Getting Inspired | Travel Guide
Travel Blog Travel Guide - Beginners Guide to Independent Travel
Planning and Preparation
Just having a vague notion to travel and see the world won't get you far. You need to firm up those ideas and form a plan - if you don't you'll never leave! Many people will say that they always wanted to travel but never had the opportunity. In reality many of these people never created that opportunity; there is a subtle difference. Looking into the details, getting a firm plan and then telling people what you are going to do are a good way to begin.
Where do you want to go? The world is huge, really huge. One life-time would never be enough to see it all, so get an idea of what you want to see and experience. You only have a limited amount of life - and probably a more limited amount of time and finance to travel. So what are you going to do with it? The first step is to decide what kind of journey you want to go on. To do this you need inspiration.
Where to find inspiration? Read, research your ideas, think about where you want to go. You can take inspiration from :
Travel Magazines - usually, glossy high impact brochures on destinations world wide, ranging from The National Geographic to the pullouts from the weekend papers; there is a lot of material around. The problem is that it's unlikely that your experiences will match those shown in the magazines. Why? In the case of the National Geographic their reporters are often researching one particular aspect of a subject, or a society, spend months getting to know the subject, take thousands of photos, and produce an article just a few thousand of words in length. They know the topic inside out, but have they experienced all the region has to offer ? On the other hand, glossy magazines often provide content supporting the lifestyles and types of holiday for which the magazine can push advertising. Hence the glossy magazines' emphasis on luxury. An article on backpacking is not going to support the cruise liner advertising on its opposite page.
TV Travel Shows - in my time I have seen some amazing TV shows - BBC TV's the Rough Guide Series (not to be confused with the travel guides of the same name) - was inspirational; a mix of footage, sensationalism, culture, music and facts blasted at high speed in the now defunct def2 format (I'm showing my age now). Michael Palin has inspired a generation of Round the World Travellers, though most don't try to do it in 80 days. The holiday shows, "wish you were here" and "holiday 2000's" are aimed at the short breaks mass market - and the mass market buyers only give themselves two weeks a year to enjoy themselves.
Books - such as travelling around Ireland with a fridge (who would have thought that this book would be a best seller. People do equally crazy things all the time, they just don't have the flare for humor that Tony Hawks is blessed with, nor do they skateboard as well), or Bill Bryson and his observations on tiny cultural habits and behavior, set in the grand scheme of road trips.
Photos - Looking through photos of some of the most beautiful and exciting places in the world, can really increase the excitement levels. However, remember that the shots you see will be the best of many thousands - not every moment will have the fantastic sunset or mist rolling in over the hills. But it really is a good way to whet the appetite.
Travel Guides - any of the big name travel guides provide a wealth of information on a region. Browsing in a bookshop will often lead to an overwhelming choice. Try to look at a general book for a region, then decide if the region is for you. The advantages of this type of research are that you'll have a better idea of costs, places to stay and what the highlights are. See LonelyPlanet, Rough Guide, Fodors for further details. What about out-of-date travel guides ? Even older travel guides are useful, as the sites, the history, maps, the food, the culture of a place don't change so much over time. Even the older guide book's prices can be useful, since when you get a feel for how much costs have changed, you can work out up-to-date costs from the listed price in the old guide.
Websites - reading this document means that you have discovered one of the best sources for travel inspiration on the Internet. TravelBlog.org collects inspirational journals, stories and photos from thousands of users and displays them in an easy to read and attractive format. Surf through the locations, click the images, read sample journals, look at the highlights - there is a wealth of travel experience provided here. Lots of other sites exist on the net with a mass of information and detail on an different areas of the world, look at : wikipedia.org = more history information than you ever wanted to know, wikitravel.org = user created travel guides.
Imagine yourself in the most adventurous places that you find on these searches for destinations. It's all hypothetical at this stage so go with it! Ignore the cost, imagine yourself on that tropical island, or visiting villages in remote African savanna. It will allow you to see what you really want to do!
Next: How Long is Enough