It is hard to create the perfect trip. We spend hours planning and researching. Then we spend months earning money to pay for it. More time packing, preparing, and getting to and fro. So after all this we want the best possible trip, right?
But what makes up a great trip? A trip that fulfills every part of us?
It can be harder than we think. I know for myself I always dream about sitting on a beach for days on end. It sounds so nice. But in actuality I get bored after a few days and need to get out of the sun. So after doing this over and over I have realized I need to find a better balance.
Vacations we think sound great in theory may in reality not be as fulfilling as we hoped.
Good news! There is a recipe that can ensure that your adventure is as satisfying as you want it to be. And it is all about knowing the right ingredients and choosing how you want to assemble them. Once I started to look at my travels with these specific ingredients in mind, it changed everything about how I traveled. I started to fulfill my entire being, not just the part of me that wanted to relax.
(This is adapted from an exercise from my health coach training, known as the Circle of Life- which changed the way I see living a healthy lifestyle- hint: it’s more than diet and exercise.)
These are all important aspects to live a fulfilled life and are needed to keep in mind when composing the perfect getaway.
First Step: Identify what you are looking for in your life and which of these ingredients you are lacking. Go through each one and mark your satisfaction level on a scale of 1-10. Know where you are for each aspect of life so you can properly choose where to go next. There are different ways you can utilize these important aspects of life for travel, just like how there are different recipes you can cook with using the same ingredients. There are three recipes you can use to make your next trip the best trip yet.
Second Step: Choose which recipe fits your needs.
- Recipe 1: Focus on 1 or 2. Create a vacation that quenches a part of your life that you feel is missing when you are at home. Feel like your education is stagnant? Go on a vacation where you learn a new language, culture, and/or sport. Lacking creativity in your life? Check out a culinary course in a cuisine you love or learn a local craft that is specific to an area you are interested in. Missing joy? Find a trip where you can learn to dance or sing- both great ways to raise joy. Feeling down? Book a trip that incorporates volunteering. Helping others is the best way to help yourself. Best for vacation travel.
- Recipe 2: Get a little bit of everything. If overall balance is what you are needing in your next trip, make sure you plan a trip that has elements of each ingredient. This may seem like a lot, but even just touching on each aspect can be fulfilling if balance is what you are looking for. Best for long term travelers.
- Recipe 3: Adapt your travels in the moment. I know I often get restless while on the road and need to reevaluate what to do next to get the most out of the trip. Check in with yourself and travel partners. Look at each of these ingredients and figure out what is missing and what sounds good to you in that moment. Adapt your travels to your needs. Best for any type of travel.
Bonus: When we follow these recipes and consciously look to add in these elements we also impart a sense of purpose, which can be lacking while traveling.
Third Step: Plan your next adventure! Address your needs by incorporating the specific activities that will fulfill your deep needs.
By following these recipes you get to explore different parts of yourself while out in the world. This will bring you to new and exciting places and offer you new and exciting experiences, ones that you might not have thought to experience or thought you would even enjoy.
I know for myself this has been true.
Looking back my most memorable experiences traveling were when one of these elements were being satisfied (either consciously or not). Here are some of my favorite examples. Perhaps they will inspire you in your next travels.
Check it out:
- Exercise (and lack of time): I experienced beautiful, new places like running to Mount Cook in New Zealand. I had been driving for too long and wanted to check out New Zealand’s highest peak, but had to get back to Christchurch before dark. So, I ran. I am not the biggest runner, but it was a perfect rolling trail and running it became half the fun of it! It was a gorgeous track and I felt so energized for the rest of the drive.
- Creativity: I dressed up for a steampunk festival in Omaru, New Zealand. Steampunk is a sub-genre and style of science fiction that is entirely based on creating and being creative. Exploring this festival and the steampunk museum was fun, inspiring, quite interesting, and definitely gave a spark to my own creativity!
- Relationships: I spent quality time for the first time with my brother exploring a glacier in Patagonia. As a graduation gift after high school my parents gave me a trip to visit my brother who was studying abroad in Buenos Aires. While on the Jet flying over Central America, I suddenly got super nervous. It struck me that I had never spent time alone with my brother before (except when he was babysitting me when I was a kid, which definitely does not count as quality time). It turned out great and my brother is now one of my best friends.
- Social Life: I took a training for teaching a yoga-based program to teenagers with people from all over the world in the Dominican Republic. Being silly, playing games, meditating, eating, and learning with people can really create solid connections. Meeting kindred spirits is pretty special too.
- Home Cooking: I went to a little hut in a tiny village with an eleven dish home cooked meal (bonus- a new friend goat) in Southern India. I must have gained 15lbs in Tamil Nadu! Hands down the best food I have had in my life. And the most generous people! They give you so much food they literally roll out a grass-mat post meal for you to take a nap because you are so full.
- Home Environment: I brought a very old camper out into the desert. Having some comfort in environments that aren’t comfortable is huge. Being in the middle of the Black Rock Desert with dust storms, heat, cold, and lots of electronica sometimes you just want to have a nice relatively dust-free zone to chill in.
- Joy: I learned how to ride a penny farthing from a professional. I didn’t even know how much glee I would get from learning to ride this contraption, but I had the best time! It was scary, silly, and challenging all at once! And the guy who taught me was the only person ever to have ridden a penny farthing the entire length of New Zealand (and in old-timey clothing to boot)! Ahh, joy comes back just thinking about this experience.
- Spirituality: I attended a 9 day festival in an ashram in India where I experienced the expansiveness of god. Need I say more? The festival of Navaratri celebrates the divine feminine and is observed through long mediations, chanting, celebrating, fasting, and dancing.
- Health: I searched out the right place to get stitches after a surfboard to the face in Mexico. As the first place we went for medical help did not look or feel right, we were able to calmly do more research and found a great clinic that stitched me up right away in a safe and comforting environment (and it was cheap!).
- Education: I studied Spanish and read historical books while traveling in Nicaragua. Through learning more of the language and about history, different perspectives, and culture of the land I was traveling in really made a big difference as it allow me to connect to the travel experience on a deeper level. I also am not sure I would have liked Nicaragua as much as I did if I didn’t do this.
- Finances: I bought cheese, peanut butter, apricot jam and bread for a cheap, but entirely enjoyable picnic lunch in the Himalayas. Sometimes you just have go cheap so you can afford more adventures and sometimes those cheapies are the most enjoyable adventures.
Who knows how addressing each fulfilling aspect of life while traveling will branch out your travel experience.
It may just give you a vacation that is truly transformational.
Which of these important aspects of life have you experienced intentionally or unintentionally while on your travels? How was it? Please share your stories! Inspire us all!!!
Other blogs that might interest you…
- The Number One Thing That Prevents Healthy Habits While Traveling
- Balance Your Vata While Traveling (what is vata? Click to find out!)
- Healthy Travel Items to Pack