For us globetrotters, travel is far more of a mindset than it is the actual movement from point A to point B. If you ever find yourself asking these 20 questions, know that you’re officially thinking in the language of travel.
1. How did you first fall in love with the world?
Was it the whale that breached 100 yards to port while you were sea kayaking? The Argentine couple who cooked you dinner and let you camp in their yard because you were too tired to keep hiking? That time you faced your fear and bungee-jumped in New Zealand? What made you pursue a deeper relationship with the world?
2. Do places ever really get “checked off the list”?
You’ve been there, sure. But what about the restaurant across the street from the one where you ate? What about the hiking trail that continued on from where you turned around? What about the infinity of interactions you didn’t have with all the people who live there? No place is ever truly “done.”
3. If you had the opportunity to drop everything and go on your dream adventure tomorrow, would you say yes?
In other words, would you choose the safety of staying behind, or would you toss it all in a bag and set out on a journey you thought only existed in your at-work daydreams?
4. When does a layover become a vacation all its own?
Approach it with the right mindset, and those six hours in Zurich might be the highlight of your whole trip.
5. Is it your duty to travel?
When you travel to a new place — be it the other side of the world, or just the next city over — the people living there step out of the abstract and into the light of your mind’s eye. Do this enough and you begin to grasp the connection between all peoples. We’re all one family. So yes, there’s practically no higher calling than global exploration.
6. Does the world shrink or expand when you explore someplace new?
Or does travel do both — shrink borders and dissolve cultural misunderstandings while expanding the endless opportunities the world offers?
7. Which travel memory will burn brightest 20 years from now?
Starting a spontaneous dance party in Patagonia under the brightest stars you’ve ever seen? Sandboarding in Namibia down giant orange dunes? Dancing in the streets of Barcelona until sunrise on New Year’s Eve?
8. Can you be a traveler in your hometown?
Being a traveler simply means being an explorer, and we owe it to the world to explore no matter where we are. Try one of the new specials at a restaurant where you’ve ordered the same thing for six years, or take a different route home. When you think you know a place, you stop seeing it.
9. If you could pick one superpower to have while traveling, what would it be?
Time travel? Flight? Unlimited space in your suitcase?
10. How do you know when you’re in the right place at the right time?
Hint: If you’re somewhere that makes you feel excited, nervous, ecstatic, homesick, and curious all at the same time, you’re probably just where you need to be.
11. What will your future self think of the decisions you make today?
As they say, “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” Remember: Your future self is depending on you.
12. What does travel feel like?
Waking up the first morning of your trip and momentarily forgetting where you are. Taking in that first new smell in a foreign city. Being able to hold a decent conversation in French with your cab driver for the first time. The airplane door closing for your first solo trip abroad…
13. Do you develop new personas when you visit new places?
Travel encourages you to adapt yourself to your surroundings, whether it’s being peaceful when visiting a Buddhist temple in Thailand, adventurous when gallivanting around Queenstown in New Zealand, thoughtful when walking through the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, or becoming the next Michelin-starred chef after taking a cooking class in Cusco.
14. How do you blaze a trail without leaving a trace?
We all know to choose the path less traveled. But to keep that path pristine, we need to minimize our impact on the world around us. How can you leave a place better off than when you found it?
15. Do the gaps in your resume make you proud?
If only your potential employer was as impressed with your ability to drive a stick shift in the middle of the Outback — dodging emus all the way — as you are.
16. How many of life’s best moments are planned?
Spontaneous course corrections through Southeast Asia, touring a village in the Sacred Valley to sightsee and staying for almost two months, saying yes to the sedan for sale in someone’s front yard in Australia? Travel doesn’t like to be controlled. Open up and let go.
17. When does the word “foreign” begin to lose its meaning?
Travel often enough, and you’ll begin to see that the only truly “foreign” thing about far-flung places is you. To everyone else there, it’s home.
18. How can you love a place you’ve never been to?
*Scrolls through endless Instagram accounts to add to the ever-growing list of places to visit*
19. Can you truly know your own country without leaving it?
Travel abroad has a funny way of forcing you to see your home with fresh eyes. It’s as if the bubble you’ve been living in your whole life has been popped and you’re now able to observe your own culture as everyone else does.
20. If life is a question, how do you answer “yes”?
Get out there. It’s that simple.