With more than a little time to think things over while I ride to and from NYC everyday, I have been focusing on what I want to get out of my SoleJourn. The dilemma: Do I want to spend more time in fewer places or do I take this opportunity to visit as many of the places on my bucket list as possible? Even though I already knew the answer deep down, I was having trouble committing and accepting the decision. So, I thought I would put it down on paper so it was clear and there was no denying the outcome.
I started by asking myself what my goals for this trip are (aside from living an awesome untethered life and seeing the world, of course). Here are the big ones I came up with:
- To learn Spanish
- To keep to my budget and limit flight costs
- To visit places people don’t usually get the chance to go
- To have the freedom to stay for as little or as long as I want in any given place
- To talk to locals and make friends
- To figure out what comes next in my life in terms of work opportunities and lifestyle
Next, I objectively considered which type of trip would be most likely to satisfy each goal:
- To learn Spanish, I should spend as much time as I can in the Spanish speaking world, namely Central and South America.
- To keep to my budget and limit flight costs I should minimize continent hopping and focus on progressions that can be traveled by bus or train, or paid for using the frequent flier miles I have accumulated. I should also focus on affordable locations and set realistic expectations for how much ground I can cover so that I don’t go over budget trying to fulfill unrealistic plans.
- If I want to visit out of the way places…
- …And stay as long as I please with the ability to go where the wind takes me, I need the time and flexibility to do so. Minimizing the number of places I expect to be would allow this.
- To get to know locals I should work on goal #1 and put myself in positions where I might get to become familiar with people. Spending a few days or weeks in one place would maximize these opportunities.
- To explore possibilities for future locations to live and work, I need in depth exposure. Taking the time to get to know a place, maybe volunteer, work, explore would best allow me to accomplish this goal.
Once I spelled it all out, there was no denying what choice my subconscious had already made. I need a fluid itinerary with a smaller number of regions that will allow for a slow, relaxed pace, and in depth exploration of the ins and outs of each country. I need to focus on places where I can learn and use Spanish and engage my surroundings more fully. I need places with cheap flights, food and internal transportation. Since I decided long ago that Belize, Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil and Italy are non-negotiable, the keepers: Central and South America and Italy!!
Once this decision was made, a wave of relief washed over me. While I still want to visit all the other places I have considered, I know that spending an extended period of time in fewer regions will help me get the most out of my trip! And now that I know where I am headed, I can start to research individual countries, visas, vaccinations, flights etc.! Yay! Plus, I don’t plan to stop traveling once this trip is done and will find another way to spend just as much time in other parts of the world!
Quality over quantity every time.