I am not usually one for looking back for too long. Generally just briefly to see how far I have come. And to check that I’m still in the right lane. Just as you would on your bike. A glance to the right to check around you while carrying on in a forward motion. Always moving and keeping going.
Yesterday, I did it. I looked back at my Instagram grid. I found all the beautiful photos of my foreign adventures and travels over the past few years. Barcelona, Gdansk, and Rotterdam (to name a few) and so many more filling my feed with colour, difference, and more importantly for me, memories. It was nice to see where I have been (although, it did remind me about how few I have written about! Maybe I will use this time to catch up on them and post them on a sense of looking forwards)
Looking back and looking forwards
I recently spent some time with a lovely couple of books thinking about where I would like to go and what I would like to do (travel-wise) this year. Of course, I am keeping my head screwed on and concentrating on UK travel for the time being. But that doesn’t stop me from dabbling with ideas around going further afield. In fact, we were talking about the places we would like to revisit, while out on our reverse commute this morning. Cities like Berlin, Valencia, and Den Haag were up there at the top of the list as well as Rotterdam.
In writing and researching this post, I have also realised that I don’t often go back to read my old posts. I shook off my perfectionism-itis years ago, so don’t have the worry about finding mistakes or anything (got to love an easily editable digital world) but I guess I don’t always have a need. So in light of this mediocre revelation, I will look at them! You never know, it might remind me to write some up as I start delving back into my memory banks.
Looking forwards when you can’t travel
I know a lot of fellow travel and outdoor bloggers, and friends have taken a back seat when it comes to planning trips for fear of cancellations and changes in plans. I know that it can be tough when you put the work in only to have it taken away. But I wonder whether it would be good to put in the legwork now, while we have time to ponder. Then, when everything is clear to go, we can pick up those plans and get going with them. Yes, it might be some way off and things might change, but having something down will give you a head start over the rest.
As someone who loves a good travel book and delving into the experiences and places on Atlas Obscura, I really like exploring ideas before heading out. Hard as it might be to believe with my organised chaotic approach to life and travel. I have a weird combination of organised and flow state, which works well for me (and my travel plans!)
I have also realised this year that I know a lot of people who have done some of the travel ideas I want to do. And what better way to get tips than through my friends and people sharing their advice on my blog?! This is something which is rewarding in time and in connections. Those of you who have mentioned travel ideas in response to my posts, I’m looking at you here!
Picking up on things you missed
I am sure that you, like me, come back from holidays and trips having fallen upon something interesting on your last day. The kind of place you spot on your way to the station or you suddenly discover in your guide book. Those kinds of places. I have a whopping list of things like this. Partly because I tend to take multiple short breaks and also because I keep looking once I am somewhere so am forever adding to the list.
With the non-travel time at the moment, I am enjoying looking back at my past trips. It is giving me the space I need to write a list of places I want to visit and imagine all the things I will discover. Each item gets nearly written up on a list – something which feels so tangibly nice when planning travel. These then get securely added to the flaps of paper in the appropriate guide book for nearer the time.
Choosing to plan
While looking back at your past holidays, jaunts and trips, remember the good times. Use the activity as a means to fuel your passion for travel planning and to help you focus on the bits you want to be doing when you do get there again. I really recommend not trying to put a date on when that might be and instead immerse yourself in enjoying the process.
I really have enjoyed looking back at my trips from the past few years. Even the little local ones I managed to do in 2020 – yes, even the ones to neighbouring districts. Looking back and looking forwards in this way has helped me to discover the things I love about travel. The areas I should be looking for when I am making my plans. Informing my future trips, whether they are a return to the same place or to discover somewhere new.
I love the oddball, the quirky, and the things that you don’t find in the regular travel guides. But, I also enjoy learning about an area. So for me, I will be filling up on guide books as I plan my trips (for some point in the future) and reaching out to build my community around the world. Getting to know people and finding out more about the secret parts of the places on my destination list. It’s an exciting time and something I am really looking forward to getting stuck into.