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Friday, April 18, 2008

Fueling those feelings of anticipation

The anticipation of travel can sometimes be as pleasurable as the journey itself. Okay, well not quite. But for some of us, it comes close. And you've got to admit it can be fun, getting excited about the thought of going away, selecting the destinations, planning an itinerary, and making your bookings. If you read my blog you know I'm an admirer of Alain de Botton's writing and have posted about his thoughts on travel and anticipation before, about how a simple image of palm trees on a holiday brochure can have us longing to be on a beach. Australian travel writer Kim Wildman is also a fan and is currently preparing for a round-the-world-trip taking her to South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, London, Jamaica, Cuba, New Mexico, and Fiji! It's work, obviously - she's writing some guidebooks among other projects - but I love seeing people (even professional travel writers who do it for a living) getting so excited about the prospect of travelling. On a recent post, The Anticipation of Travel, on her blog Wild About Travel + Writing, Kim wrote a list of ways to fuel that sense of anticipation: buy a calendar (circle the departure date and countdown to take-off!), make a list (of must-do's, things to pack, what to buy etc), buy a guidebook (or two or three!), learn the lingo (the ten language basics are enough for starters), get cultural (immerse yourself in the place through books and movies), and read the local papers (It's something I do when I'm researching a book, but what a great idea to get us curious about a place for a holiday too). Take a look at Kim's blog out for the full list. I'm going to come up with a few more ideas in the meantime...


Kim Wildman said...

Hey Lara, Thanks for the shout out! I have just over two weeks now before I leave... Starting to get to the panic stage!! I would definitely be interested in collaborating. I noticed that you are using your blog posts as part of research for a PhD, I'm very interested to hear more about what you are studying. I studied tourist images of Africa for my Masters degree, so keep thinking I should take it a step further with a PhD... One day!


Lara Dunston said...

Hi Kim, I hope you're going to keep up your blog while you're on the road?

I actually started the PhD project 9 years ago. It's called "Mobility and the Moving Image" and it's about what I think are inextricable connections between film and travel, how travel is represented on film and it's ability to inspire us to move. I put the PhD on hold to do a second Masters degree and then it stayed on hold once I got so busy writing, but I'm still developing ideas for it and resuming it formally again next year.

In the meantime, I started the blog partly as a place for me to explore ideas to do with what inspires us to travel and what's so inspiring about travel, as well as collect other thoughts and experiences that will form part of the book Terry and I are writing about our 28 months on the road - although by the time we take time off to finish the book it's going to be 3 years on the road.

I put the note up on the blog because I noticed that a Canadian journalist seems to have been so inspired by a series of my posts I wrote that she's turned them into a feature story! So I thought I'd better let people know that some of this content will be published one day!

Your degree sounds fascinating - I'd love to hear more about it - perhaps this trip will inspire you to take it further?

Anonymous said...

The anticipation is indeed great, and I'm using a lot of those strategies to help savour the excitement.

There is one major downside though - I have just less than a year to go until my trip and I'm finding it incredibly difficult to remain motivated in my job. Which isn't great, as I need the job to save the money to fund the travels!

Lara Dunston said...

Geoff, thanks for commenting. Another problem is that you might risk over-anticipating! You might build up your expectations until they become so great that you may risk being disappointed when you eventually 'arrive'. You need to make sure you maintain some balance. I'd recommend reading low-key content - history, politics, cultural stuff - to deepen your experience when you get there. But you also need to distract yourself and maintain an interest in your current life - maybe some short (cheap) weekend escapes until then? Play tourist in your own town? Or just throw yourself into your work, do lots of overtime, get a second job to save heaps of $$$ to make the best of your time when you get 'there'? That way the time will pass even faster.

Anonymous said...

I don't worry too much about the over-anticipation. I've travelled a fair amount and the sense of wonder that being in a new place gives me has never lessened at all, thankfully.

The history thing is definitely something I plan to do more of - reading Bernal Diaz's 'Conquest of New Spain' before going to Mexico for the first time was a brilliant way to prepare, and I have a whole load of books on my amazon wishlist to help fill the time between now and my departure. You have a great blog by the way.

Lara Dunston said...

Good to hear that sense of wonder hasn't disappeared! I find I get less excited about returning to destinations I've been before (such as Cyprus) unless I'm madly in love with the place, but I still get those butterflies in the plane upon landing at a new destination, when you wonder what's outside.

Where are you going BTW?

And thank you re the blog! Much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think you're right re. returning to destinations you've been to before, except the ones you love - I never get bored of returning to Berlin, for example. In fact I still get excited every time I get off the plane back home in London, and that's after living here for 15 years!

I'm still very much in the planning stages - roughly 6 months in Latin America and 6 months in Asia, but the details are still very much up in the air.

I think Mexico, Guatemala, Peru & Bolivia are pretty likely to feature on the american side, and the Phillipines, Laos & Cambodia on the asian side. Other than that I'm still reading lots of blogs and am still very much open to suggestions!

Anonymous said...

Over anticipation is becoming a problem for me, so I'll take your advice Lara.

The concept of over anticipating is a major part of my relocation process :-)

Lara Dunston said...

Yes, over anticipation is a dangerous thing. It often leads to disappointment.