Following from Part 1, this part of the guide to deciding where to travel goes a bit deeper. I turn the conversation from the outer, external components of your decision to the inner, internal components.
This post is especially for the worriers. The people who have a bit of fear about travel will benefit from this post the most, whether they are worried about getting lost in an unfamiliar place or not enjoying themselves as much as they thought they would.
This is your guide to the personal considerations when deciding on your travel destination(s).
Determine How Much Discomfort You Can Handle
With all of the external, practical stuff out of the way, it's time to look inward at yourself. What do you want to experience and how much energy (emotional, physical) are you willing to expend during this trip?
If you're a Westerner, the place that is the least touched by the West and the most infrequently traveled will probably have the least comfortable environment for you.
Are you interested in pushing your limits? If so, go international to a country that does not speak your language, that is infrequently traveled, and/or has a culture that is completely opposite your own.
Are you looking to "get away" but relax with all the comforts of home? If yes, then stay domestic, go to a comparable country overseas, or travel by cruise ship.
You may be surprised at how well you adapt to a totally new place with few of the comforts from home. Most people do speak English and are quite friendly and willing to help foreigners. But don't even bother with these options if your goal is smooth-sailing all day, every day.
Rank Based on Your Goals and Favorite Activities
Want to get some job experience and earn some extra cash? Go in Australia. Do you enjoy beer, food, and singing on tabletops? Head to Oktoberfest. Want to learn how to SCUBA dive on a budget? Learn in Thailand.
You have to decide which place is best for you based on your goals and/or what you love to do.
Jono is currently visiting me from New Zealand. He and I both love food, music, and everything to do with the ocean. We thought about these interests when planning a two-week trip together. New Orleans has the food and music and the Florida Keys have all of the seaside fun we could want. So now we're booked to go!
Similarly, you'll need to think about what you really love to do or have always wanted to do. Then find the place that is the best fit for doing it.
Listen to Your Heart
Regardless of all of the above, the decision you make should come from your heart. Listen to where its pulling you.
Have you been ogling photos from Bali, Indonesia on Instagram for months? Or perhaps you have been lusting after the scenery from Ireland, Scotland, and Croatia in the Game of Thrones series since its first season? Wherever it may be, if there is a place you've been in awe of or curious about—it's time to start planning your trip there.
I am unashamed to admit I became obsessed with New Zealand back in the early 2000s when I first saw scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I thought the country where they filmed was so incredibly beautiful. I had to see it first-hand.
I intentionally designed my entire journey from 2014-2015 around New Zealand. I set up a one year working holiday visa for my arrival and then considered other countries to visit on my way there and on my way back.
The other countries I visited before, during, and after my extended stay in New Zealand became favorites in their own right—proving that you never know where you may find your heart bursting with joy.
But there was nothing like finally getting to float in the middle of Milford Sound or climb to the top of Mt. Ngauruhoe. You'll get to see all the places you were only ever able to gaze at in pictures—it's an unbelievably fulfilling experience.
In the last post, I discussed all the practical considerations for choosing where to travel: affordability, timing, distance, weather, and travel seasons. In this post, I focused your attention inward.
Above all the practical elements to travel, the most important involves your comfort level, your goals and hobbies, and listening to what your heart says. Remember, people can suggest places to visit, but in the end it's a highly personal decision. One person's dream destination is another person's nightmare.
So don't take my word for it or anyone else's word for it. Do your research and then follow your own path—that's what deviating is all about! Deviate to your own beat and you'll be on your way to a trip with awesome memories that you'll look back on with a smile for the rest of your life!