Sometimes a preference can morph from being your best assessment of a particular situation into a fixture of who you are. When that happens, you're in a bad position to reevaluate and make a better decision, because your ego gets caught up in that decision. That happened to me when I decided that I preferred multi-month trips to shorter ones.
When I started traveling, my intention was to come back to the US as infrequently as possible. I hadn't done very extensive traveling, so my plan was meant to combat that. I'd stay in places for long periods of time, generally months, and really get to know them deeply.
This worked really well for me. I haven't been back in a few years, but Panama felt like a real home base. Tokyo did, too, and it still does today.
Now I travel much more frenetically. I'm sitting in Paris working on a blog post, but by tonight I'll be in Jordan. My last meal was in Brooklyn, New York. Over the next week I'll also travel to Cairo, Amsterdam, and Hong Kong.
I switched to this style of travel by accident. With such a strong focus on Sett, I felt as though trips had to be short. And then, as work on Sett wound down, crazy flight deals starting popping up. Going on long trips meant not being able to take advantage of other deals that would come up, so I was hesitant to do them.
At the same time, I realized that if I traveled by myself for long periods of time I would do nothing but work, but if my trip was short enough, I'd feel the time pressure and actually go do things. When I traveled with friends, few wanted to go somewhere for months on end.
At first I thought this new style of travel was a compromise. I had done it in the past and found it too stressful. Surprisingly, though, I began to adapt to it.
The biggest thing that changed was that I had become an expert traveler. At this point I've seen just about every situation that can come up, and I know how to handle it. I know my way around 20 or so major international cities, so I don't have to find a place to stay and a good restaurant. I just go to my old favorites. I've learned 10 different languages to levels of proficiency that, at a minimum, allow me to navigate and interact with people.
All this means that there's zero stress associated with going just about anywhere. I'm so poorly prepared for Jordan that I thought the city I was flying into was Ammam (not Amman), until about an hour ago. But I also know that within an hour or two of arriving I'll be settled and ready to work or explore the city.
Between cheap flights and earning tons of miles, I'm also pretty confident that I'll go multiple times to any city that I like. I was in Paris a month ago, and now I'm back. I'll be in Hong Kong next week, and I was there about two months ago as well. So I can develop friendships over multiple visits, and don't feel like I absolutely need to see and do everything. Sometimes it's nice to have something waiting for next time.
We're all creatures of habit, and are likely to keep doing what we've previously done. That can be a good or bad, and is more likely to be good if we examine why we repeat the past and make sure that it's still for the right reasons.
And, more specifically, there are about a billion different ways to travel, and what's best for one person at one time may not be best for another person at any particular time. As long as you focus on the right things like culture and people, you can't really go wrong.
Photo is some fish in a market in Petropavlovsk, where I was for one day.
Today we went floating/swimming in the dead sea. Wow! I can't believe how dense the water is there. Not the best weather for it, but we went at sundown and it was beautiful. Could see Palestine on the other side.
so you haven't been back to the USA for years and yet you've somehow got a house and island there? somewhere here is bullshit.
Tynan, do you really enjoy travel? Do you enjoy being in airports, riding in buses, etc? I find that I do, and that I write a bit better when I'm in transit. Are you productive while moving?
How do you find all of these flight deals? Do you just search a lot? Or is there some kind of alert service for daily flight deals and you just take advantage of whatever is the cheapest? I would love to see some sort of how-to that explains how to travel as much as you do on such a small budget and how to rack up so many miles/points (because that system always seems so confusing to me).
I agree that you can trap yourself in a certain mode that then means you're cutting yourself off from opportunities. Family as well as work commitments can be a reason many can't do long trips.
I like doing short trips out of season which is great for budget and there are less tourist hordes. Amsterdam in December and Berlin in August were both brilliant.
Really agree with the return visit idea. You're there just to soak up stuff and not on the tourist check-list regime. I've been to Paris loads of times and just enjoy the place without a must do list. Paris is not cheap though self-catering on the fringes is a good plan, much better for seeing real life.
Enjoy the trip.
Thanks for answering my question in this post! I haven't done much traveling, and am about to embark on a ~9 month trip pretty soon. I think it will work well for me, because it'll force me to become an "expert traveler". Maybe having a long-term trip under your belt is a step towards being able to then apply the lessons and mindsets learned efficiently during shorter travel.
As anyone who follows my tweets knows, I'm going to be doing the JetBlue All-You-Can-Jet promotion. Because I'm flexible, I saved $200 and bought the five day pass for $500, which means that I can't fly on Friday or Sunday. The pass entitles me to fly from September 7th until October 6th for free on all JetBlue flights. This includes all taxes in the US, but not outside the US. I've been thinking about the best way to use this pass, and I'm going to share my strategy with you, in case you bought one as well.
There aren't all that many places in the US I want to go. Within a month or two of the promotion I will have been to NY, Boston, Austin and LA, which covers most of my bases. So I'm mostly seeing this as a ticket to get HUGE discounts on international travel for a month.
Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog! As this is one of my first posts here I'd like to introduce myself and explain why I've called this blog No Status Quo.
My name is Emil and I'm a 21-year old student from Latvia. I've spent the last three years of my life studying in the United States and the Netherlands. I'm studying economics, psychology and mathematics. A strange combination, I know. I'm currently in my last semester, and I'm really looking forward to graduation.
Why? Well, I have some great plans after finishing college. But first let me start by explaining what I don't want to be doing after I graduate.
I no longer want to study at a university because all the world's knowledge is freely available on the Internet. If the world's greatest universities offer their lectures for free, why would I waste my time and money studying at an average institution? Sure, I might not get any credentials for what I learn online, but I want to live a life in which I'm rewarded for knowledge and hard work, not formal credentials.