Here are some thoughts inspired by LN part 2.
I'm done with series of short trips
When I stay somewhere for a long time, like Panama for two months, I adapt to life there, create a routine, and get stuff done. When I skip from city to city every few days, I get much less done. I've become good at working in any situation, but when I have only three days to explore Fez, you can bet that none of those days are going to be spent indoors behind a computer screen.
On the other hand, with two weeks in Panama I can spend plenty of time working and still have the odd day here and there to explore.
Long trips on cruise ships are a great compromise. They give you a nice stable place to work from as well as many hours where you're at sea and can't be out exploring. I'll be actively looking for more cruises in the future.
I had a great time doing short stints, but it isn't a sustainable mix of productivity and adventure.
Traveling alone is fun
I had never traveled alone before, and had no idea what to expect. Would I get bored? Lonely? Homesick?
As it turned out, traveling alone is a lot of fun. It makes it a bit easier to make friends and a lot easier to schedule things.
On the other hand, it's definitely more expensive (mostly because of renting hotels and apartments). It's also a lot more work having to do all of the planning and negotiations by yourself.
After Todd left I ended up traveling solo for half the time and meeting friends along the way for some segments of the trip. This was an excellent compromise between the two extremes.
I really need to stick to my plan of 3 month long trips
After traveling for too long, especially in short stints, my appreciation for things declined. Amazing experiences like sitting at a hundred year old cafe on the edge of the Strait of Gibraltar start losing their significance.
I have a lot of great friends and family, and not seeing them for 6+ months is a bit much as well.
I meant to do three month trips this year, but I'm particularly susceptible to the impulse of extending the trip because I'm already so close to some new amazing place. "I'm in DR, I may as well visit Haiti, too". That may be true, of course, but it makes it hard to allocate my time properly.
French isn't as useless as I thought
I made fun of Todd last year because he learned French in school, which I viewed as a waste of time. Then this year I found myself in Haiti, Morocco, and Montreal, all places where my pitiful French was sorely lacking. I have renewed interest in getting better at French.
Train and boat travel are way better than air travel
As TSA agents get more and more invasive and annoying, train and ship travel become even more appealing. I used to absolutely love air travel, but the security experience is so condescending and inconsistent that I find myself annoyed every time I deal with it.
Traveling by ship, which really makes the journey a delight, is my absolute favorite method. Train is a very close second. Sure, it's slower than flying, but you get some (or all) of that time back once you consider that you usually travel from city center to city center, instead of outskirts to outskirts, and that you can arrive at a train station five minutes before the train leaves.
I'm thinking about doing an around the world trip without planes.
That's about it...
I have a few ideas for what I'll be doing next, but I haven't made any final decisions yet. More on this coming soon...
I recently read a great book about traveling around the world without planes: Back in 6 Years by Tony Robinson-Smith (yeah, the title's not so great -- but don't be fooled, he's a talented writer) See link below
My own favorite way of traveling is definitely motorcycle. My girl and I are doing another motorbike trip round Asia next year starting December 1st from Saigon. Look us up if you're over that way. Bikes are cheap and plentiful :)
I travelled solo for a month in China - this got very boring and lonely at times, especially as I don't speak Mandarin. Though it taught me to appreciate the ease of communication I have in UK.
My friend did a journey by train from Glasgow (Scotland) all the way to Beijing by train. Getting visas is a pain in the neck as you have to be "invited" to Russia (you pay someone a small amount to do that) but it sounded worth it! Maybe an idea for you?
The trip looked like this:
Glasgow - London (sleeper)
London to Brussels (Eurostar)
Brussels - Belarus
Belarus - Moscow
Moscow - China (trans-siberian express)
As our stack of plane tickets gets thinner and our passports get more and more inked up, we've started thinking about what we're going to do next year.
A repeat? Take some time off? Some combination?
This sort of travel is self perpetuating. If I had ten places I really wanted to visit before leaving on this trip, I now have twenty. Most people we meet are travelers, and they all have crushes on cities that then get transferred to us.
Travel is a lifestyle, not a luxury. Nothing has accelerated my personal growth and expanded my horizons more than traveling around the world. With that being said, I spend a ton of time on planes–and with each trip, I find things that I simply can’t live without. No matter how near or far the destination, a girl’s must-haves are non-negotiable. Check out what’s on my must-have list, and maybe some of my faves can become your faves too.
The O.G. by Lo & Sons
Ever since I received this this bag for my birthday, my whole travel world has been changed. I don’t even remember my life in travel before the O.G. came along; actually I do…it sucked! This bag is super lightweight and has pockets and compartments for everything including your computer and iPad, phone, passport, keys and snacks. As if all of that weren’t enough, it has a side pocket for your favorite pair of heels…score! Now if I could only get my hands on a red one!
Canon Powershot SD880 IS