Monthly Archives: May 2016

How Often Should I Travel?

I once found myself in London sitting on the floor of a friend’s flat, debating my next move. I had been travelling for a couple months and couldn’t decide whether I wanted to visit Morocco or Istanbul next. I had never been to either and both were well out of my normal comfort zone, a combination of criteria that should have insured a feeling of excitement no matter which route I chose.

Instead, both options felt boring to me. I knew, cultural differences and random unexpected experiences aside, what to expect from my next destination, wherever it was. No matter which location I decided on I would end up in a routine similar to the one I had been on while travelling the past couple of months. No matter how odd the destination I arrived at I knew I’d be able to find my way and do just fine for myself.

I realized I couldn’t choose between the two options because I quite frankly didn’t care to go to either of them. The growth I experienced on this trip seemed to be at a plateau and no amount of culture shock seemed like it would jolt me back onto the fast track of enhanced personal revelation.

Debunking the Myth of Eternally Vagabonding

After a couple months on the road I was tired of travelling and just wanted to go home. Though “going home” presented its own problems as I didn’t have a home to return to. I left with the aim of travelling indefinitely, yet even when I had been back in the States I moved often, leaving one location for another every couple months, sometimes within the same city, sometimes across the country.

Now, sitting in London, totally ungrateful for the opportunities at my fingertips, I wanted a real home. I thought endless traveling would be right for me but I was wrong, and it became clear the notion of vagabonding indefinitely wasn’t right for everyone. In fact, in all my travels I’ve realized the notion of constant, consistent, endless travel isn’t right for just about anyone. For most of us, travel is a special experience and not the way of life we desire for our day-to-day existence.

A Quick Caveat

If most of us weren’t made to travel indefinitely, than how often should we travel, and for how long should we leave home?

The answer to this question will always be intensely personal and depends on individual factors that are both ephemeral (personal disposition, relationships back home) and entirely tangible (money, work, mortgages and leases). For the rest of this article I’m assuming you’re in the fortunate position of being able to travel whenever you want, for as long as you want.

What’s the Point of Travel?

Before you can answer how often you should travel you need to first answer why you want to travel.

Do you get bored when you stay in one place for more than three months at a time? Do you love surfing and do you want to explore the world’s best beaches? Are you intensely interested in food and do you have a laundry list of native cuisines and restaurants you want to munch on? Do you simply want to see more of the world? Or do you simply want to expand your understanding of the world by experiencing as much of it firsthand as you can? Everyone has a different reason to travel, and knowing why you want to explore the world is a good first step towards figuring out how often you should leave home.

In my opinion there’s really only one reason for travel, a single reason that lies at the heart of every specific explanation you can give for your wander lust. People want to travel because they want to grow.

We travel to grow- to grow our ideas of other countries, to grow our ideas of the world, to grow our ideas of what it means to be human, and most of all to grow our conception of who we are and what we want out of life.

Thinking in Cycles

If we travel to grow then it makes a whole lot of sense why indefinite travel tends to lose its appeal over time. After a couple of months of travelling you will hit a peak. You will have learned everything you’re going to learn from the trip you’re on and you will have settled into a new routine, a new set of expectations, a new perspective that will eventually become just as rigid as the one you developed back home.

Humans are adaptable, and while the thought of being able to live out of a single bag in a country where no one speaks your language may seem like the height of adventure before you leave home, after a couple months backpacking in Cambodia you’ll settle in to a life that once seemed an insurmountable challenge.

Once you hit that wall in your travels you’ll return home and find home life to be challenging and foreign and filled with opportunities for growth and appreciation you never noticed before you left on your adventure. And then, after a few months pass you by, you’ll feel locked into a stultifying routine once more and ache to push yourself by hitting the road once more.

The answer to how often you should travel sits within the rhythms of growth and adaptation lying within all of us.

Finding the Right Pattern

While everyone is unique and everyone follows slightly different flows of exploration and consolidation there are a two patterns for alternating between travel and home life that seem to strike a chord within the greatest number of people.

    • 2-3 months at home followed by 4-6 weeks traveling. Spending 2-3 months at home gives you the time you need to focus intensely on work, on home life, on building relationships, on seeing friends and family, and other similarly domestic activities. 2-3 months in one place also tends to be the amount of time it takes until the average traveller starts to feel the itch to explore once more. 4-6 weeks of traveling is a good amount of time to gain a good feel for one or two locations, making this pattern good for people who are happy seeing a small handful of new locations every year.

  • 6-9 months at home followed by 2-3 months of traveling. This pattern lets you focus very deeply on a specific work project or other type of consolidation-oriented task whose completion you then reward with an extended period of perspective shaking overseas travel. Even the most ardent travel nut seems to find it relatively easy to stay in one place for 6-9 months when they have a passion-driven project to focus on. Once you leave home again 2-3 months is enough time travelling to either get very deep in a new culture (it’s an especially good time frame for learning a language) or to visit a couple new countries in one trip.

No matter which pattern you choose, no matter if you make up your own pattern, just know that travel is part of a larger life cycle, so find the right cycle that meets your particular needs for both adventure and security.

10 Tips to Buy the Smartest Travel Insurance Policy

Why invest in travel insurance?

Travel insurance is the backbone of your travel plan as you can not only be at peace but also can ask for compensation in case of any uncertain event occurring during your vacation. There are many benefits of investing in a suitable travel coverage plan. The frequency of uncertainties has increased these days. Terrorist attacks, thefts and robbery are some of the commonly happening events. You never know how bad you will be affected by such uncertain events while you are out in an unknown destination for a vacation. Insurance is a tool that helps you stay protected throughout your trip and offers you good amount of compensation in case of any emergency or an uncertain event. Nowadays, buying suitable travel coverage tops the list of any travel plan. The tourism industry in India is doing a great job by offering attractive travel packages to the residents. Buying a suitable travel insurance plan to match your vacation package has never been so easy before.

Buying travel insurance online

It takes just a few clicks online to search for available travel plans and compare them with their features and coverage details. Comparing available travel coverage plans through online quotes is the smartest way to search for the most suitable ones. As premium is the primary factor to consider, you can calculate the premiums associated with different plans by using the online calculators and invest in the smartest one.

Tips to buy online travel insurance

Here are some effective tips to buy travel insurance policy that suits your requirements:

• Before searching for the travel coverage policy, firstly decide about the place where you would like to spend your vacation at. After you finalize the travel destination, search for reputed travel companies online and ask for the variety of plans that they offer.

• For aged people, it is a must to opt for a plan that covers emergency charges and medical expenses along with ambulance and hospitalization fees.

• If you are a regular traveler, you can easily locate a discounted travel coverage policy.

• Your coverage elements would differ as per the place where you are planning to visit. For an adventure trip that includes activities like sea diving, mountain climbing and rafting, make sure that the policy covers compensation for loss of luggage and personal injury.

• There are different insurance policies for business travelers that usually cover compensation for loss of business related accessories and uncertain expenses.

• Students travel policies would cover uncertain events during their abroad visits for education.

• Family travel policies would offer compensation to your entire family against events like delay in flights, loss of checked baggage and interruptions due to hijack.

• Avail assurance from the insurance company that they would refund the tourism amount in case of cancellation of trip due to uncertain events.

• Be ready with your coverage checklist before applying for any travel coverage plan.

• Some insurance companies also offer pet insurance policies to travelers who want to take along their pets for the trip.

For a safe and peaceful journey, buying a suitable travel insurance policy is a must.

The Joys (and Sorrows) of Travelling Alone

There is no one “right” way to travel, especially when it comes to the number of partners you choose to travel with as you explore the world. Yes, if you travel with others, you should only travel with those whose presence you enjoy. And yes, I’d argue you’ll have a lot more fun by travelling with some close and adventurous friends rather than travelling through a foreign destination with a group of tourists who barely want to leave the hotel. But, assuming you make a few wise choices regarding the company you keep, there are unique benefits hidden within travelling with one person, with three people, or with a dozen people.

Not that you actually need to travel with anyone else. In fact, the intensity of travelling alone often outclasses anything you’ll experience travelling with others- intense in its highs and its lows. Intense in its connections and its loneliness. Intense in its opportunities for building confidence, and intense in its opportunities for dealing with doubt and fear. And it’s this intensity of often-conflicting experience that makes travelling alone for an extended period of time an absolute necessity for each and every one of us.

Travel is About Growth

A quick aside.

Some people may be put off by the ideal of intensity I’ve used to drum up travelling alone. I understand this. An intense experience can be uncomfortable to think about. But in reality, an intense experience is often more uncomfortable to think about than it is to actually live through. But our discomfort surrounding intensity lies at the heart of every growth opportunity we ever encounter. We grow the most when we feel most alive and when we push through vague anxieties to expand our sphere of comfortable action.

In other words you shouldn’t avoid the intense experiences and the discomfort they temporarily produce- you should run towards them. Sometimes travelling is about just enjoying yourself, but at its heart travelling the world is about running towards intensity, embracing discomfort, and expanding the world you inhabit.

So yes, the thought of travelling alone can sometimes feel scary. That’s sort of the point. Don’t use this fear as an excuse to live in a smaller world than you need to.

Others

When you travel alone your experiences will swing wildly back and forth between being deeply social and deeply lonesome. Often the tone of your experiences changes overnight. One night you meet some new friends you spend hours and hours with as you talk, as you explore, as you bare your souls- as you get drunk together and dance together and as you wander foreign streets late at night together, invincible in the moment. The next day they leave and so does the last person you know in your current location and you’re alone again. In that moment you can be active and reach out and meet others, but you’ll feel shocked how often, in that moment, you’d rather spend your time totally alone.

Through expat bars and hostels and alternative tours, travelling provides you with a never-ending opportunity to meet new people. When you travel by yourself you’ll only ever be as alone as you want to be. You’ll be able to meet others without preconceptions, without strings attached, without checking in to see if everything’s cool with your friends and without worry what others will think about the relationships you build and leave behind. When it comes down to it travelling by yourself provides you with social freedom you could never experience back home or travelling with others.

And that includes the freedom to truly be by yourself. The relief of occasionally spending a day on your own when you’re back home does not, and cannot, compare with the depth of the solitude you will experience when you are alone for hours, days, or weeks at a time in cities, countries and cultures far from your everyday experience. These silent, lonely moments will make you feel so many things, they will give you the time to process and to question and to answer, it’s in those moments of total separation from everything and everyone related to home that you can gain the most perspective on your life and make the hard decisions about who you are, what you want, and how you’re going to get there- decisions you just can’t make when you’re grasping on to even the slightest thread of connection to the life you used to know.

Yourself

I hope I don’t sound like I’m bearing down negatively on others. So many of your opportunities for some semblance of enlightenment will come to you in the company of others. We are intensely, and intrinsically, social creatures. As E.E. Cummings said, “We are for each other,” and every nugget of insight you learn as you travel by yourself exists for the sole purpose of helping you better serve the world and the others who live in it. I’m merely suggesting there are benefits and insights out there in the wild you can only gain when you disconnect completely in the way you only can when you vacate normal life and search for something else on your own.

If you need any greater indication that humans are truly social in nature consider the powerful feelings of doubt and fear you’ll feel when you cut yourself off from others. Even thinking about travelling alone you’re probably thinking that it isn’t something you could ever do. When you leave home on your own you will feel incredibly scared of what you’ll find way out there and whether you’ll be able to handle it. Travelling alone you will repeatedly question pretty much everything about yourself and whether you can even survive, in a basic mental and emotional sense, without continuous close contact with others.

And moving through these cycles of fear and doubt you will learn something- that you can handle it. You cannot only survive but you can thrive. You learn how tough you really are, how little you really need, and with that knowledge of your own inherent indestructibility and with that understanding that life can be great even if you lose everything, you will gain the confidence and courage to actually act on the dangerous insights you accumulate while you travel. Travelling alone not only lets you see what difficult choices you need to make when you return back home, travelling alone lets you know you’re strong enough to risk it all and act on them. Travelling alone makes you both a wiser and a stronger person in a way travelling with others never, ever could.

Yes, travelling alone is more difficult than travelling with others, but at times, especially during those times when you don’t know what to do with yourself or your life, travelling alone becomes absolutely necessary.

Why You Should Travel Young

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

-Henry Miller

Traveling is simply a brutality of humanity, it is when we travel that we see things for what they truly are and not how we imagined them to be. Traveling also lets our imagination run wild without expectations, it lets us see things from a new perspective, without the alleged prejudice of the world. And while all of this seems to be an adequate reason to travel, many are still naïve to the idea of traveling.

But just as many are left in the dark to wonder and wander, some are out there exploring and enjoying what the world has to offer them, for it is in that brief moment of youth that we can truly experience life, as we know it.

Now the question of many remains, “Why Should I Travel Young”? Personally, I can give you a hundred, even a thousand reasons why you should travel when you’re young but if you’re desire to see the world begins and ends with your “Wish to See the World” then I’m afraid no amount of reasoning would suffice to convince you to go after what you want.

You see, traveling as much as it is a form of recreation is also a commitment, a vocation for some, but ultimately, it is a responsibility. A responsibility you should be willing to take onto yourself. Many people say that the young are lucky to have the health and the wealth to see the world but what they do not realize is that the young are often distracted, deceived and sometimes, deluded.

So if you’re one of the young’uns who wish to unearth the world’s greatest places and learn life’s most valuable lessons, but are afraid to make it happen, read along, maybe I can convince you to travel while you still have the gift of youth.

  1. Traveling teaches you a sense of adventure- Don’t quote me on this one but based on my experience, traveling allows you to have as much as fun as you want without having to worry of what other people will say about you. You don’t have your peers or parents to warn you and judge you, so you can be young, wild and free. Life is an adventure and traveling lets you experience that.
  2. Traveling teaches you to be compassionate- Other than the photos, the souvenir and the life-long memory that traveling gives you, it also edifies you of the real situation and teaches you to care for other people, sometimes not of your own kind.
  3. Traveling allows you to be culturally diverse- If you think traveling is all about sight-seeing and marveling at the wonders each country has, then you’re right. But there’s also something more important that traveling teaches us, it allows us to be culturally diverse. Whenever we travel, it is important that we follow the local practices of the country/destination we are going to. As the old saying goes, “Respect begets Respect” If we learn to respect and even appreciate the culture of other nationalities then we become more aware of our own. That’s the mutual benefit we get from traveling.
  4. Traveling makes you more attractive as a person- they say that the most attractive people in the world are those that have seen it. Do you agree? I do. It is because of the invaluable and immeasurable life experiences we have with our travels that make us a better person, and when you feel you’re better, you become more attractive.
  5. When you travel young, you travel more- let’s face it, we’re all bound to grow old and lose our health. But while we’re young and at the peak of everything, it’s best to take advantage of it and start traveling, after all, you’re only allowed until your 30s to hike a mountain or ride the rapids of the river.
  6. Traveling makes it easy to make friends- if back at your hometown you tend to cling to the same group of people bound by a circle of friendship, then maybe you should travel more often. Traveling has been proven as one of the best ways to gain friends and build bonds, after all, you are all strangers to one another at one point but because of your common interest to see the world, you are bound by it as well. And get this; wouldn’t it be nice to have friends in all parts of the world? That would be way cool, way cooler than your friends back home.
  7. Traveling makes you a better storyteller- You might not get this now but when you have kids or grandchildren, you will. Those who travel young have more opportunities to experience everything there is to traveling. With the many countries that you’ve visited and you’ll be traveling to is a story waiting to be told. Traveling gives you things to share over breakfast, lunch or dinner. When you travel, you will never have a hard time thinking of a topic to talk about; not to mention you’ll keep everyone with your story.

Now if for some strange reason, after citing all these reasons why you should travel young and you’re still not convinced; it’s pretty obvious that you have a fear inside you that you’re just trying to hide so everyone won’t think you’re a coward who can’t face it. Is it fear of heights? Fear of the unknown? Fear of being independent? Whatever it is, know that traveling, especially alone, will help you address that fear. You just have to take the big leap of faith and make the first step to make your traveling dreams a reality. You only live once; and you’re only young for a short period of time, if you don’t travel now, when?

Julius Mariano (aka Jules Mariano) is a freelance web article writer and social media marketer. He also provides SEO services and reputation management work.