I never really thought about it, but then a friend browsing through my pictures ask me the other day “How have you been able to access all these beautiful places – work or play or both?”
Her question made me ask myself two things: 1) Do I really travel much more relative to my peer group, and 2) How am I able to travel and how do I view traveling differently? The answer I came up with is Yes and saying “Yes.”
Looking back at how I make traveling decisions (it wasn’t always like this, only the last 5 years), I follow 3 principles. These 3 principles have taken me places I probably would have never found time for otherwise. They are quite simple and follow the most basic adage of responding with “Yes.”
- Take it when you can.
- Have friends that love to travel.
- Plan later.
1. “Take it when you can.” A lot of my friends and people I know always want the perfect trip and feel like short trips just don’t justify the time or expense, especially the ones abroad to another country or continent. I don’t disagree with them. The plane rides there and back typically cost a full-days worth of time. And if I go there for less than a week, simply getting there and back can take up 30% of the vacation time. It sucks! However, when else would I be able to go? My answer is “probably not for a long time.” So my response is just go. I flew to Seoul from Washington DC for 2 nights, then to Taipei for another 2 nights before my return back to DC. It trip may sound like it wasn’t worth it, but I had an Amazing time in both cities. I made sure to pack as much activity as I could in those two days to enjoy the city, go out to a lake and waterboard, eat amazing local food, and party at the best night lounges. Then I headed home. It was worth it. So take it when you can. Kinda like Anthony Bourdains day trips.
2.”Have friends that love to travel.” This second principle I have is to have friends that love to travel and to just say “Yes” when they ask. There’s really not much to think about for me, because I’m single with only a dog to watch, so it’s pretty simple to say “ok.” I’ve gone on so many great last minute climbing, ski, etc trips with <1 week to plan! When I climbed Mt. Whitney the second time, my buddy essentially texted me 2 weeks before and said one of the team members dropped out, and wanted to see if I was willing to fly to Los Angeles and hike 2 days (without training) up 14k feet. I said… “okay, let me buy my ticket.” Having awesome friends is great. Saying Yes to them when they ask you to join them keeps them as great friends!
3.”Plan Later.” This is an interesting one, and it doesn’t mean have a lack of preparation. You still have to do your work and be knowledgeable of your capabilities. Traveling on the spur of the moment and traveling frequently means I needed to understand my priorities (career and life) as well as have a system to in place to leave in a week’s notice. Dog sitters, knowing my work calendar weeks ahead, having a travel budget, etc. The “Plan Later” is really about not being nervous that you hadn’t planned the trip. You still have time to plan an awesome trip right before you go, as you go, or when you get there. Having great friends wherever you go also helps. You can delegate the planning or ask, and if there’s something you really want to do, you can focus on that specific one. So plan later, just have a plan in place to do so.
Here are some of the destinations I’ve been in the past 6 months in reverse chronological.
- New York City (Every month!) – Weekend
- Whitetail Ski Resort, Pennsylvania – Day Trip
- Mary’s Peak in the Appalachian Trail (Virginia) -Day Trip
- Jackson Hole, Wyoming (Jackson Hole Ski Resort) – Full Week
- Mt. Hood Meadows/Timberline Lodge/Portland, Oregon – Weekend
- Springfield, Missouri (Thanksgiving!) – Weekend
- San Jose, California (My Friend’s Daughter!) – Weekend
- Las Vegas, Nevada (Awesome Boys Trip II!) – Weekend
- Los Angeles, California (Awesome Wedding!) – Weekend
- New Orleans, Louisiana (Awesome Boys Trip!) – Weekend
- Mt. Whitney Peak in the Sierra Mountains, California (Mountaineering Trail) – Weekend
- Key West, Florida (Sunset Lodge Island) – Full Week