Another journey has come and gone. Those long days of pouring over destination choices, picking a few choice spots, planning office leaves, allocating budget, booking flight or train tickets, making reservations at the hotel, ForEx, packing your luggage, weighing your luggage, etc, are finally over. The big day arrives, you take off with a giant smile on your face, and incredibly enough everything goes like clockwork…before you know it, you are back home again. So, was your travel experience, a travel success story? Ask yourself five simple questions that gauge traveling success and see if you have the right answers.
1. How enriched are you?
Regardless of the type of travel you undertook – leisure, adventure, historic, exotic, cruise or otherwise, do you feel that you travel has left you enriched? Have you picked up a new language or at least a few basic phrases? Has a piece of architecture left you so enthralled that you dug up all possible history behind it? Do you now know the difference between Gothic and Byzantine architecture? Can you now cook up a dish or two in a cuisine you never tried before? If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, consider it a measure of your traveling success.
2. Do you have a collection of images?
Do you have a series of images etched permanently in your mind? Or better yet, have you caught these incomparable moments on camera? A journey needs to evoke in you, a sense of sharing. Tell your tale to anyone who will listen. Write a memoir, make a photo blog, paint lasting images, sketch abstracts. Let travel be your muse.
3. Has your friends’ list increased by 2?
Made any friends lately? In this era of social networking, pretty much every one on this vibrant blue orb is connected through the fast spreading realms of social networking. Language or culture is no barrier. This all pervasive and inescapable mode of keeping in touch has almost pushed phone books to oblivion. If you have increased your friends’ list by at least a factor of two after that recent trip to a new land, consider it a travel success.
4. Did you run into a few hurdles?
Experience is the best teacher. However cliché the adage may sound, nothing stops it from being true. Your travel might have been all smooth sailing from the word ‘go’, but does it feel eerily perfect? That is because you haven’t run into any opportunities to tackle situations in a land that is totally different from your own. Each new place presents an opportunity to learn and to observe – customs, traditions, eccentricities and idiosyncrasies of a people. And you will experience this first hand, only if there are a few hiccups in your travel plans. We don’t mean that a deluge of travel hurdles will make for more successful travel experience, we will settle for a pinch or a sprinkle. After all, a perfect vacation can never be perfect.
5. Did you graduate from Soul searching 101?
Why do we travel? When the wanderlust takes over, when we want to let our hair down, when we want to bond with our family and friends, or when traveling solo, for soul searching. In short, we travel to seek and to bond. Ask yourself if you have found what you were looking for. Have you come back a wiser, more relaxed and happy person? If so, check number 5 off your list.