Have you been there?
Longing to head to Europe, but haven't decided exactly where to travel.
Something caught your eye in that slick travel mag at the dental office, but the article touched mainly on the high spots and places you've already seen.
Still, the thought of visiting the Continent never really vacates your brain. Maybe it's time to get serious.
But where should you go...?
As travelers, we make our decisions about where to travel based on a variety of reasons:
Sometimes we want to search the roots of our own existence.
Or maybe we’re looking just to have a
Whatever the reason for choosing where to travel, it should always be a per-sonal, thoughtful decision.
Even though much of overseas travel remains some sort of group activity, the emotions and expectations of traveling abroad often rise from the corners of our soul.
Traveling overseas has the power to impact our lives. It can connect us to our past. It can create our future.
Lives are frequently changed by international travel - a fact this writer knows all too well.
It’s not uncommon for travelers to alter a career or embark on a new one, as the result of traveling overseas. Especially the first time.
Some travelers make the ultimate transition and totally transform their lives, trading in their regular nine to five for a never-ending overseas adventure.
Others are so consumed by what they see and experience, they change the place they call home and create a new existence for themselves in another land and different culture.
One of the more popular reasons for overseas travel is the oppor-tunity to visit the remnants, ruins, and relics of other times and civilizations.
We're drawn to what life was. How it played out in other, ancient times.
Is it curiosity? A desire for know-ledge? Perhaps a wish to under-stand why and who we are?
Is it a form of intellectual time travel to help us know where we've come from?
Or is it just because we want to see the past with our very own eyes?
Regardless of the motive for deciding where to travel, we're often drawn to the symbols of our past.
Symbols that connect us by beauty and aesthetic to other periods in history.
Symbols that allow us to marvel at why and how humankind has accomplished what we have.
Symbols that give us the opportunity to ask: do we now, with all our accrued knowledge and advancement, actually measure up to those who came before?
Whether what we seek is knowledge, growth, or merely to have a good time, choosing where to travel is the first step in making sure our overseas trip is exiting, fun, and memorable.
Whether you’re planning a first trip overseas, or you’ve traveled internationally for years, you have your own style of travel.
I don’t mean the clothes you wear, your flair for the coolest luggage, or having the perfect travel accessory.
Your style of travel [travel style] is part of your inner psyche, your personality. It's an extension of how you life your life.
In order to have the best overseas travel experience you can, it’s essential you match how and where you travel to the kind of person you are.
If you’re a traveler good with details, who revels in face to face social interaction and prefers to do things your own way in your own time, the world is your oyster.
When just beginning to travel overseas, it’s makes practical sense to begin by visiting places you already know something about, through reading, study, and research.
A major point of angst for many unseasoned travelers is fear of a language barrier. This alone, often precludes novice travelers from traveling overseas independently - without the support of a pre-arranged group.
But in Europe’s capitals and larger cities, as well as areas surrounding them, English is commonly spoken, especially in the areas tourists frequent.
If English is your native tongue, pick your destination from among the cities and countries of Western Europe, and you’ll have little problem with daily conver-sation.
If adventure is what you seek, deciding where to travel is limited only by your health and physical ability.
Europe and Asia welcome all levels of hikers and bikers, backpackers and thrill-seekers.
Relax on a secluded foreign beach, visit rural villages, see the ruins of ancient cultures, hike exotic indigenous locations, or mingle with urban natives for a local, contemporary experience.
Your travel budget will go farther, and as long as you master some basic lan-guage skills, you’ll have few issues with simple conversation.
What you will do is encounter a more memorable travel experience few tourists are lucky enough to discover.
If you’re a fairly accomplished traveler, you probably have a list of places 'to do'. A common method for choosing where to travel used by seasoned travelers is to increase the attitude of each new destination.
This means, each trip you take should add a bit more challenge to your comfort level.
Just as you walk before running, it’s makes sense in your early travel adventures to immerse yourself in cultures not too dissimilar from your own.
Get to know how to travel, how to move about.
Learn to organize your time and choose your priorities: balance what you see and do. Discover the rhythm of daily stresses and challenges when traveling.
France, Belgium, England, and the Netherlands are top travel destinations for early do it on your own travelers.
As you get more comfortable, move your choice for where to travel up a notch to Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, and countries in Eastern Europe. Daily communi-cation will be on the easy side of difficult, especially in more metropolitan areas.
The Europe you find - especially in more easterly destinations - will be the Europe of your parents and grandparents: modern in the great Euro-cities, but forgotten by time in smaller towns, villages, and rural areas.
The practical side of overseas travel demands you match your budget and available time to your choice of where to travel.
You can’t do a Grand Tour of Europe in ten days. But you can see Paris and its environs; London and the South of England; the Benelux region [Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg]; or cruise the Greek Isles with ease.
If your budget is limited, skip the major Euro-cities. Opt instead, to visit smaller towns and villages, the highways and byways - away from the established tourist track.
Europe is overflowing with historical relics of its past, in its landscape, rural architecture, and small towns teeming with day-to-day life.
It may seem strange to think about travel memories before you’ve even traveled. But setting specific goals when deciding where to travel will predeter-mine the memories you make and remember throughout the years.
The best travel memories almost always occur from unscheduled, unguarded moments and events.
If you want your travel memories to be photos of you 'holding up' the Tower of Pisa or watching London’s Changing of the Guard, your travel destination should focus on the major tourist attractions, must-see tourist sights, the grand museums, and cultural architecture that's drawn visitors to Europe for gen-erations.
But if you want your travel memories of Europe to include chats with locals and like-minded travelers...if you’d rather mingle with the natives and explore their history and culture...if visiting little known, seldom seen by tourists locations is part of your travel plan, the memories you create will be uniquely individual to your personal travel adventure.
Overseas travel is all about seeing, absorbing, and creating your own travel experience.
The adventures you have, the friendships you make, and the memories you create when choosing where to travel, will make your trip come alive each time you think of it and reward you with special memories for a lifetime.