“The world is so full of a number of things, I ’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”
I've always loved this quote from Robert Louis Stevenson. And when it comes to picking destinations for our travels, the "number of things" and places is almost overwhelming. One of the most difficult parts of traveling for me is just finally settling on which of the 1,001 (or more!) places I want to visit this time.
It all starts with the dreaming. On the wall of our home is a large world map filled with red pins showing the places we have visited and, more importantly, green pins for the places we want to explore. As we read, watch travel shows on TV, talk to other travelers, the number of green pins keeps rising.
I love browsing through travel brochures and tour pamphlets. Rob and I have taken organized tours, and there are advantages to this method of travel. (More about that in an upcoming post!) When possible, though, we prefer to arrange trips ourselves, and I find that the tour brochures are very helpful for finding places I might not have discovered on my own or for seeing the itineraries that others have set up. Tour companies pick their destinations for a reason, so they give me hints about the highlights of a country or region.
As you can see, coming up with ideas for future travels isn't the big issue. Our list of future travel dreams is probably too long to fit into our lifetime and our budget. The hard part is deciding where to go next!
It helps to consider the time of year you have available to travel. If you have a nice long winter holiday, isn't it convenient that the southern hemisphere is enjoying the summer? It's the perfect time to visit South America, New Zealand, or even Antarctica. Summer in the northern hemisphere is the best time for experiencing the land of the midnight sun, Norway, and her sister Scandinavian lands. Spring and Fall are the best for the Mediterranean countries, East Africa, or Australia where summer heat may sap your energy and enthusiasm.
So...you've picked the season. Now, what kind of experience do you want? Are you looking for a rich cultural experience in a completely unfamiliar environment? A world capitol city filled with great architecture, art museums, and fine dining? A remote location surrounded by natural beauty and miles of hiking trails? Or just a completely relaxing week on a quiet beach?
Truth be told, if you are like me, you want all of these experiences. I don't know of any 'best" way to pick the next trip. Rob and I just start talking and dreaming, and when we come up with a trip where we both say at the same time, "That's the one!" then we know it's the right one.
So start dreaming! Make your "Destinations List," close your eyes and stab your pin at the map. In a world so filled with wonderful places, you can hardly go wrong!