Exploration is a natural human tendency and, in some of us, it is turned up to an extreme degree. Stretching the boundaries of what we know, and where we are comfortable, is an exciting part of being alive and is within everyone’s reach.
Part of the fun of globe-trotting is plotting out your next destination. Trip planning is half knowing and half educating yourself about your personal likes, dislikes and how they translate into the world around you – with a dash of experimentation. Hence, the likelihood of you finding and following through with a trip rightly begins from looking at the source: a world map.
Map gazing can be a meditatively mesmerizing practice no matter how many times you’ve longingly gazed at one before. Look at boarders drawn, but also notice the topography – mountains, rivers, lakes. Pin cities that resonate with you, but also factor in their proximity to the equator and the seasons in relation to your personal preferences.
Think big by not limiting the number of places that you are drawn to, but also start to prioritize continents, countries, regions, and eventually specific cities that attract you the most. To assist with your visualizing practice, use images from magazines, Google, anything you can get your hands on to inspire and drive you. By all means, allow yourself to obsess! Fall deeply into the daydream of your visualization. And then, contradictory though this may sound, gently let it go.
By this point, you’ve already clearly acknowledged your desire to travel. You’ve allowed yourself to dream up a grandiose destination, seen the details in your minds eye, prepared yourself mentally for every element including deep down, how it will feel to be there. Don’t forget about all of this mental prep, but don’t dwell on the fact that it isn’t happening for you right here, right now. Instead calm yourself with the thought that this place, my destination, will always be there. In the meantime, take every opportunity to travel, in whatever form that takes and by any mode of transportation.
I personally undertook this entire process at the tender age of eight years old. Upon breaking open the atlas in my school library, I became peculiarly and instantaneously obsessed with the whole of South America. More specifically, the country of Brazil called to me and when I narrowed it down even further. My destination was clearly cut out as the Amazonian city of Manaus. Don’t ask me why, but when I saw that city sitting smack-dab in the middle of the most world’s impressive rainforest, it called to me. I could feel the thick humid air, hear the calls of the creepy-crawly creatures combined with the pitter-patter of rain bouncing off shiny greenery as far as my eyes could see; a place truly teaming with life in every direction. Nearly twenty years later, I still have yet to make it to Manaus, but that doesn’t deter me in the slightest. If anything, it excites me all the more knowing that my travels are priming me for the day when the image I painted for myself as a child becomes reality. No matter how lofty or unfathomable you think your destination is now, allow it to mature and one day it will happen.
You breathe life into your dream destination by allowing yourself to explore and see things in a new light, even if that simply means going to a different, less familiar part of your home town! Stretching your comfort zones will inevitably lead to new connections, which always open doors to the unknown. Travel begets more travel, so know where you want to go, but stay forever open to the possibilities that await you in the meantime.