Bootsnall is running the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project. Each day in November a travel related prompt is featured for bloggers to write about. I wanted to participate, but I’ve been too busy with school to post each day. Instead I’m following the idea Candice from Candice Does The World has to do this as a weekly series. This week the prompts were; Goals, Embracing Change, Music, Mistakes and Kindness.
What were your travel goals last year? Did you accomplish them? What travel goals do you hope to accomplish this year?
My travel goal is usually very general, I want to travel as much as I can without going into debt. I did, however; want to go to the Travel Blog Exchange Conference this year, and I went to my first one in Vancouver this June.
I’m setting more specific travel goals for next year. The first is a small goal: I want to go to Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump, which is located outside of Fort Macleod, Alberta. I’ve wanted to visit this UNESCO heritage site since I was in elementary school. I don’t really have a good excuse for not visiting. It’s only a 5 hour drive from me, making it a great weekend away trip, and I have a pass for free admission – good until April 2012.
My bigger goal: I want to go to New Orleans. I’ve wanted to go to this city for years, and it also seems like New Orleans would be a great place to use the Urban Adventures prize that I won. I’m not sure if I’ll take a train, plane or automobile (or a combination thereof) to get to New Orleans. This goal will be a little harder to achieve, just because it’ll be more expensive to get there, but I’m going to go New Orleans sometime after the school year is done.
Of course any other travel I can do, without having to going into to debt or miss school, would be great.
Change can be exciting and bring new joys into our lives. But it can present challenges that frustrate or annoy us. How has travel changed you in the last year? Did you welcome these changes or resist them at the time, and how do you feel about them now?
I always seem to learn something about myself, and the world around me, yet I don’t feel like I’ve gone through a substantial change in the last year of travel. That’s okay. The change I’ve experienced has been very gradual. I like who I am, but there are sometimes I wish I was a little more extroverted. I’ve learned that as intimidating as it can be for an introvert, saying hello to someone isn’t that bad.
Music and travel memories often go hand in hand. A song can inspire our explorations, or it can take us back to a specific place and time. Tell us about your travel playlist and what it means to you.
Music is a powerful memory tool. When I hear Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 and #35″ I’ll forever be reminded of a trip to Jasper when I was 13. The Barenaked Ladies Greatest Hits CD brings me back to my trip to Seattle. Especially the song “Be My Yoko Ono.” The day I drove from Moncton, New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island I probably heard “Love Game” by Lady Gaga about 5 times on the radio. I never liked that song before, but now hearing it brings back good travel memories. I went to Europe on a Contiki tour, and each tour has a tour song. Our song was “World Hold On” by Bob Sinclair. We also had a wake-up song which was “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand. Both songs take me back to that trip, and remind me of the great times and great people I met.
Everyone makes mistakes. We forget to ask for Coke without ice in Mexico and spend the rest of the trip in the bathroom. Or we arrive at the airport for a 7pm flight only to realize the flight left at 7am. Tell us the story of your worst travel mistake.
Traveling definitely has a learning curve, and I’ve made my share of big mistakes.
One mistake I keep making is biting off more than I can chew. I tend to underestimate driving times on road trips, or I think just because a country or state is smaller than mine I should be able to see a lot right away. Sometimes this means I don’t get to go everywhere I want to.
When I went to Mexico in May I had to take some homework with me, because I was take a required classes online during the spring. Even though it ended up working out I can say doing homework on a vacation should be prevented if at all possible. Some of you might be wondering, “isn’t working as a travel writer like having homework?” To that I say no. When I’m travel writing I at least get to write about a subject, travel, that I love. Here I got to spend hours in my hotel room writing a rhetorical paper while everyone else swam in the ocean and enjoyed cervezas. What was worse was I still had to work on another paper while I was in Victoria a few weeks later.
The mistake I really regret making is going to McDonald’s in France, right before going to Paris. McDonald’s always makes me feel awful, but I wanted to order a Royal With Cheese, like in Pulp Fiction. I got food poisoning and spent most the next day sick in my hostel. The only cuisine I got to enjoy in Paris was some stale Pringles.
One of the greatest joys of travel can be the random acts of kindness you’ll receive from total strangers. Have you ever found kindness from strangers in unexpected places?
I’ve definitely experienced the kindness of strangers. Recently when I went to Victoria in June I planned to take the local bus from the airport. I went to the information booth to find out where the bus stop was. There was a lady and a man working there, and the lady explained how to get to the bus station. I asked if I could walk there, and she said I could, but it was quite far. I’d have to walk along the busy road because there was no sidewalks. That was okay with me. I was on a budget, and didn’t want to pay for a shuttle or taxi when the bus could get me to my hotel for only a few dollars. I thanked them and went outside.
I was walking along the road for only a minute or two when I saw a car come up and stop in front of me. The vehicle flashed its four-ways and a man got out. I figured he was having a car problem, and maybe wanted to borrow my phone. But it was the man, the other employee, from the information booth. He said his coworker suggested he try to give me a lift over to the bus station. I’m a pretty safe person, normally I don’t accept rides from strangers. But I also believe if you feel something wrong, or odd with the situation, to get out. I didn’t feel odd about this situation. No alarms went off in my head. The man, and I can’t even remember his name, was very friendly. We had a nice conversation about Victoria and writing. In the end I was very grateful for the lift. It took several minutes to get to the busstop, and there were several roundabouts we drove through. I’m sure if I had walked I would have gotten lost. I tried to give him a few dollars as a thank you, but he refused and said he was just doing his job.
I used to be quite hesitant of people, thinking the worst. Of course it’s important to be safe, especially when you travel alone. But I’ve also learned that people are often kind and want to help. As the Louis Armstrong song goes, “And I think to myself. What a wonderful world.”