Most of us have dreams of travel but how many have actual travel goals. What I mean by travel goals are thing you really plan to do, something to aspire to. There are a lot of lists out there of things you should have as your travel goals. But they are YOUR travel goals, so shouldn’t they be about you? For example, I read a list that included an epic train trip, but I am not a “the journey is the trip” person. I want to get to my destination and be there. Other travelers might relish in a vintage train trip and then it should be on their travel goals list. So, what is this post about? I am going to talk about mine and my co-travel consultant’s travel goals and maybe they will inspire you. The following will include the questions I asked and our answers.
Q: What do you believe every traveler should do at least once?
A: Immerse with the locals. This is the “when in Rome” concept. Ask your cab driver, the hotel staff, any local really where they would go or what they would do. Want to know what kind of tacos real Mexicans eat? Just ask. Most people are more than willing to give you ideas of where to go and what to order. What an excellent espresso? Find the café with the longest line of Italians; they are bound to have what you are looking for. (Just a tip for coffee in Italy: do not drink cappuccinos after 11am, it is a breakfast drink.) Where is a nice beach without the hordes of tourists and people hawking goods? Ask your cab driver or hotel staff, they will send you in the right direction. While in Phuket, Thailand we got tired of all the people and every five minutes someone trying to sell us something while trying to relax on the beach, so we asked our cab driver where he goes. He took us to a fabulous beach, barely anyone there and it even had a beach bar on the sand. So if you want to actually experience the destination you traveled so far to get to, ask the locals.
A:Go on your own pilgrimage. This does not have to be a religious trip, but whatever you’re passionate about. For example, I am what they call a “history nerd”; I majored in history at university and have been passionate about it since I was young. So my “pilgrimage” was to Rome. Seeing the Colosseum was practically a religious experience for me. If you are into French cooking you should take your pilgrimage to Paris and take a cooking class, they offer so many options there! If your passion is Harry Potter, go to London, see where it was based, they even have tours geared particularly for Harry Potter fans. It could be a homecoming pilgrimage as well, traveling back to where your family is from. If your ancestry is Irish go to Ireland, if it’s German go to Germany, and so forth. And of course there are the religious pilgrimages where you can follow an actual pilgrimage route or just go to a destination that is the center of the religion of your choice. So, go where your heart takes you. Nothing beats seeing your passion unfold in front of your eyes.
Q: What is a travel goal of yours? Something you have not done but is high on your list?
A: South African Safari or Monaco (James Bond Style). Safaris are fantastic trips, for couples or families, and they appear on most people’s bucket lists. South Africa is friendly, easily navigable, and quiet affordable. Monaco is an uber fancy microstate bordering France and the Mediterranean Sea. It has popular casinos and hosts the prestigious Grand Prix motor race. It is a great destination to get all dressed up and take on the town. I suggest visiting Monaco within a larger French or Mediterranean itinerary.
A: Camel Trek in Morocco or the Christmas markets across central Europe. Morocco camel treks start and end in most major towns; you ride the camels, visit exotic locations, and camp under the Sahara stars in Berber style tents and sleep on carpets. These treks can be 1 day up to two weeks and may not be the most comfortable way of transportation for everyone. The Christmas markets can be found from the beginning of December through New Year’s in a lot of cities and towns in Europe. They vary from location to location, some have light displays, some of mini plays or live displays, most have mulled wine and hot chocolate, and of course lots of Christmas shops. My choices would be Munich, Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.
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