I will focus on my passion for travel by planning three trips this year, connecting with fellow travelers and organizations to explore new opportunities, AND I will “travel” and connect with like-minded folks online by posting on the blogs I read (rather than just reading them!)
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain
When did you start traveling? My interest wasn’t really sparked until the ripe age of 29. I went to Club Med on vacation, which opened my eyes to another way to live – how to be a “citizen of the planet,” (rather than just my hometown)…so many of the people working there were doing this with ease and grace – I wanted that! I returned from an action- and culturally-packed trip, hatched a plan and signed up for French language and scuba diving lessons, and six months later flew to Club Med in the Dominican Republic, where I met, and still remain friends with, many fellow citizens of the planet.
Since then, and over the past few years especially, I have fallen in love with the fun of traveling to new places, either alone or with others. I have concluded that there is no better way to learn about the world other than to just get out there as often as possible: soak in the atmosphere, the culture, and the environment. To become a traveler not a tourist (there is quite a difference) is a true joy, and has been quite a learning process. I have actually traveled out of my little Southern California region an average of about once a month for the past three years, and have been leading scuba dive trips focused on fish surveying to the Caribbean over the past few years - combining both passions, along with the joy of meeting new travelers. My goal is to do more of this (fun, adventurous, and educational) in new places, and beyond just mostly diving focused. The amazing trip to the Grand Canyon last year showed me that there is much more to see than just the sea out there in this big beautiful world!
So, I am planning a few new trips, exploring the potential for more related experiences such as travel writing and adventure travel work opportunities, and also traveling online more purposefully by posting on other blogs (many of them travel related of course!). I wanted to make a conscious effort to connect with people within the travel and online communities that I know I want to explore and pursue.
What I did, how it went, and what I learned:
· I planned the challenge this month knowing that I had a lengthy 11 day trip during it - my annual volunteer pilgrimage to the serene isle of Little Cayman (full time human population 160), to witness and record the annual Nassau Grouper fish spawning aggregation (temporary population approximately 3500-4000 at the West End) during the winter’s fullest moon. This trip again exceeded my expectations regarding natural beauty, suitability to my strengths, and sheer enjoyment! The combination of people who made up this year’s Grouper Moon Project team is truly extraordinary combining scientists, artists, writers, educators, environmental and government staff, and more – all focused on saving this endangered species and Caribbean icon. Watching the fireworks of thousands of fish congregate and spawn, 5 – 25 at a time in vertical rushes is truly one of the natural wonders of the undersea world, and I am privileged to view it firsthand.
· Other related accomplishments and activities:
o Successfully planned a trip to Portland in July and have made progress toward planning trips to Mexico and possibly the South Pacific (fingers crossed!) later this year – just putting these ideas actually into motion by acting (rather than just letting them roll around in my head), was gratifying. And planning a trip to San Francisco (one of my favorite U.S. cities) popped up on the last day of the month too!
o Opened two new credit cards with significant mileage bonuses – I’m not planning to play frequent traveler points and miles game to the hilt. But why not get a few thousand miles here and there when they make it so darn easy?
o Promoted the dive trip I am leading to the British Virgin Islands in November – the boat is half full – please join me!
o Renewed my Gold status with American Airlines - considering how often I travel with them, benefits such as priority access to seating, shorter lines, no baggage fees, etc, etc, etc are worth it.
o Re-subscribed to two magazines: Caribbean Travel & Life, and AFAR – I know both will continue to inspire me to pursue this passion in a significant way. I would like to write and submit a story about the Grouper Moon project for one of these magazines (or another appropriate one) in the coming month.
o Commented on 15 other blogs out there (rather than my goal of 29 - one for each day of the month) – not actually sure why I just wasn’t motivated enough, but I will continue doing this AND also start including this website to actually grow some traffic eventually…still learning at all this, hmmm.
Question: What does traveling mean to you, and why do you go where you go?