There are so many different ways to travel.
You can go to a beach and relax, jump in the pool, and get a luxurious massage.
You can pack up a backpack and head on over to a destination, hopping around until you can no longer handle being lost and in a state of utter culture shock.
You can hit the road, start hitch hiking and see where life will bring you.
You can go to a party island, get drunk with new strangers, get your wallet stolen, having to beg strangers for some money, and somehow find your way back home.
Personally, I’ve only done the first two. I have gone on vacations to nice resorts, and frankly have been bored out of my mind after several days. There is only so much relaxation you can do, and a few leisurely activities in forms of tours.
I have also backpacked in Brazil for 3 months to mainly learn Portuguese, but after my first month, I felt I lost some motivation and a sense of purpose. I now wished I had combined learning Portuguese with an activity like capoeira.
It’s always good to analyze before you head off on a trip.
The question of motivation.
Why do you want to go on this journey?
What feeling or accomplishment do you want to get out of this journey?
Do you want to volunteer with orphans, animals, or give a hand for disaster relief?
I have known friends that traveled to Japan after the tsunami on March 11, 2011. The organization they went with is Hands.org (All Hands Volunteer). They have continuing projects within the USA and Philippines for disaster relief as of today.
During my trip to Brazil, I met a few men who were there to train on Capoeira and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu daily to master their skills. They integrated into the local gym and made local friends. I envied that they had a sense of purpose, while I was hopping from city to city aimlessly.
Now that you answered the above, the next step is figuring out your destination.
If you want to go learn Japanese, you wouldn’t go to Korea.
If you wanted to learn some Thai massage and Thai cooking, you wouldn’t go to Africa.
So after defining your Why, figure out your Where.
Keep in mind, how developed or under developed the country is.
If more under developed, are you prepared to experience the more culture shock to deal with on a day-to-day basis? Infrastructure will be less efficient, less people may speak English. How much are you willing to immerse yourself into the new culture and language?
What is your daily budget of living in that country going to look like?
Will rent and food be about the same or less?
Also, keep in mind the weather. If you are going to the Southern Hemisphere in South America, New Zealand or Australia, the seasons are opposite of what we are used to in the North. Do you want to go where there is snow, beach, or mountains?
Now, take a moment to figure out the…
This will mainly be your budget. If you have more budget to spend, Europe, Australia, or Japan could be possibilities. If you want to spend less, look into Southeast Asia.
Your expenses will highly depend on whether you use Couch-surfing to save money on accommodation or whether you are staying at 5-star resorts. It will also depend on how often you eat out, where you eat out, and whether you will sometimes be cooking at home.
If you plan to go for a longer period of time in a new country or living abroad, check out my post about Tips for Living Abroad.
And your final question.
After you have carefully planned out your purpose, destination, and budget. All you have to do is go book a flight.
Simple as that.
So tell me.
Where will your next adventure be and for what purpose?
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