Wanderlust: there’s never been a more descriptive word. It perfectly encapsulates the lure of travel planning, the dreamy visions of faraway locations. Poring over glossy STA Travel brochures gazing at places with exotic, evocative names and thinking of all the vibrant cultures I’ve yet to visit. Endlessly scrolling through city guides online, scribbling down art galleries and museums and recommended historic walks. Zooming in on criss-crossing roads and expanses of greenery as I try to decide what cities would be best to visit on an interrailing trip around Europe.
There’s something about travel planning that I just can’t get enough of. Maybe it’s the invigorating thought of actually visiting the place I’ve spent so long researching; maybe it’s the act of feeling like I’m taking my life under control, going somewhere that I’ve always wanted to go. But nothing, apart from picking up a fresh new book, gets me quite as excited as planning a new trip. Whether it’s a country trip only an hour away from Glasgow; a weekend break to my favourite city, London; or a holiday much further afield, it’s an opportunity for discovery, the chance to fall in love with a new kind of beauty and experience a different kind of local history. There’s nothing quite like planning a trip that you’ve long dreamed about, seeing your hazy daydreams transformed into reality. A jaunt through the Alps on my way from Italy to Paris? Why on earth not?! Another country, another city, ticked off the travel bucket list.
I’m quite new to this whole wanderlust thing – only three years ago I was completely ambivalent as to where I went on holiday with my friends – but now it’s become an obsession, happily fuelled by gorgeous filtered photos on Pinterest; travel blogs full of advice on how you too can travel the world; and my never-ending list of places I want to visit. Current inspiration right now: New York City, as always, and the northern provinces of India. It’s a fascination that seemingly half the world shares: I wrote a blog post about my travels to Javea a few days ago, and ended up with four times as much views as any of my other posts, a sure sign of how travel writing and photography has never been more popular.
There’s the worrisome feeling that, with my insatiable appetite for lists and planning, the novelty of the bucket list might overtake the novelty of actually being in the moment. But that’s never happened before: the real thing is almost invariably better than any heavily Instagrammed photo. Right now I’m planning trips to Cologne and York, looking at travel costs, accommodation prices and places of historical and touristy interest; practical tasks that would usually bore me were they not concerned with the discovery of unvisited, unexplored cities. The preparation takes over successive afternoons but it’s well worth the effort just to feel the sun on your face; to glance around an unfamiliar destination and be surrounded by a place full of untested possibility.
Considering the speedy rate to which I am adding to my ever-growing travel bucket list – everything from grand European cities to the sun-soaked fringes of Asia; the ancient monuments of the Middle East to the golden beaches of the Mediterranean – and the fact that, on the budget of a full-time student, I’m only managing to visit two or three places a year, it’s inevitable that I won’t visit all the beautiful places I’ve seen scattered about Pinterest or travel blogs. But there are plenty that I can, and I honestly can’t wait!