This is the last in a series of articles to help you decide what methods and styles of travel work well for you. Here is a list of all the previous posts. The posts with asterisks (*) include a worksheet to help you decide if that travel style might work for you.
18 Ways I Save While Traveling
(includes my Expense-Tracking Spreadsheet)
My Travel Styles..Defined
I use all the travel styles listed above:
- Long-term: more than the few weeks to a month which is common for folks on holiday
- Frugally: I try to find a balance among affordability, comfort, and experiences. It can be a fine line. And “frugal” has different meanings for everyone.
- Slowly: staying in one place for one to three months, so I can become accustomed to the culture, make friends, work on creative projects, and explore the area.
- Solo: alone—although I have befriended a LOT of people along the way
- Independent: making almost all my own travel plans; not using the services of agencies, tour groups, or guides
I have chosen these travel styles because they fit my personality and my sense of independence. Each has its pros and cons.
What is Right for You?
These are the ways I travel, but I am not saying that everyone should take on all these travel styles.
Some people might enjoy traveling solo and long-term, but they would prefer having someone else deal with the planning and booking hassles. Some get lonely when traveling solo, or they really enjoy having a partner with whom to share the experience. Still others love solo and independent travel, but not for long periods of time—either because they enjoy their homes, friends, and family, or because they just cannot afford to be gone from work for more than a few weeks.
It is important for each person to figure out what his/her travel style is. It may take a while, and it may change from time to time, and place to place. Don’t allow others (friends, travel acquaintances, tourist agencies, guides, or anything you read) determine what your travel style is. Don’t feel guilty if you are not continuously meeting local people, experiencing all the sights, engaging in the culture. Pick and choose what works for you. (Journaling about it helps a lot!) And be careful not to choose to change your way of living too much all at once, or you risk becoming jaded or burned out.
The most important thing is travel so that you savor the experiences you do have.
Other Ideas to Consider
I have touched on some of the following possibilities in this series, but here are a few ideas to consider to create richer travel experiences.
1. Share Your Experiences
Email Lists: One simple way to send travel updates to people is to create an email list. Then periodically, you can send messages with photos and stories to the list. As interest in your travels grows, it is easy to add people to the list. Be sure to use the BCC: (Blind Courtesy Copy) option instead of the TO: or CC: field for email addresses. This way, you keep everyone’s addresses private, and recipients cannot use the REPLY TO ALL option. Mailchimp provides a more sophisticated way to send mass emails, and your subscribers can easily opt out.
Facebook or other Social Media: I use my Facebook page to write what I call “mini posts.” They are faster and simpler to compose than a blog post, so I am able to send short updates out more frequently. However, my audience is limited to Facebook users who check their feeds regularly.
Blogging: I have talked to a lot of travelers who say they use a simple blog to keep friends and family informed and share their experiences. It does not have to be complicated. If you are just starting out blogging, I recommend Google Blogger. It is simpler to use than WordPress, and that is how I started. WordPress allows you to do more with your blog and be more creative, but it is a little more challenging to learn to use.
If you decide to author a travel blog, even if you do not plan to earn money from it, I recommend reading “How to Start A Travel Blog” at Nomadasaurus.com
2. Mindful Travel
“Be alert to your own inner life while on the road and at the same time, appreciate the dignity and wonder all you encounter.” —Jim Currie
Before I traveled to Peru for the first time in 2014, I discovered a treasure of a book, The Mindful Traveler, by Jim Currie. It is now out of print, but you can probably find it in online stores that carry used books.
The Mindful Traveler is a guide to using travel journals in a special way to be more respectful and aware and “enjoy each step that you take.” Before you leave home, you establish “intentions,” “touchstones,” and “mandalas” (or mindsets), as well as ways to keep tabs on your well-being. Then you journal each day, so that you take time for reflection. By evaluating each day in terms of your health, intentions, and expectations, you become a more experienced and vital traveler.
Mindful traveling led me to experience many “pinch myself” moments—those unexpected, euphoric episodes when, suddenly, you cannot believe what is happening. It is like you are the star in your own wonderful movie. You can read my blog about pinch-myself moments at CathleensOdyssey.com/pinch-myself.
A few of the “Mindful Travel” pages I created as I was planning how I would use this journaling method on my first trip to Peru in 2014.
3. Thematic Travel
What do you enjoy doing? Fishing? Woodworking? Sewing? Painting? Gardening? Birdwatching? Gaming?
One method you can use to seek out kindred spirits is to travel thematically. Choose one or two things you enjoy and look for people who share your interest.
If you are reticent or shy, thematic travel is a great tool to break the ice, both for people you meet and for yourself. I now have friends all over the world, thanks to the way that I travel.
You can learn all about how to plan your own thematic journey in my online handbook or video course. It includes a downloadable five-page Thematic Travel Planning Worksheet.
This Travel Styles series has introduced you to the way I travel, but, as I mentioned above, it is certainly up to you to figure out what works best for you. In the coming weeks, I will continue to posts about the way I travel. Here are some of the topics you can expect:
- Staying Well and Safe
- Hostel Traveling
- What I Carry in my “Office” Handbag
- When Things are not Going so Well
- Low-season Travel
- Things I DON’T Do While Traveling
- Travel Projects
- Livin’ Your Dream
Let me know in the comments below what you would like to hear about!