Things you read on every travel blog:
“Oh, travel is all about the people! Everyone is so wonderful and nice and friendly and you can’t ever believe the terrible things that get said on the news about foreign countries. People are the only reason to travel.”
Things travel blogs don’t tell you:
“Not every person is worth meeting. And not every person will think it is worthwhile meeting you.”
Far too many people don’t recognize their own creativity. Instead, they ascribe that trait to only practitioners of traditional arts. Musicians and painters – these are creative people. Not us. But here’s the thing about true creativity: it exists to turn tradition on its ear. I contend that independent travelers are part of a new creative class. We’d have a much easier time trusting our travels to a guidebook or a tour operator. Instead we take full control of our destinations, and our destinies. With my itinerary planner series, I hope to unleash the creativity in every jetsetter, giving you not a step-by-step blueprint for your travels, but rather the information you need to create your own plans. Read on for the basics about going off the beaten path and navigating top Balkan cities.
As I settled into my bunk at a hostel in Split, Croatia, the college-age girls sharing my room were proving friendlier than the last dormmates I’d had. They asked about my plans and reached the telltale question: How long are you traveling for? I was only six weeks into my trip, and had already gotten a variety of reactions to the news that I would be on the road for a full year. Theirs was a new one though. “Wow – I would never be able to travel for that long!” one girl exclaimed “We get strung out enough after a few weeks.” The clique devolved into girlish chatter and I thought it best to refrain from launching into a lecture about the differences between vacationing and traveling long-term. Because the fact is, every traveler feels burnout at some point.
Each traveler will probably deal with burnout in their own way, but I suspect as an introvert I’m well-equipped to handle it. Extroverts, who can tolerate and in fact enjoy lots of activity and socializing, likely stumble into foreign territory when they feel overwhelmed. We introverts have plenty of practice at feeling overwhelmed, which means we have just as much practice at overcoming it. When I feel burnt out, I typically follow these four steps.
As teenagers touring colleges, my high school best friend and I settled on an easy philosophy for judging campuses: If you love a place in the rain, that’s where you belong. I hadn’t originally planned on visiting Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, on my RTW trip. So when I ended up rerouting there to get from Italy to Croatia overland, it only took a few minutes walking around the city center in the rain to realize skipping it would have been a huge mistake.
Eco-friendly and accessible, the pedestrian-only city center of Ljubljana is teeming with cozy cafes and charming historic facades. Tourism has just begun picking up in the last ten years, giving this underrated European capital a great energy. I have no doubt it’s one of the best cities for creative professionals on the continent.
Preserved for hundreds of years by the very volcanic eruption that destroyed it, the ancient city of Pompeii is one of those places that inspires people to travel. Perhaps, even more rarely, it lives up to the hype. The site is large enough you could fill an entire day exploring its every corner and with careful planning can even avoid being stuck in a large crowd. Visiting Pompeii is easily one of the biggest highlights of my RTW trip. Fuel your own bucket list by clicking through the photos below.