“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste
experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and
without fear for newer and richer experiences.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Let’s have a cheer for anticipation!
Looking ahead, preparing for your travel can serve valuable functions which will increase the enjoyment and the value of your travel.
In the back of your mind, you have notions of what you will see on your travels to a new destination. These might be derived (correctly or not) from movies, friends’ comments, foreign language or history classes, or old family stories. In the formulation of every trip, though, the notion goes from “I want to go to XYZ someday” to “Let’s go to XYZ this summer.” You begin your serious anticipation and planning at that point.
Learning the history of a city or region prepares the background for everything you will see when you arrive. What wild animals are native to this region? Are there ruins remaining from the days of the Roman Empire? Which European countries colonized this area and what are the residual signs of that influence?
As you work through the background material, you will uncover the commonly regarded high points of the region, the “must see” items. Along with those you will learn about lesser known places and people which might be especially interesting to you, the ones which might elicit only a blank look from other travelers. If you were to learn after your trip that you had driven right past Edith Wharton’s home or the new Titanic museum or a spot important to your own special passion, how upset would you be? Anticipating and planning can help you avoid that sort of V8 Juice® smack to the forehead.
Anticipation can also streamline and organize your trip. Tourism boards and their websites are treasuries of useful information. Knowing when galleries, museums and shops are open can prevent disappointments and unwise scheduling. Tourist boards and city welcome centers can also arm you with maps and transit cards which can make getting around easier and less expensive. Explore your destination’s tourism sites early in your planning to make best use of what they can offer. (Getting a good map of the region should be the first thing you do!)
If your planning uncovers information that makes you uncomfortable, you have time to research for more information to work around that issue. Thus you have prevented unpleasant discoveries that could derail your enjoyment as you travel.
They say that splitting your own firewood warms you twice – first when you split the wood and again when you burn it in the fireplace. In the same way, anticipation of travel helps you enjoy your journey more than once: when you muse over all the alternatives and again when you actually do or see the things you have planned. Even if someone else is organizing the trip for you, you should do your own anticipating. Intentionally and purposefully anticipating your trip gets the happiness juices flowing well ahead of the packing. Why make the trip only once?
Boundaries divide. Travel unites.
6 June 2013