It has been said that the journey is more important than the destination. A destination can be spectacular, but in a way the arrival is anti-climactic – something that often doesn’t occur to us until the time comes. The building of anticipation can be an important factor in the experience of travel – a journey in and of itself, and one of the elements that make travel so rewarding. I am often asked if I ever get tired of traveling so much – and my answer is a resounding “no” because I never tire of the exploration factor. That said, however, when you travel frequently some of that anticipatory energy gets lost in the whirlwind of planning and taking off, without as much time to contemplate the thrilling journey ahead. Sometimes I feel as though I’ve been dumped into the destination stage without building up to that climax when my travels are back-to-back.
It can be tough, though, waiting when you are anxious to get going. The two best ways to deal with this are through savoring the experience of planning and preparation, and through finding distractions to pass the rest of the time. Through researching more about the places you are going, you will not only fuel the fire of that anticipation, you will have a more rewarding experience once you arrive, because you will have a better understanding of the place’s culture… whether that means sampling different types of sushi at a local restaurant to find your favorites before your trip to Japan, researching Mayan culture before you visit the Ziggurats of the Ancient Mayans in Mexico, learning about the life of the black bear before your trip to Smoky Mountains National Park, or, as I did a couple of weeks ago before my road trip through Michigan with a local, watching some videos and tutorials about the local accent and lingo! (Thanks to that, I arrived informed, realizing a “party store” is a “convenience store,” the “U.P.” means “Upper Peninsula,” and a “refrigerator” is a “frigerator.” [Added bonus: it’s fun to get “fluent” in regional dialects from your home country!])
Distractions can include packing ahead (a good idea anyway because it helps keep you from forgetting things when you add to your suitcase piecemeal over the course of a few days as you think of them), working more (more money for travel = good thing!), cleaning out your car before a road trip so the journey will be more comfortable for you, cleaning your house so you have a pleasant environment to look forward to when you return, or, my personal favorite, becoming a “tourist” in your home town by revisiting the local sites, taking in a concert, or sampling a local craft brew you hadn’t yet tried.
It’s inevitable – the day will come when you embark on your trip. And once you reach that point, the time building up to it will be gone for good. Make it count! Consider it part of the journey, part of your experience, and allow yourself to take the time to allow the anticipation and excitement to build in you and embrace that delectable feeling – one of the greatest pleasures in life!
I’ll be back next week with a continuation of my Norwegian Breakaway Baltic Sea cruise – I thank those who came seeking the next installment for your patience while I am posting “from the road” (still exploring Michigan) with limited time. And if you are interested in my off-the-beaten-path Michigan road trip with a native “Michigander” that will be coming up too so follow my blog!