Travel Tips Part I
This post is going to be a little bit different. I’ve had a lot of people recently ask me how Gustavo and I plan our trips so I thought I would give everyone a little advice and some insight as to how and why we do it all.
The first thing that Gustavo and I do is promise ourselves and each other that we will go on a trip. To me making that commitment is the biggest step. You can have plans in place and dreams for future travels, but none of it can happen unless you find the courage to simply go.
Nothing is impossible if you put in time, effort, and work. We save money whenever we can. That means sacrificing things both big and small. We also budget our travels. I have never gone somewhere not knowing how much I was going to spend. Planning ahead can seem tedious at times, but it will definitely help save money and force you to stick to a budget.
The next question that so many people ask me is how we find all of the places we go, and what inspires our adventures.
Our first road trip sort of came about by chance. Gustavo and I didn’t really have any plans once he accepted the internship at Anderson Ranch. Originally we had discussed flying to Spain in May and hiking El Camino de Santiago which is a Pilgrimage that goes across northern Spain. I did not want to go alone as it was something we wanted to accomplish together and so a new plan was created.
We visited Barnes and Noble on a random Friday after class. I wandered over to the Travel Section and began browsing. A friend of our was getting married in Sacramento in a few weeks and my family and Gustavo’s family were attending the wedding. I would like to think that is what made me pick up the book that became our guide over the next few months. The Golden Gate Bridge is depicted on the front and I remember being very excited because we would be seeing it soon. Once it was in my hands I started flipping through it. It is called Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip, by Moon Travel Guides. As I began reading passages about the different cities and scenic stops along the coast I grew excited. The book said that the best time to complete the drive was early fall because that is when the crowds are light and suddenly it felt like fate.
Gustavo would be finishing up at the Ranch at the beginning of September. From there we could go on this trip. I showed Gustavo and I could see the excitement on his face. We initially thought we should just do part of it, but then after buying the book, leaving the store and arriving home, we came to the conclusion that we might as well do the entire thing from Seattle, WA to San Diego, CA. At the time we weren’t sure when we would have the chance to do another trip this big. And from there our longest journey on the road was born.
Again, at this stage, it was nothing but an idea and the amount we had to do felt overwhelming until we actually began doing it. The research came next and we actually had a lot of fun with it. On days when we had nothing planned and school or work wasn’t taking up our time we would flip through the book and plan our route, highlight places that interested us and skip the ones that didn’t. From there we turned to Instagram. Searching locations to get a sense of what we would be seeing. Gustavo and I both follow a lot of really great Instagram accounts that highlight travel. @travisburkephotography page was a big help when it came to finding spots that we wanted to photograph or visit along the way.
The important thing to realize is that there is so much out there. You don’t have to only see the popular destinations to make a trip unforgettable. I’ve told people before that even though we saw National Parks like Yosemite, Death Valley, Yellowstone and cities like Seattle, San Francisco, and LA my favorite location on the trip was Big Four Ice Caves in Washington State. It’s not even on the PCH, but when I saw images of the caves on Travis Burke’s Instagram I knew we had to make the detour there. We had the entire forest and caves to ourselves during our early morning hike. It’s the places you’ve never heard of that tend to surprise you, take your breath away and make you feel like you are entirely in another part of the world.
When we first started planning trips we always wanted to go abroad, we felt that “real traveling” meant being in a different country. Looking back we were so naive. Even though the United States is our home, we were missing out on so much of the beauty that this country has to offer. Still after traveling across our home country a few times we have barely scratched the surface. My point is, you don’t need to take a trip to a faraway land to call yourself a traveler or to see spectacular sites. Honestly, try getting into a car and driving, see where you end up I promise there’s something to be found and adventures to be had wherever you go even if it’s close to home.
I think one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to travel is that it's all about having fun in these cools places, eating different foods, and having the time of your life. I can't speak for everyone but for us, it’s much more than that. Of course, we have fun but it’s also a lot of work. We use these trips to build our portfolios and we definitely do not travel luxuriously. As people have seen in my other posts, we often sleep in the car, eat cold cans of soup, get lost, have arguments, and miss out on places because our plans don’t always work out the way we hoped they would. All you can do is make the best out of the situation you are in, and embrace the uncertainty. After all, travel is often messy, it's often hard, scary, discouraging, and infuriating, but the best things in life are never easy and what is portrayed in photos isn't always the truth. Just remember when things get tough stick with it, that's half the adventure.
My last piece of advice to those of you who want to get out there and explore is to do it for yourself. It’s more rewarding when you take a trip or go to a destination for the sake of bettering yourself as a person. Travel will expose you to different cultures, it will push you out of your comfort zone, and you will learn more than you ever could in a classroom by immersing yourself somewhere you’ve never been. But if you are traveling for the photograph, or the social media post travel won’t be fulfilling. Trust me when I say this for we have gone places for both of these reasons.
We post most of our trips on social media, but I won’t be the first one to tell you that this isn’t necessary. You can find even more happiness and fulfillment in taking a journey purely for your own self discovery. So go…go explore, and go learn about yourself along the way. The world has so much to say to each of us and travel allows everyone to take the time to listen. As cliche as it sounds it’s all about the journey and not the destination.