Part 5 in our 5-part Summer Travel Series
This is Article 5 of our five-part Summer Travel Series. Here are the other articles:
If you’ve traveled with us this far, you will have come all the way from smart packing to enhancing your relationships to planning well. What’s there left to do?
Well, just GO!
You’ve done your prep, you’re ready to jump into the experience. I do not need to tell you how to be where you are except...simply don’t miss it! In this brilliantly connected yet horrifically distracted era, it can be very easy to miss the moment, to miss the experience of WHERE YOU ARE.
You’ve waited, you’ve planned, you’ve paid your money. You’ve arranged for time away from work and sometimes even have to pay on that end too (if you don’t have paid leave). So what can you do to make sure you really get your money out of the deal?
Be where you are!
This is a basic principle of life, of course. The present is just that – a gift – whenever it happens. But when you travel, it’s sometimes easy to let the creep of worry invade your thinking. Or easy to let distractions – especially those handheld devices we rely on so – to take us away from the moment.
Be where you are! Even the tough parts and moments. Enjoy it all. This is your experience.
How will you capture it and make the memories last?
Much of this depends on what generation you are and what your relationship with technology is.
If you’re quick to post your experiences to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, whatever, you can probably keep that up (within reason). Don’t let the drive to do that overwhelm you, though. Again, just BE.
Journaling and keeping notes on your experiences each day, whatever form works best for you, is an excellent way to preserve the memories. Doing it in real time means those experiences and memories are fresh. Wait too long and the details fade. Develop the practice of doing this every day as you travel, and you’ll have a whole heap of memories stored by the time you return.
Keeping videos of your experiences – whether posting them or not – allows everything to come alive. Just remember if you post, that takes up mighty bandwidth in your (likely limited) data plan when you're traveling abroad. So try to rely on wifi-enabled locations to do the heavy lifting like that. This includes Facebook Lives and IGTV. (Stories in both apps are usually not too hard on the bandwidth.)
Get the advantage!
Wrapping up an overseas trip well can be a worthwhile experience you won’t regret later. For one, so few people do it. They get home, struggle with jet lag and tend to jump back into “regular life” without even skipping a beat. After all, their days off are limited, so it’s understandable.
But, if you – within one week out from return – choose to take the time to reflect, you win in the long run, especially if you choose to travel abroad again sometime soon, or to the same location. Just setting aside an hour to do this – either as a discussion with as many in your traveling group as possible, or by yourself through journaling / writing – you will be amazed by how much you can learn about yourself and the experience. And how much you can gain long term.
This is more than simply sorting through pictures (another worthwhile activity, by the way!). This is stepping back and reflecting, for the purpose of growth.
If you do this, here are 5 questions you could cover:
- What went well, and why?
- What didn’t go well, and why?
- What could I / we have done differently / better?
- What are the top three memories I want to take away with me from this experience?
- How can I use what I learned from this trip for success on future trips?
You could also explore some more personal questions:
- How did this trip contribute to my understanding of self, identity, country, world?
- What did I learn about myself (good and bad)?
- How did I change from this experience?
Enjoy your summer travels abroad! Get the most out of them. Suck up the marrow, so to speak. Take joy in the opportunity you have, and express that joy as much as you can. Let it overflow and be
Traveling abroad is fun and mind-expanding. You have just grown as a human, and that can’t be anything but good.
Have any "tricks of the trade" you'd like to share when it comes to overseas travel?