Travel Advice: It’s Not Just Where You Travel
Travel is a complicated thing. There are so many decisions to make before you go and when you’re on the road.
Usually people decide where they want to go first, and then how they will get there.
How do you decide who to travel with?
Often deciding who to travel with is a foregone conclusion – you’re going with your mates or your boyfriend/girlfriend or family.
But the ‘who’ is one of the most important decisions. It will completely shape your experience, because our daily interactions with other people are important to us. You can have a great or a miserable day, entirely depending on who you meet and interact with. Especially when you travel alone.
I had a great day hiking on my own outside of Seoul for instance. First a group of hikers were so excited to meet a Westerner up one of their mountains that they took a group photo with me. Then after being a little lost on the forest trails, I accidentally startled two ladies by bursting out of the shrubbery. But they quickly recovered and kindly gave me an orange, despite not speaking a word of English (and vice versa).
Along with the mountains, that was a brilliant travel day for me. I got to see some of Korea’s countryside and interact with real people.
Many people decide to travel solo, for convenience and many other good reasons. It’s great to be independent and investigate the world on your own terms sometimes. But even travelling solo, you still make decisions about who you will spend time with, from the hostels and tours you pick, to the country you aim for.
Reflecting back on the people I’ve spent time with in the last year, I’m pretty happy. From catching up with friends in far-flung places or meeting new people at festivals, the people I’ve met and travelled with have been the most memorable part of the journey.
Today I published a video I made nearly two years ago (crikey!) that celebrates the fun moments you have on the road in good company. I threw it together in less than an hour, but it captured the spirit of a trip with comrades. Featuring Kash Bhattacharya, Kirsten Alana, Julie Falconer, Flora Baker, and Emma Gray.
We were spending time in a new place, getting to know each other better, and having a bit of fun as a group.
Because of times like that, when I start to plan round the world travel now, who I will be travelling with is one of the first things I think of. Especially if I am travelling for personal interest and enjoyment rather than a work assignment.
On recent trips I’ve met circus performers, artists, business owners, people working on community initiatives, lifelong nomads, transgender dancers, startup founders, musicians and many others. And interesting nine-to-fivers too of course.
My advice is simple.
Before you decide where to go, decide what experience it is you’re looking for, and with who. You can’t be sure that’s what will happen in the end, but you can set out with the best intentions.
And make a conscious effort when you travel to meet people you find interesting. For whatever reason you find them interesting, whether they are an individual or a group of people.
It might be hard to imagine people you’ve never met, but there are lots of ways to see the world that will show you different sides of life. Think about how you might meet people when you are travelling, whether they have similar or completely different perspectives on life to yours.
You might learn a lot more on your trips than where the best beaches are…
Cheers and happy travels.