Travel is a massive investment.
A very positive investment mind you, one that pays incredible dividends and pushes you beyond the limits of who you thought you could be, but still - it’s massive.
Travel costs you time, travel costs you your money, and heck, it may have even cost you your job if you're one of the people who quit because your company wasn’t giving you the work/life balance you needed to fulfill your dreams of seeing the world.
Because of how much traveling can cost you, it’s important that you do everything in your power to not regret your decision to do it.
"What? Regret seeing the world? That’s impossible!"
I feel the same way! But anytime you put more into something than you get out of it, that’s a recipe for regret and travel isn’t always a jar of Skittles.
I’ve personally shaken my fists at the gods a lot while traversing the globe, cursing my decision to drop thousands on open-ended excursions as opposed to investing that money in thousands of McChicken Sandwiches at my local McDonald's. (Only on really bad days mind you but by the end of my trips I always end up appreciating my decision to spend my resources on traveling as opposed to on McStomach aches.)
The key to ensuring that you’ll love yourself for choosing to go on an adventure is to make sure you’re always trying to extract as much value as possible from your trip.
Defining what value means to you and hunting it down is the purpose of our trip goals setting workshop which we are going to start now!
Step One: What Do I Want out of My Trip?
The first thing we're going to do in our trip goals workshop is set a timer for three minutes and ask ourselves, "What do I want out of my trip?".
There are no right or wrong answers here. Just write down on your phone's/computer's notepad (or a real notepad if you still know how to hold a pencil) anything you can think of that you'd like to accomplish on your trip. The sky is the limit!
Don't stop writing until at least three minutes have passed.
Examples of some things you might want out of your trip could be:
- I want to broaden my world views.
- I want to inspire my family to be brave enough to leave the small town they’ve spent every moment of their lives in.
- I want to learn a new language.
- I want to become a brave person.
- I want to expand my culinary palette (a fancy way of saying you want to stuff your face with good food).
- I want to build an arsenal of cool stories to be able to tell people for years to come.
- I want to become more interesting.
- I want to come up with three unique business ideas.
- I want to understand other place’s perception of the country I come from.
- I want to make lifelong friends.
Are you ready? Start your timer... now!
Okay, time's up!
What you have in your possession now are all of the "pie in the sky" trip goals you'd like to accomplish during your upcoming adventure.
That's a good first step and all but now we're going to take it a notch further!
Step Two: Creating Actions
Your trip goals by themselves are important to be aware of but a whole lot more valuable if you achieve them. In order to vastly improve your odds of doing that, we're going to come up with some actions!
Actions are measurable micro-steps you can take to achieve your trip goals.
Examples of actions would look like this:
Trip Goal 1: I want to broaden my world views.
Action 1: As long as it’s reasonably safe, I will seize every opportunity I'm presented with to step out of my comfort zone.
Action 2: I will have a conversation with at least two people in every city I visit, learn their name and a little bit about their story.
Even goals that are seemingly overly ambitious unless you’re spending months in a single place like “I want to learn a new language” can be achieved to an extent with actions like, “I will learn 10 words in the native language of every place I visit” or “I will learn how to order a beer in the language of every country on my itinerary.”
The more measurable and specific you make your actions, the higher chance you'll have at successfully completing them and consequently crushing your trip goals!
No timers needed for this step! Just go ahead and start writing down at least two actions for all of your trip goals you came up with in step one.
Once you've finished writing down actions to accompany your goals, you have one final step to complete. This step requires the least amount of thinking but is the most commonly given up on part of the goal-setting process (which is a shame because it's so freakin' important to being successful).
Step Three: Revisit Your Trip Goals Regularly
There is a lot going on in the world and all of that noise is excellent at making us lose sight of the things we really want. To combat the noise and stay on the path to achieving our trip goals, all you have to do is every morning when you wake up during your adventure, review your goals. That's it!
Doing that will help you tackle every day with intention.
It is so easy to fall back into your old ways when you’re in a new place and de-volve from being a budding adventurer to being a dime-a-dozen tourist.
“This local is trying to strike up a conversation with me and I wish she would stop because I don’t like talking to people.”
“I could eat at that little café I’ve had my eye on, but I’m afraid the server won’t speak English so I’ll just eat at McDonald's.”
“I could buy a round of drinks for those two travelers sitting at the table next to me who I'd like to meet but I don’t want to look weird so I’ll just ignore them.”
Stop playing everything so safe!!! (I’m yelling at myself BTW since all of those examples were pulled directly from thoughts I've had during trips I’ve taken.)
If you can’t find it in your heart to get a little uncomfortable for the purpose of personal growth then instead of going on an adventure, save yourself the effort and just book a vacation package that's called "The ultimate foreign vacation relaxation paradise package for tourist who like beach" through a travel agency.
I warn you though that doing so will be more expensive and nowhere near as impactful as taking a deep breath and really experiencing the world.
Wrapping up the Ultimate Guide to Setting Trip Goals for Your Next Adventure
There you have it! A quick and dirty guide that will give you all the tools you need to extract unlimited value from your next adventure.
While I can't say that I've accomplished 100% of the trip goals I've made for myself over the years, I can say that I always create trip goals before I go out into the world and am always sure to reference them every morning on the road.
Always Travel the world as an adventurer with infinite curiosity. Use that mixture of excitement and nervousness you feel when presented with new challenges to fuel the completion of your trip goals. Prepare to reap benefits far more valuable than any amount of money you could spend on McChickens at McDonald's!
Man I’m hungry.
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