Thursday, October 20, 2011

Travel Thursdays: (1) Now Or Never!

Last year I took an incredible trip to Europe. Spain, Italy & Greece to be exact.

It was the trip I had dreamed of taking for years but something always held me, timing with work, and the idea that I needed to go with friends, family or a boyfriend.

After turning 30 I realized the "perfect time" to do it under traditional guidelines might never happen. I looked back at my 20's and couldn't believe that ten years had passed since I officially caught the travel bug after studying abroad in Australia. Ten years.

There were a few vacations in there...some destination weddings and weekend getaways, but no real travel. It scared me to death and was the one regret I wasn't willing to live with. Suddenly I thought...hmm, being single and unsettled sure does have it's upsides!

So, I adopted the "now or never" philosophy and got to work.

Ironically, as soon as I booked the trip people came out of the woodwork to join.

It wound up being the perfect balance of traveling alone and with company.

The cost of the trip has kept me home longer than I originally planned, but when I compare the experience versus the cost of 2 months rent in the city, it's no contest.

I guess I prefer to spend money on experiences as opposed to things. Ok, I like things too. But experiences are more memorable.

I come from the school of "when you're on your deathbed, you'll likely remember amazing moments, not expensive things."

Regardless, the trip was absolutely priceless.

I learned how to travel on a miniscule budget, and with lots of research and determination, I made it work.

It was the post-college backpacking trip I never took, and it was beyond amazing.

I didn't stay in fancy pants hotels, and I roughed it in ways some people might not be able to stomach. But that's what made it fun, adventurous and authentic.

Roughing it allowed me to turn what little money I had into six weeks of unforgettable travel.

A friend suggested I blog while traveling. It was such a great idea, but a massive undertaking I just wasn't ready for. I already had one in planning the trip itself.

I entertained the idea the first few days, but service was sketchy on my netbook and I wanted to spend my time exploring, not in an internet cafe.

Since then, I've been wanting to recreate my trip in some way so I could share the amazing places I visited and encourage you to embrace your inner travel bug...even if it's local travel.

I did take some notes and about 8,000 joke. So, I'm sure with a little visual stimulation I can recall the highlights.

There's SOOO much out there to explore and it's absolutely possible if you really want to make it happen.

I'm psyched to go through it all again. I think you'll love reading about it as much as I love reliving it. AND, the pictures are amazing!...if I do say so myself.

So stay plan is to provide you with some travel-related inspiration every Thursday. The world is truly your oyster and I'm living proof that it's do-able.

(On a side note, while writing this post at Starbucks (of course), I met an interesting man who's traveled extensively throughout the world. We got into talking about our experiences and he offered to keep me posted on his "friends & family discount" with a certain upscale cruise line. Score! More importantly though, he rekindled the inspiration I found in my travels and in other travelers, and reminded me why I was writing this post. We shared a lot of common ground. We talked about the experience of traveling alone and how surprisingly special that was. People constantly asked if he got lonely traveling by himself. His reply..."being alone doesn't mean being lonely." It's as true in travel as it is in life.)