People often seem incredulous when they discover how much I’ve travelled. Would you like to know my secret? Well, first of all, I’ve been fortunate enough to create some opportunities through travel writing. But the second (and more sustainable) reason is that I’m hyper-aware that procrastination is the ultimate enemy of travel.
Once upon a time I interviewed guidebook writer/tv host Rick Steves and we discussed this topic. I recall him saying something to the effect of “people will complain they have no money to travel, then they’ll turn around and spend $2000 on a new couch.” This resonated with me, because it is a reminder that you ultimately have the power. Travel is almost always the result of priorities, NOT circumstance.
If I hear someone say “maybe next year…” I would bet money on the fact that they won’t go. Why “next year?” if you have the time, money and health to do it sooner? To me, “next year” is not a plan, it’s an excuse.
Thus, I’m grateful that my mom has suddenly taken to seizing the day in her travel life. Last year, you may recall that we went to England together to research some ancestral roots. This year, with minimal advance planning, she generously brought me and my two brothers to Newfoundland to visit Elliston, the small fishing village on the Bonavista Peninsula where her own grandmother grew up.
“We have to do it now, because who knows where you’ll all be in a year?” she said.
We could have made excuses. We could have put it off. Some of us waffled – we all have projects going and could we afford to take the time off?
In the end, we committed in spite of the myriad excuses that were available to all of us. And thanks to that, we now have shared memories of the following:
- Seeing 200-year-old gravestones of our relatives, who were amongst the founding families in Elliston.
- Visiting Coles Gulch and standing on the flake (see the pic of the wooden platform by the sea) where several generations of our people, the Oldfords processed cod.
- Paying homage to a relative that froze to death in the 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster.
- Taking a boat to ghost villages and learning about old way of life on a Rugged Beauty Boat Tour.
- Eating a Jiggs Dinner at Nanny’s Root Cellar Kitchen.
- Meeting cousins we didn’t even know existed in Elliston!
- Learning about the root cellars where our ancestors kept their vegetables during the brutal winter months.
So, nostalgic friends, the next time you find yourself on the verge of saying “maybe next year,” I urge you to swallow those words and channel them into action. Memory-making, life-seizing action.