We’re often asked about our travel planning process. How do you decide where you are going or what to pack or even how to get there. For me travel inspiration comes from so many different sources. I love to read, so often times I yearn to visit the locales of my literary heroes, both the authors and their characters. If I could visit every port Jack Aubrey and Steven Maturin sailed to I would; Patrick O’Brien could really sell the setting. This has brought us to some far flung places like Malta, Mallorca, the Galapagos, and Borneo to name a few. I was also inspired by tales of Marco Polo, Ghengis Khan, and anything taking place in the far east. So our travels in Asia read like a silk merchants caravan map. It can be so easy to find inspiration for travel at least to get you headed in a direction.
But like Fuller says, sometimes you don’t really know where it is you should be heading until you get moving. I often give this same advice when asked about writer’s block. Pick up the pen and start writing about anything. Or for travelers, choose a location from one of your favorite books and get going. We’ll always get to a new place with an idea of what we wanted to do there only to discover that there is so much more that really calls to us. Always save some of your time for expanding your understanding of the area until you get there and meet the people and hear their stories. You’ll discover things that weren’t in the travel blogs and tourist guides.
On our journey through Mongolia we knew we wanted to leave the beaten path, wander through the steppes and experience the expansive beauty of the country. After getting there and realizing the stops along the way were open to our interests and desires, we discovered that what we really wanted to experience was the culture and lifestyles of the beautiful people we met along the way. True nomads living off the land and sharing everything they had with strangers. For me, we should have been heading to that small family’s yurt, tucked under a grassy hill under the largest sky I’ve ever seen, all along. We spent the afternoon with them, helping sheer the sheep, sharing our crazy mix of western and eastern food, and sipping fermented mare’s milk from the bucket passed hand to hand. These are the destinations we love the most and the real purpose for our travels.
So if you don’t know where it is you should travel to, just pick a location and go! Once you start moving in a direction, your true path will find you and the discovery will stay with you always.
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Do you like to have an itinerary planned for all your travels or do you love to wander and discover as you go?
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