Day 1 of Boots N All’s 30 Days of Indie Travel – Topic: Goals

What were your travel goals last year? Did you accomplish them? What travel goals do you hope to accomplish this year?

I’ ve had a travel goal ever since I started traveling. Initially my first trip overseas was inspired by people around me who had done study abroad programs or were fortunate enough to have family vacations to Europe. Their descriptions of traveling stirred my imagination that it wasn’t before long that I was daydreaming of making a trip myself. At the time I was working a factory job with long hours and during the winter of 2000 I had gotten enough of being depressed in a dead end job. One day I walked into the living room of my apartment and asked my roommate if she wanted to take a trip to England and Ireland, she said yes and the next day I gave my two weeks notice. We took the trip a couple months later and ever since I’ve sworn to leave the country on a trip at least once a year.

My travel goals each year are generally flexible, as long as I go somewhere I’m happy however, the more budget friendly the better. Last year the goal was accomplished by going to Belize. While not the most travel budget friendly place in Central America we managed to keep expenses down by using Couch Surfing on the mainland and staying on Caye Caulker (the more backpacker friendly island) as opposed to the island of San Pedro. Belize had a lot of very cool things to offer, from the Mayan ruins of Caracol to the blue beaches of the Carribean. Caye Caulker was very low key and the 4 days we had there were enough to get a good flavor of the islands three main streets. We spent most of the time hanging out reading, drinking rum punch down at the Lazy Lizard bar and cruising up and down the main street deciding which street food we’d eat.

My travel goal this year was accomplished in May, this time the destination was Colombia and Panama. While still not the cheapest places to visit they were definitely inexpensive, especially once you got out of Panama City.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The main place we stayed was Boquete, a couple hours away from the Costa Rican border.                                 Boquete is located up in the mountains so it has a much cooler climate than Panama City as well as being a lot more green. Boquete’s climate makes it ideal for coffee growing and while taking a self guided tour around the area we got to stop at a great public garden called Mi Jardin Es Su Jardin, and right down the street pause at one of the many coffee plantations in Boquete. Panama City reminded me of Miami but halfway through it’s construction. While there was a lot of history in Panama city the oppressive heat of May made walking around taking in the site get a bit challenging after awhile. Luckily our hostel had a great happy hour and we were perfectly happy to spend time hanging out there meeting people from all over and exchanging travel stories.

In Colombia we visited Cartagena, and if you’re going to Colombia at any time this has to be one of the cities you stop in. I fell in love with the layout of the streets, the flowers hanging from the old wooden second story balconies, the old city walls and the street vendors everywhere selling anything from food to sunglasses. Cartagena has both a beautiful old town and the more modern section of Boca Grande with the type of setup as you’d find in Waikiki. Most of the time was spent in the old town wandering the streets, eating arepas from the food stands and watching daily life unfold. It’s amazing what you can find just letting your feet take you nowhere in particular. We walked through the Getsemani neighborhood and stumbled upon a baseball tournament that was happening, which would be unusual except for the fact that it was being played in the street. It was one of the highlights for me, just hanging out on a wall taking in a neighborhood scene. It wasn’t the cathedrals that got me, or the striking buildings, it wasn’t even being able to walk around a gorgeous city, it was the ability to be so far from home and inserting yourself into neighborhood life in a different culture and not feeling out of place.

Next year the travel goal is Nicaragua, I’m not sure what to expect with it since we’ve just started planning but I’m already excited.. The big travel goal for the year after that however is to strap on my backpack, say good bye to the daily grind and start the RTW trip that I’ve been dreaming about for years. I can’t see the world two weeks at a time, and you never know how much time this world has given you, hopefully it’s enough to save up the money and let me be able to reach my biggest travel goal yet!

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2 Comments

  1. Great post!

    I hope you achieve your RTW goal!
    My tip for it is Patagonia! It’s a magical place, full of strong landscapes, fiordes, mountais, snow, fields…you shoul really go there!!! But go between november and april, when is hotter and the field trips are open! Also, in January you should consider Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, it’s also a magical place, I’ve been researching it for months and decided to go there. When you see the pictures of the place you will see why is a must go!

    Regards

  2. I’ll have to check out your recommendation for Bolivia, several people I’ve talked to highly recommend making a stop there a definite must. Patagonia does seem very cool. I’m hoping to make several months of the RTW trip take place in S. and Central America. This next trip to Nicaragua is pretty exciting and it’s not quite as well traveled compared to some of the other countries in that area.


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