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If you want to create the perfect vacation, it's not (only) about choosing the perfect hotel, eating at the nicest restaurants, engaging in exciting activities, hitting the most beautiful beaches. There's another crucial factor that has the power to transform your vacation from being like any other to outstanding.
A few years ago, in 2017, I travelled to Scotland.
And I fell in love, heavily. The landscape is just beyond beautiful - and I'm not exaggerating! Rugged shores, rawness, high cliffs, seething sea, roaring wind, rain, sunshine, snow - all in one day ... I was just so happy and felt a sense of belonging. But...
I'd not thought about reading a lot about Scotland beforehand.
Now, during that time in my life, I had to deal with a few things and I was at a very different place mentally than I am today.
I thought: "I'll learn a lot when I'm there! Why should I learn about Scotland right now?"
This was fatal - and a little embarrassing to be truthful. And I STILL regret that. Because Scotland is mesmerizing. Geologically, culturally and historically. There's so much to learn and appreciate.
During my trip, I was lacking one crucial thing - or better, a certain feeling.
Another flashback: When I travelled to Hawai'i, I thought I knew a lot about the Islands. I've been a fan ever since I was a little girl and accumulated quite some knowledge (so I thought).
I used a great NationalGeographic travel guide and the internet to prepare for this upcoming adventure of a lifetime.
But one thing I didn't really do: I didn't really learn more about Hawai'i. I knew quite a lot about Hawai'i's volcanoes, hot spots, basic geological formation and climate. But I didn't really know a lot about the language, the culture or the plants and animals.
Once again I thought "I will learn it there".
But the truth is: I had not found out nearly as much as I thought about these places during my trips.
I DID pick up a few nugget-sized bits of knowledge - but it just isn't the same as finding out BEFORE going on the trip.
When you learn before, you can apply what you already know. Plus, because of the repetition, it is much easier to memorize.
THE KEY FACTORDuring both my trip to Scotland and to Hawai'i I lacked one crucial factor: knowledge.
And this lead me to lack a certain feeling: connection.
All of this doesn't mean I didn't have a great time. I did, let me tell you. But I now know that having deeper insights into a certain place I'm visiting enables me to reach even deeper, to create an even better, more fulfilling, grounding experience.
One that makes me see that I am part of a much bigger world, that I am tiny, insignificant. One that allows me to be fascinated, in the moment. To be a traveler locals love to welcome. A traveler who gives appreciation, attention and interest in their land and culture.
I don't know about you, but I need to know more about a specific place to feel connected.
And my personal goal is to feel connected, always.
It's what I do first when I meet somebody knew. I try to figure out what we have in common, so I can connect and start a relationship.
Otherwise, it's a superficial experience.
And I *really really really* don't like superficial.
If I'd known more and felt conntected more, I'd have appreciated the culture and nature in a different way. I'd have seen it with different eyes.
What does travelling really mean?
To travel means getting in touch with yourself. With your surroundings. With nature. With local communities. Traveling means to soak it all in. To be present. To be alive. I read a great sentence in a book by Tim Ferriss (Tools of Titans, Section "How to earn your freedom') some days ago: "[Meaningful travel] means cultivating a new fascination in people and places." Traveling shoudn't be about finding the best spots for pictures, or to only hang out at the beach, sipping sweet cocktails. You shouldn't visit a place far from home just to do the same things you'd do at home.
Traveling should be about connection. Connect to whatever you want. To nature, landscapes, language, culture, communities, people, history. To yourself.
By connecting with our travel destination, we show respect, we support the local community and, ultimately, we make the world a better place.
Connection is the right way to travel.
It's simple, really.
I love to connect with nature and landscapes, really think about how they formed, how long they existed, how they were shaped.
What You Can Do To Connect
Choose a topic about your next travel destination you'd like to dig deeper into.
Perhaps history intrigues you. Perhaps it's geology, nature, culture or the language.
Whatever it is. Find ways to reciprocate by showing genuine interest in whatever you pick.
If you dig Earth, nature's processes, geology, and geography you're lucky, because you've found this website! My goal is show you the world and make you fall in love with it by learning about it.
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Be kind and love nature,
PS: Do you know why trees have green leaves? Read this 2-minute article: Why Trees Have Green Leaves
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Who wrote this article? I'm Daniela. Pleased to meet you :) Read more about me here.
[Image Credit: Daniela Dägele (myself :))]