A few weekends ago I did something I hadn’t done in a while; I stayed at a hostel. Experimenting with Airbnb and using up hotel reward points has kept hostels off my radar for a while, but I decided to have a plan-free weekend. I picked a city (Chefchaouen) and headed out without a reservation or a map, only Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding audiobook on the radio. Having been to ‘Chaouen before I decided to head to Riad Baraka first, and as fate would have it, they had an available room. Fate would also seem to have a hand in the extreme pleasure of running into and spending time with a travel minded group of people. The only thing I regret not planning is the charging my camera battery…
Back home when I tell folks that I travel six months out of the year I typically get a blank stare. For someone who rarely leaves the city or state and doesn’t have a passport, it’s hard to imagine a life lived predominately on the move.
However, Riad Baraka was filled with people who understood the draw of being on the road: Tobias had been traveling for almost two years and was completely comfortable with setting down (little) roots, working at a hostel and really getting to know a place; Steve and Jeff (send me pics!) teamed up to go outside their comfort zone by choosing a location neither had been to; Graham spoke like an Australian with an American accent he had spent so much time down under; Melissa skipped her travel after uni and was making up for lost time; and James was taking advantage of a stag party in Lisbon to hop off to Morocco.
I had a similar experience recently at the Chicago Adventure Travel Show where just listening to folks like Ryan Duzer made me break out the bucket list and start adding locations for the upcoming year.
So if you’re looking for travel inspiration, try reading a travel book, finding a travel group or hanging out amongst those who are better at it than you. Much like you wouldn’t hang out with the office grouch who can’t stick to the Couch to 5k if your goal was to run a faster marathon, doing what you really want has a lot to do with surrounding yourself with the right people and getting outside your comfort zone.