar events organized for professionals from certain fields to meet each other and learn new things are also great opportunities to visit something new and get new perspectives. For instance, last year I went to Lisbon to attend the Web Summit, one of the world’s finest conferences for innovation and technology. The event itself started in Dublin, Ireland, but after being moved to Lisbon it generated a huge increase in the number of visitors – most speakers were commented on the surprising and incredible charm of this city. Why limit yourself on planning classical holidays or weekend trip? Try a different approach.
9. Travel alone.
Many bloggers have created posts about traveling alone. The idea of traveling alone may sound unfamiliar to many people. Even though I started traveling with my family at an early age, and moved to another country to study at age 21, I continued feeling uncomfortable with some new experiences. I got used to flying without any companions, which includes passing all the well-known airport procedures alone, so it was not a big deal for me anymore. But, I was somehow nervous about having layovers and long haul flights – I said myself – I’m not going to be alone having these experiences for the first time. Guess what? First time I was on a layover and on a long haul flight I was – alone 😀
While going back from America to Europe I got stuck in London because I couldn’t come from Heathrow to Gatwick on time to take my next scheduled flight. Staying alone and jet lagged at the airport for seven hours was not the most comfortable thing, but at least there was another flight for me in the same day. There is always something positive to have on mind.
On the blog Travel Plans For Miss Fancy Pants, I found this article about making friends while traveling solo.
Back in my past, I can say again that everything starts in our immediate surroundings. At age 18 I went to a museum alone for the very first time. It was at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb. I bought the ticket and visited the whole permanent collection – it took me 3 hours. Going alone to a museum is a perfectly therapeutic experience. I like to go with other people, it gives me another kind of joy, but going alone comes as a perfect way to understand the context without getting distracted. 9 years later, I went alone to the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York, walking from somewhere near the crossing of the 42nd Street and the 3rd Avenue. It was a long walk, everyone who has been in New York knows how 😀
See also: The Romantic Castle of Verona
10. Become unique.
…and, if you really love the feeling of traveling, have a location-independent career, or a career that requires frequent travels. If you don’t feel like traveling to distant places, just be a local explorer. When you feel like that, change from a globetrotter to local explorer, and vice versa. Be creative on your own way. And don’t worry if the wifi is not always available 🙂