7 Ways to Make Your Travel More Meaningful

We like the idea of Meaningful Travel. To us, “meaningful” travel includes happy birthdays, recharging your batteries, and visits to grandmama as well as investigating music, history, and culture. It’s an investment in curiosity and longings of the soul. During Meaningful Travel, your heart vibrates to a higher frequency and the sparkle in your eyes is electric.    

1. Read Books About Travel

Like travel, books transport us, open our minds to new perspectives. They teach and persuade us. Our president Alex Ramsey voraciously reads. Ask your All Aboard Travel Advisor for a list of our ever-growing curated list of
outstanding books that you might enjoy and will make your meaningful travel richer and more fun. From murder mysteries set in provincial France to memoirs about a female Chinese chef who makes a most unusual bet, our lists cover all tastes and levels of depth. For more Meaningful Travel, read at least one book related to your trip before or after your journey.

> Shop our list of travel books (coming soon!)

2. Can You Say a Few Words?

Even learning a few words, such as thank you or hello will bring a smile and warm feeling to everyone you meet. You don’t have to go for the entire language, although it can be fun to learn more if you approach it the best way.Long ago, when discovering her path in life, our president Alex Ramsey spent two years teaching Spanish at a well-known private school, where she was mum about a deep, dark secret. Tongue-tied, she couldn’t speak it! Able to pronounce almost like a native, she bluffed her way through until her language skills caught up with her job description. She could read and write almost perfectly, and was an ace on the rules of grammar, but speak it? What a stressful time! 

Long after she moved on to other adventures, Alex later discovered the “tricks” to learning languages, ones no teacher or program ever provided. These techniques more accurately mimic how a child actually learns starting before birth. Using them, she learned to pick up a conversational knowledge of French, Italian, and German; because those are her favorite places to visit. 

For more Memorable Travel, at the very least, learn to say hello and thank you in the language of your destination. Oh, and it helps to know what the citizens call their country. (The Japanese do not call their country Japan, for example.) “Where’s the bathroom” is usually so evident from your body language, no words required.

3. Vow to Turn off Your Phone

You can do it: Put your phone down. Open your eyes. Smell the smells. Feel the breeze on your arms. Listen to the sounds all around you. And put the phone down. Here’s a game you can play called Find 9 For Every 1. Every time you start to pick up your phone, first look around you and make a list on your fingers of nine things you notice about the people and place where you are. Sounds, sights, smells, all are great places to start. What are people wearing? How are they interacting with one another? Notice the trees, the flowers, the cars. There is so much to see and observe. Oh, and did you say? Put your phone down! 

4. Immerse Yourself In the Culture

Do something you might not normally do at home. One of the most memorable experiences I ever had was being in Madrid and taking a Flamenco lesson with a small group of gringos at a famous Flamenco school. The teacher, a seasoned dancer and vocalist, met with us along with an accomplished Flamenco guitarist. They first gave us context for the artform and provided examples. Then, we learned a few steps. It opened my eyes and ears to the intricacies and magic of the genre unlike any experience imaginable. Memorable Travel includes experiences you wouldn’t have otherwise.  

5. Every Trip Has An Arc

For Memorable Travel, it helps when you embrace the idea that every trip is better when you recognize there is a beginning, middle, and end. Every day has a beginning, middle, and end, that is, when it is well-planned. Just as you would not begin most meals with chocolate cake and then proceed to soup and steak, a well-designed trip enhances your experience and creates a flow. The benefit of this flow maximizes your enjoyment. Good design also minimizes the negatives such as traveler fatigue, confusion, and unnecessary discomfort. This is one of the arts all great travel advisors have mastered. They anticipate the challenges of travel flow and design and work carefully to smooth kinks and kerfuffles. 

6. Study the Maps

Where’s your globe? Where are your maps? Did you really think that paltry thing on your smart phone takes the place of a map? In the marvelous Pulitzer-prize winning book All The Light We Cannot See, a French widower, worried that his daughter who is going blind will be helpless getting around Paris were something to happen to him, builds a scale model of their neighborhood and has her memorize it. How often have you traveled and been blind to where you are? You will get more out of every experience when you understand your surroundings and give your travel geographic context.  

7. What's the Story Behind The Story?

There is always a story behind every story wherever you travel. When you learn about the history and background of a place, all manner of details in life, things you may never have considered, fall into place like pieces of a jigsaw. Any bit is better than nothing. For example, did you know that the father of the famous French author Alexander Dumas who wrote The Count of Monte Cristo was born a negro slave in Haiti? The elder Dumas’ French father, Alexander’s grandfather, brought the youngster to France. Once he stepped on French soil, he became a free man, entered the military, and became so illustrious a soldier that the great Napoleon imprisoned him. Thus, the seeds for the famous book. Among the many relevant points to consider is the fact that much of France’s great wealth was built on the backs of slaves growing, harvesting, and processing sugar cane in the Caribbean. So where did the great French kings come up with the cash for those castles? In the Caribbean. In one simple storyline, there is more of a great than you might otherwise imagine.  

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3811 Turtle Creek #608 , Dallas, Texas 75219

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