I’ve always been an adventurer, always game for what sounds like an experience in one way or another. Man on man, in the dead of winter this side of me sparks and ignites anew!
We have some annual family adventures planned, like spring break to Florida, summer camping trips around Michigan, and of course that random “let’s go to…” that we decide on a moment’s notice on a weekend with seemingly little to do. BUT… let’s think bigger!
I know, I know, many of us would go the world round if we had the time off of work and the budget to do so, but let’s face it, those stars will probably never align. So, what then? Do we squelch our desire to get out and explore only because the opportunity doesn’t present itself? To that I say NO! Friends, let’s put our heads together and dream. Then, with a little bit of planning and foresight we can put that wanderlust into action and knock some things off of our bucket list!
I was at a business dinner the other night and picking a team member’s brain about his recent travels. He took a leave from work and literally traveled around the world. He’s young, bless his heart, and has limited responsibility at home in terms of family and dependents. However, he’s also not growing money from his ears. He planned out the adventure of a lifetime on a shoe string budget and came home with the most amazing stories, photos, and memories. We can all manage this in our own way if we give a little effort!
I also have an Aunt and Uncle who have really enjoyed the simple life in Michigan, they’ve raised their family, retired from working, and have never really been enticed by the “glamor” of travel, yet, they are entirely adventure seeking and love to be outside and experience new places. One of my Aunt’s bucket list items was to hit up a tropical beach somewhere, an all-inclusive if we could find it…one can never have too many pina coladas in the beautiful, sandy sunshine! Well, we searched and searched, found a great deal and the four of us were off on the trip of a lifetime! Not to mention my cousins came along and we ended up experiencing a catamaran cruise, seeing Blue Footed Boobies, parasailing, and so much interaction with some really fun local beach vendors. It was a wild success and we are actually planning for a “Part 2” in an upcoming year!
All this said, it can be done! On whatever scale you decide! It just takes a little bit of courage, an adventurous spirit, and some well thought planning!
Tips that have helped me:
- Research your desired location, find out when the high tourist seasons are. You can often find great deals if you go just outside of the peak season, yet the weather is still desirable!
- With a world of information at your fingertips, it is easy to compare costs by traveling different ways. Hotels and resorts sometimes need to fill vacancies and offer good deals, but if that’s not the case you may be able to find a home, condo, or room to rent for an amazing price. Or, if you’re not traveling with children there are often ways to actually live with a family in a local area for extremely cheap. This way you’ll integrate yourself right into the local culture and likely make new friends too!
- Planes aren’t the only way to travel! Of course if you’re going from the US to Europe you may need to fly your first leg, but once your feet are on the ground there, trains can be an excellent choice. Short plane trips within countries can sometimes be extremely affordable as well, such as in Mexico.
- Don’t over plan your activities. I’ve learned this the hard way over time. Early on when I would set an extreme itinerary for my family we would often wish for down time on the trip and come home exhausted. I think it’s a great idea to plan out a few big things, major sites or milestones along the way, but leave room for you to wander and see what calls out to you as something to do along the way!
- Lean on your friends and friends of friends for good tips, experiences they had, things they wish they had or hadn’t done. If you’re lucky, maybe you have friends with condos in far places or hookups that they can help you out with!
So what’s on your bucket list?
A few things from my personal page:
- Hawaii – gotta get there, want to see it all!
- London – tea, shops, the palace, Big Ben
- Skiing the French Alps
- Italy – architecture, food, romance, the Vatican
- Montreal – ever since I saw that movie with all of those Mini Coopers!
- A road trip across the US with my family in the Motorhome
- Driving along the coastal highway by Big Sur