Everyone has their own idea of what they want from travel. But most people choose using a combination of what’s trending and what they can afford. They go on trips that they enjoy, but that ultimately feel somewhat more empty than they might have. Choosing travel destinations should have more to do with who you are.
Some of my favorite travel destinations may well not be anywhere near your top ten list, and that’s fine. My favorite places have some particular meaning to me. Sometimes, I made a connection with the place only once I got there. But more often, I’ve chosen places I already knew I would have an affinity with.
Here are some guidelines to choosing travel destinations that you will connect with.
Use your heritage as a guide
The simplest place to start is with your heritage. Chances are, your ancestors come from somewhere far from where you live now. If you don’t know where they come from, you can get a DNA testing kit for ancestry to find out. This is a good way to connect with a place you’ve never been before.
When you explore a place you know your ancestors walked before you, you see more significance in every aspect of it. Instead of it just being another city or village, it was once a home to your people. Furthermore, you’ll probably be better able to connect with the people based on shared cultural traditions and language.
Understand the feeling of nostalgia
Nostalgia is all about the past. It’s all about missing what you once had. But it can help you make decisions about your future as well. Think about the sort of places, climates, and landscapes that give you a strong sense of nostalgia. Do forests make you feel some way inside? How about mountains? Are clear blue seas what gets your sense of longing going?
Of course, an aspect of nostalgia is that you’re missing something you will never get back, but it is an indication of what you love inherently. Use nostalgia as a guide, but don’t base your whole decision on it!
Don’t be afraid to go back to a place
I know an awful lot of people who will never visit the same destination twice. This is not because they didn’t love it, but because they know their travel opportunities are limited and they’ll never make it through every interesting place around the globe.
I disagree with this approach. While it is great to get new experiences and make new memories, not going back to a place that you loved can leave you with a sense of emptiness. Rather than going somewhere you think you’ll like but isn’t actually at the top of your bucket list, go back to a place you know you loved. Obviously this should be done in moderation, but that’s true of everything in life.
So, if you loved Thailand like I do, make a plan to go back there. If you loved Mexico and hated Sweden, go back to Mexico rather than trying out Norway. I mean, it’s impossible to explore all of a country has to offer, so there’s no problem going back and exploring more!
Connection is so important when choosing where to travel to. Don’t go with someone else’s top 10 list. Make your own based on your own heritage and meaning.