05 May 2010

Let's travel the world!

I am on my way to Seoul today for a visit with my brother and a friend. It is the first trip I’ve taken out of the country since last year, and it comes just in time - I have itchy feet after being in one place for nearly eight months.

Part of our constantly evolving Plan B is travel, enough so that we always have something to look forward to. One of my mistakes when I started on this alternate path was assuming we could see it all, and that I would want to.

When we first started making office escape plans, we planned to travel around the world for a year - something we started talking about before I graduated from law school. After years of making excuses, we sat down in front of a map, each making a list of our top places and how long we realistically wanted to spend there. Then we tried to figure out how to do it all - which involved slowly deleting places from the RTW list. Even so, the abbreviated plan would take us two years of constant travel to complete. That’s when things got depressing. No matter how much travel we did, we’d always want more. Going back to the same types of jobs, with very limited travel abilities became even more depressing. And the plans changed.

The real end of my desire for a RTW trip came in Steamboat Springs. On our road trip around the western US and Canada, we were almost constantly on the move - one night here, next night there, a week here, and then off to the next place. By the time we got to Steamboat Springs, I didn’t even want to go out and explore. I was burnt out on travel. Yes, it can happen.

Turns out, I don’t like constant travel like that. I like to meet other people, to see places that are not on the tourist path, and to take time to appreciate the culture of a place. You can’t do that when you’re constantly moving. There is not enough time to make lasting connections. I’ve learned that I prefer spending longer periods of time in smaller areas, where I can meet locals, shop at the markets, and see places most visitors never even hear about.

I don’t need to see six countries in two weeks; I’d rather spend that time really exploring one region. I might never be able to see everything on my list, and that's fine (the list is prioritized now). I’ll go back to favorite places before heading to another destination on my list. Yes, I might have already been to that state or country, but not a particular area - it’s a completely different adventure each time. Travel is not about checking off locations, it’s about the experience.
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