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How a spontaneous trip changed my view of the world

spontaneous trip wooden bridge travel photograpy

A spontaneous trip that changed my perpsective

I packed my bag as quickly as I could and headed out the door.  I didn’t plan this at all.  I didn’t know what I was going to see or how long I would be gone.

I just needed to go.  A spontaneous trip is like that.

You feel that tug and this time you don’t ignore it.  In your mind, you are already there – breeze on your face, the smell of somewhere new and different, the sensations of the sun dancing all around you, the images of people and places.

You haven’t left yet but you’re already there.

Your wanderlust has been tickled in just the right spot.

In my mind, I have visited this place many times.  However, I had never really seen it.  My view of the world was changed.

Not many people know about this place.  It’s not a big tourist destination.  Yet this was my escape.  Spontaneous travel called.  So I packed up and left.

Travel photos from a spontaneous trip

I’ve seen Yosemite in Winter surrounded by serenity.  I’ve gotten lost in Europe only to find myself.

However, I can’t tell you where I went this time.

That would ruin the journey.

To be a part of this experience, you must enjoy every step with me – spontaneously.

No hints.  No stories.  Just the travel experience with your eyes and soul.

spontaneous trip yellow flowers in a meadow

spontaneous trip ducks in a pond

spontaneous trip bridge trees blue sky Spring

spontaneous trip nature waterfall creek

spontaneous trip nature wooden bridge trees Spring

spontaneous trip waterfall creek rocks meadow Spring

spontaneous trip nature bird flying marsh

spontaneous trip nature pink flowers roses Spring

Travel on my mind

It starts simply enough.

This wrought iron masterpiece, molded into the shape of an inside out, upside down umbrella that’s been battered by a ferocious storm and then attacked by pretzels, looks oddly perfect yet beautiful.  You see the Eiffel Tower on the first trip to Paris and smile.

You watch in awe as a powerful lion, bigger and stronger than you ever imagined, watches over his kingdom on the African plain.  You realize, for the first time, that you are just a small part of a world much bigger than you can possibly understand.

The travel disease

Infection begins in the eyes.  Suddenly, your brain is altered and you feel strange.  Your behavior changes and people begin to wonder what has happened to you.  This disease makes its way to your heart and the process is complete.

Many are at risk of becoming infected because you are contagious.

Seems the only cure for the travel disease is to travel as much as you can and see the world.

And you would be wrong.

Travel is a journey, not a destination

My international travels began in 1995 with that first trip to Estonia.  I had no idea the infection was coming.  However, it spread quickly.

Over the next 18 years, I’ve traveled to various countries.  These encounters with distant lands and people began to change me.  I discovered that I love to get off the beaten path, connect with the culture, embrace the passion of sports and travel, and see the beauty of the world through nature.

Yet travel has taught me some valuable life lessons – even during those frustrating moments when I wanted to quit traveling.

Through the ups and downs, I’ve realized that traveling is about the journey and not the destination.

You can travel the world but it’s really all in your mind.

Travel is a mindset

My best travel experiences have been the people I’ve met or those moments when travel spoke to my soul.

Because of those moments in my life, I remember where I was.  However, it wasn’t the destination itself that changed me.  My mind, heart, soul, and desire to be connected to the people around me are what made my travel experiences so special.

In Yosemite, the mountains whispered to me as I sat there alone, by myself, in Sentinel Meadow watching the sun set.

One of my favorite places in the world is Lake Tahoe.  I have special memories there – people, hikes, experiences.

Yosemite is three hours away.  Lake Tahoe is a hundred miles from my home.

To experience the joys of spontaneous travel, it starts with your mind.

Picture yourself on a beach.

The sun on your face. Sounds of the ocean crashing. A light breeze blows over you.  You are perfectly relaxed.

Do you remember when your travel infection started?  In that moment, your perspective changed, you were absorbed in the moment, and your spirit content.

Where was your first time?

I bet for many of you, you didn’t have to go far away.

4 ways to change your travel perspective

spontaneous trip clouds blue sky perspectiveMy life is busy and I can’t travel as much as I would like.  I want to see more places and do more things.  I would love to travel the world but it’s difficult traveling with a full time job.

However, this spontaneous trip changed my perspective and view of the world.

Whether you travel full time, go on family vacations, use all your time off to travel, or just want to travel more, here are a few tips that can change your perspective.

See travel through the eyes of someone else

Rather than share your passion, ask others about their travel adventures.  If you always travel to the same places, experience travel like a child.

Travel close to home

Whether it’s Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, or Apple Hill, I don’t have to go far to enjoy an awesome travel experience.  While many of us want to travel to other parts of the world, your best travel adventures may be just around the corner.  You may discover yourself in a place you never thought to look – travel close to home.

Share your passion for travel

Teach a class.  Show a child places on a map.  Tell your travel stories to people who have never heard them.  Join a local travel or hiker’s group.  Become contagious.

Change your travel point of view

Do something different on your next trip.  Take photos of sunsets rather than snapshots of monuments.  Wander the back streets.  Look up to the sky rather than see what’s on the ground.  Watch people as you pass on the streets.  Leave the city and visit the country.

A spontaneous travel journey revealed

Flowers in a field.  Clouds floating above the sky.  Ducks, birds, and geese.  An oak tree with limbs reaching to the ground.  Streams flowing through a field.

Do you really want to know where this spontaneous trip led me?

I’ve passed by every one of those places many times.  Today was the first time I experienced them like that.

Every one of those photos above was less than a 10 minute walk from my house.

It’s easy to change your travel perspective.  You don’t have to go far on a spontaneous trip to enjoy some of your best travel experiences.

What’s your favorite thing about spontaneous travel?  How has your travel perspective changed?

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  1. Lance says:

    Great post. I agree that travel is so much more than just being in a different destination. Planning a trip, reading travel mags and blogs, watching shows, looking at maps, walking around the downtown of my city — all those things are part of the life journey that is travel. And now having a 6-year-old son who is along for some of our travels it’s fun teaching him about places, watching him enjoy looking at maps and helping me plan our next adventures. I get weekends and three weeks of vacation time and use a lot of that time to travel. But you don’t have to be on the road to travel.
    Lance recently posted..Finding Family Fun at Lake ErieMy Profile

    • Thanks Lance. Sometimes the planning, travel time, flights, luggage, etc becomes such a huge part of the trip that you can forget why you went somewhere in the first place. The idea behind this is to embrace the moment, where you are, and explore. If you open your eyes and forget all the chaos that comes with traveling, you can really appreciate places in a new way. With a child, you can also see a place with a new perspective.

      I realize that I don’t have to travel far to travel well. Some of my favorite places are close to home. I get a chance to really enjoy them without the stress of travel details.

  2. Jenna says:

    I like the bird that you captured in that photo! You live in a beautiful area, so I’m glad you took advantage of it, especially before it gets too hot!
    Jenna recently posted..Asilomar State Beach at Dusk: A Photo EssayMy Profile

    • Thanks Jenna. I may be biased but honestly this is the best place to live in all of Sacramento. I love the community and the outdoors area. I’ve lived in a couple other places and it really is a beautiful area to explore – if you take the time to do it!

  3. Dan says:

    I’m such a planner and get so much joy from the experience.. but would take more spontaneous trips if my neighbourhood was as photogenic as yours :D

    • Dan, I am very much a planner as well. Spontaneity is NOT my thing. However, when I just need to escape it’s amazing what a trip to a park, around the neighborhood, or even a nearby town can do to quench the travel thirst.

  4. I love those spontaneous trip, they are usually the ones that you remember most fondly.

    You are 100% right – Travel is about the journey, not the destination.
    Nicole @ Suitcase Stories recently posted..Travels in Mexico: Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum & MeridaMy Profile

    • Honestly, I don’t take enough spontaneous trips. I’m not really a spontaneous person. However, I’ve learned to plan time for spontaneity! LOL! :)

      On every trip I take, I make sure I set aside time where I don’t have anything planned. Then I can explore and enjoy whatever moments or experiences are happening right now.

      It’s hard to plan spontaneous trips because of my schedule. It’s not only an issue with my schedule but also my personality. But there are special moments from a trip like this – no matter how short or far.

  5. Peter Lee says:

    I agree with this post. Sometimes spontaneous plans can give results good. I have many experience this thing. The best thing about spontaneous plans are the co-ordination among friends. That is why travelling in a group is more enjoyable.

    • Thanks Peter. I am not a big spontaneous traveler but everyone should have these moments. However, I disagree with you about group trips. While I’ve done them, I actually prefer traveling solo. Gives me a chance to do my own thing and then meet people if I want. Traveling with a group can limit you from meeting others at times. Has that been your experience? Just seems groups tend to stick together.

      • Interesting advice in this article, Jeremy. I’ve been guilty myself of always wanting to “go big or go home”. Rather than stick close by, I usually want to save my time-off for the big elaborate overseas trip. Sometimes home can really surprise you, even if it lacks the cultural depth and history of other destinations. Returning to a familiar place with new eyes can really add perspective.

        I’d also have to agree with your preference for solo travel here, Jeremy. Group travel is generally a royal pain, in my honest opinion. While it’s fun to experience something amazing with friends, it tends to hamper the spontaneity and sense of discovery that makes travel so interesting.

        It’s hard to extend yourself beyond your comfort zone and to interact with a new place when you’re huddled together, trying to take into account the needs of several others and come to a consensus. Perhaps I’m just selfish, but if I go halfway across the world for a trip, I want to do what I set out to do, not what someone else decides for me. I could be very wrong here, but would love to hear what others think about this!
        Ryan @Treksplorer recently posted..5 Steps to Becoming a Short-Term Travel Planning NinjaMy Profile

        • Thanks Ryan. I do like to explore new places. I always have a travel itch to get on a plane and go somewhere. However, I don’t like traveling during the summer because of the crowds. So when everyone else is going on vacation, that’s when I stay home. This summer, I only have one flight planned. This is my time to hike and explore California. For me, I will take a road trip or a day trip to go hiking.

          Yet I am still guilty of taking my own backyard for granted. Those places in the photos I had passed by many times. However, I actually stopped and enjoyed them for once. What I got out of there is a peace and contentment. Just by getting outside and looking around, I felt better. So I really believe that travel doesn’t have to mean going far away from home

          As for groups, I’ve done them before and they are OK. However, I find myself wanting to break away from the group and do my own thing. There are some pros to group travel and they can be fun. However, solo travel has its benefits as well. Even a trip with friends or family is different than group or solo. I think we should try all of them at least once and then find out what is the best type for you.

          I am with you on doing my own thing. Not sure how much you’ve read the blog but I my travel interests can be unique. I don’t do a lot of the same things others do. So traveling on my own or planning my trip is generally the best way to go for me.

  6. Cassie says:

    Great post, Jeremy! My “travels” are the full range of global experiences and observations that I have in life, whether I’m at home or on the other side of the world. Thanks for encouraging people to broaden their view and appreciate the little experiences that can be had close to to home, every single day!
    Cassie recently posted..Home AgainMy Profile

    • I strongly believe that travel is a mindset. You don’t have to travel far to explore or have an awesome experience. Some of my best travel experiences are close to home. I love traveling to new places around the world. However, for those that can’t travel as much as they would like I hope this encourages them to get out and explore. Put on that travel attitude and find a new town, a hike, a museum, somewhere outdoors, or something unique and interesting close to home.

  7. Totally agree with your tips there, especially traveling close to home. I get caught up in thinking that to ‘travel’ I need to leave the country, and that’s totally not the case, there are plenty of beautiful places here in New England I’ve yet to see. So that’s a great reminder.
    Liz | Two Weeks to Travel recently posted..Put Away that Wallet: 10 Free Things to Do in BostonMy Profile

    • Without a doubt! I get caught up in always wanting to go to far away places, especially the more travel stuff I read. However, nearly every summer I dedicate to hiking and exploring places in Sacramento. Right now, I am not a big traveler during the summer as I like to go in the off season.

      However, you do live in a beautiful area. New England in the Fall is gorgeous! We should never be limited by how often we can get on a plane but how much we are willing to explore!

  8. What a great post. You’re right, travel is all in your mind. There are always ways to look at where you are from a different perspective. Someone wishes they were traveling to your current location right now. Travel definitely starts in you soul.
    Jade – Travel is a mindset recently posted..Wanderlust Blues Cure – Part IIMy Profile

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