Last fall, I took a trip I’d dreamed of for years, driving through the Scottish Highlands and taking the ferries to Skye and Mull. I wanted to see the countryside I’d only read about in books with the freedom of driving on my own.
For months, I dipped into Scottish history, read about every castle I could find (don’t an inordinate number start with “D”?), plotted my route on maps, and even watched YouTube videos of what it would be like to drive on the left side of the road.
I realized then how important having something in the future – especially something life-shaping and challenging – can be. Most of us have busy, in fact over-busy, lives. So why the need for this next big adventure out ahead of us?
My next big dream is a riding holiday. I’m not sure where – maybe back to Scotland, to Wales, maybe France or Mallorca? The chance to see a new place from horseback and being completely present in the moment and in the landscape is appealing. I want to see it all from the saddle and spend a week in a lodge and get to know the people around me. I want to pick a skill I used to (almost) have, like jumping, and try to recapture some of that joy while I’m there.
This, for me and maybe for you, too, is an ideal adventure to take alone. It’s got a strong purpose, it’s very personal, and it could be easier to come to terms with how much proficiency I’ve lost in the saddle if I don’t know the last names of my bunk house mates.
It’s going to take months to save for this trip but more than that, I will have to start the change before I leave. Over the next few months, I’ll have to reclaim a hobby I used to love. During those months, I will intentionally make time for this work. It will be a physical and mental challenge – it will require getting fit – and by the time I leave for this future dream trip, I’ll be a different person in some ways.
Could that be it? Is planning a trip that is very personal and just for you part of how we make time for ourselves? Do we reclaim some part of our personhood this way? I remember the trip where I listened to French tapes in the car for months or hiked to feel physically ready to do everything I wanted to do. Maybe a trip is a dream – with a deadline.
What I Learned
The more I invest in reading, researching and readying for a trip, the more I get out of it. Knowing a little more as I travel connects me with my surroundings.
Planning for a trip that will be a challenge broadens my daily life. It gives me a context greater than next week’s deadlines.
I can be annoying to travel with – all that research just needs to be shared. Solo is a good choice!