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So I am starting today a new tag for my philosophical travel musings that really don’t fit into any other category called “My Best Advice.” It’s just that – what I have learned as a traveler and the mindsets that I’ve found to be powerful. I love hearing travel advice from others, so maybe mine will be welcomed, too.
Way back, when I was a lowly art student going to college in Chicago, I’d occasionally get invites from friends to visit their homes in other places. And every time I could, I said yes.
“Would you wanna come to middle-of-nowhere Indiana?”
“I’m going home to Iowa for a few days, wanna join?”
“Ever been to St. Louis? We could take the train?”
“Milwaukee for the day?”
I have nothing against Indiana, Iowa, St. Louis, or Milwaukee, but they weren’t exactly on my bucket list. But who cares? I got to see new parts of this huge country, meet new people, and see how other people lived, if only for a few days. And, in my opinion, travel is always worth it. In fact, I think it is the only thing worth going into debt for (please don’t, but suffice it to say I value it that highly).
There are many elements at play here:
- You never know who you might meet
- The place might end up being a gem
- You might have a lot of fun, which would be terrible
- Travel is something that builds you up as a person
- It might change your outlook on life
When someone mentions Indiana, I like having a basis for that. I like knowing what Milwaukee is like. I’m glad that I went to those places.
Nowadays, I have the wonderful task of cherry-picking where I want to go next. Unless it’s a mistake or attack fare, in which case, I will most likely snap it up. It’s how I’m getting to Ireland in a few months, it’s how I went to Alaska for the first time, and to Munich for Oktoberfest. Oh, and add Iceland to the list, too!
It still happens from time to time though, that I get a random invite. These days, it’s usually for a wedding. I made it out to Westbrook, Connecticut this past summer, and I’m heading to rural Ontario, Canada in early June on the basis of a random invite. And each time something like this happens, if I can feasibly do it, I make the room in my life, and I go go go.
Don’t place barriers or limitations on what you think you want to experience. I had a lovely time at the Milwaukee Art Museum. I was blown away that some of my favorite artists were represented there.
I had a great time in St. Louis for their version of Mardi Gras, where I stayed in a huge loft with a dozen friends for a weekend. I will never forget it.
And the kindness of the people in Iowa touched me in a way that I won’t soon forget. It was lovely and charming, being there with those people. Same goes for Kansas. And Oklahoma.
So now I don’t place value judgments on places. I vibrate a lot on travel – it’s what I focus on and think about every day. So, I am not surprised when the universe sends me a new place to visit. And I say yes as much as possible to keep the channel open.
Go go go is my best advice. The only way to start getting out into the world is to open your door every day. And some of my fondest travel memories are the ones I didn’t even plan – I just showed up.
I’m not in college any more, and my focus has shifted far beyond the Midwest, but I had to start somewhere. Now I see the entire world as a possibility.
Have you had an awesome experience in a place you never though you’d visit? I love hearing spontaneous travel stories – they inspire me.
Stay scrappy, you guys!
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