The German language has a remarkable word, Fernweh. It translates to “a crave for travel; being homesick for a place you’ve never been.” Anyone who identifies with having wanderlust -- the incurable desire to travel -- may also feel this compulsion to simply be somewhere else.
I am one of those individuals, with a pack on my back and passport in hand.
Life is short and our world is both immense and incredible. Leave the comfortable radius of home and you’ll be rewarded with new experiences and endless possibilities. Take for example, that some of my favorite people were born on completely different continents. It took one of us going the distance for the opportunity to even cross paths.
Who knows? Your greatest story may only be one adventure away.
7 Steps to Adventure
Is wanderlust calling? Will you answer? Not sure where to start? Follow these tried-and-true tips.
Follow your heart. Identify where you would rather be. Has a particular destination called to you through movies or music? Where is the place you’ve always said you’d like to visit “someday”? That day is right around the corner -- make it so.
Dive in. Brim with excitement as you research your destination. Check out books, online resources, join social media travel groups and talk with friends and family. Determine the best time of year to visit, and if applicable, see if there is a work or study program you can participate in, if that is of interest for you.
Find a companion. If you aren’t into the idea of solo travel, find friends or family to share the adventure with you. Together you can plan, save up, dream and be excited as the countdown to travel begins. Booking group tours is a useful medium if you aren’t sure where to start, and would prefer the convenience of pre-planned excursions.
Money matters. Estimate airfare, hotel, attraction tickets, meals, beverages, and spending cash (don’t forget to account for the exchange rate). Overestimating is a great tool, and once you have a ballpark figure, you can begin saving. If your trip is one year away, decide how much you need to put aside each month. There is nothing like coming back from a vacation debt-free and it’s even better with cash leftover. Perhaps it can go into your travel fund for your next adventure?
Equip yourself. Ensure that you have all you need to get to your destination. Factor in processes, costs and waiting period for passports and visas. Get a good suitcase or travel backpack, cross-shoulder bag, electric adapters, and travel-sized toiletries. It is my preference to pack light, and if you forget anything, there is always the option to shop on the economy and enjoy the experience. Learning basic phrases and words will also help you feel confident and empowered.
Step out of your comfort zone. It is a good idea to have a basic outline for sights you’d like to see, but don’t plan everything down to the minute. Leave yourself room for spontaneity like browsing a new shop, sleeping in, or meeting new friends. Try new foods, be adventurous, and take in all that you can. Be open to new experiences.
Repeat. If this new “addiction” kicks in and you find yourself forever changed, then congratulations! Prioritize travel and save up, make new plans, find exciting destinations, and talk to others who will adventure with you. Keep your eye on the prize and forego small daily expenditures, so you can save for your next trip -- you are well on your way.
The World is Your Oyster
I hope that you find value in spending your time and money on new places, with new people and through new experiences. Travel is one of the most eye-opening and enriching activities available to us. As it has been said, “I’d rather have a passport full of stamps, than a house full of stuff.” Go out, explore, and happy travels!