While we are out hiking the Camino de Santiago for the next few months, we’ll be featuring weekly house sitters here on our digital home. If you are interested in guest posting contact Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can read all about our adventures on El Camino here.
In theory, any of us can go anywhere, at any time. But when you can go anywhere, how do you decide where to go? It’s a wonderful problem to have, but if you don’t come up with a solution, you’ll never go anywhere (or will end up somewhere you didn’t want to be)!
It can be just as much of a challenge to decide where to go on a one-week vacation as it is to decide your next destination when you’re location independent and can go for as long as you want.
After nearly ten years of location independence, I have a lot of experience choosing new destinations, whether it’s for a short getaway or an extended stay. I usually start by asking myself some questions to get clear on what I’m looking for. Once I have a sense of the parameters and priorities I’m dealing with, the list gets a lot shorter, which makes it much easier to make a decision. Often, a clear winner will start to emerge rather quickly.
Here are four questions to ask yourself as you decide where to go:
What kind of experience do you want to have/what are your priorities right now?
Sometimes, pure relaxation is the focus. Other times (especially if you work for yourself), work needs to be a priority. Or, maybe you want some quality time in community with others, or to do something really adventurous. Once you know what kind of experience you’re looking for right now, consider what you need in order to have that experience. (For example, a good Internet connection is much less important if you’re focusing on relaxation instead of work, and if you are looking for community, going to a desert isle isn’t much good.)
What type of environment is best suited to that experience?
If you’re eager to experience a new culture, a big city might be your best bet. If work is the focus, a place without a lot of distractions might be better. You can relax in any number of different environments, but consider whether right now relaxation means lying on the beach, reading a book at an artsy café, or hiking through the mountains. (Or maybe all three!)
What type of climate is a good fit for that experience?
If you want to get a lot of work done, you might not mind being in a colder or more rainy environment. If the goal is beach time, look at places that are warm (and not too rainy) during the time you’re planning on being there.
What is your budget?
Whether you’re looking for big city, small town, beach, mountains, or something else entirely, there are destinations to fit every budget. Consider not just on-the-ground costs like accommodations and food, but also what it will cost to get there.
These questions helped my husband and I decide to spend most of the last year in Southeast Asia, where we were able to stick to a fairly low budget while also having opportunities to explore new cultures, focus on both relaxation and building our businesses, connect with like-minded folks, and much more.
Once you ask yourself these questions, be sure to do some more research about possible destinations so you can be sure the places you have in mind will meet your needs and priorities. Check out guidebooks as well as websites like Lonely Planet and Price of Travel for more info on destinations around the world.
Where will you go next? What other questions do you consider as you decide where to go?
Amy Scott quit her office job to travel the world in 2004 and never looked back. She now keeps a home base in Buenos Aires while she travels the world with her Argentine husband. She’s the founder of Nomadtopia, a hub of information, inspiration, community, and support for others who also want to live their ideal life, anywhere in the world. Through her other business, Nomad Editorial, she helps nonfiction writers finish their books. Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.