Ask The Travel Coach: Keeping The Dream Alive – Staying Inspired During Travel Prep

Lost in the Mail, Planning — By on March 27, 2012 at 3:00 am

waiting to travelWelcome back to our info-packed monthly feature, Ask the Travel Coach! Life Sabbatical Coach Tara Russell has joined the Lost Girls team to act as our resident Travel Coach in Residence to answer questions from readers on topics from saving for travel to taking a career sabbatical. Readers, submit questions here, and your question might be answered in next month’s column! Here’s February’s question, with a focus on planning for travel.


Hi Tara,
I’m a recent college graduate in the process of preparing for a long-term RTW trip and I need your help!  When I first made the decision to pursue this dream, I was really excited but now I feel like I’m in a bit of a rut because of how much longer I have to wait before I can take off. (Because of my need to save and plan, my departure date is still at least 18 months away and it feels like I have soooooo far to go!)  Do you have any advice for staying motivated and inspired, even if your trip isn’t just around the corner? 
– Emily D., Santa Fe, NM 
Tara’s Response:
Hi Emily,
Thanks so much for the great question!  You’ve hit on an issue that almost all global-vagabonds-in-training need to deal with at some point during their travel preparations, so rest assured that you’re not alone.  Here are some pre-travel tips that will hopefully help you stay motivated and excited about your trip during the run-up to your RTW journey! 
Be A Stranger In A Not-So-Strange Town
Connect to your adventure spirit by playing ‘local tourist’ in your home town.  Take an urban hike, visit a nearby museum or get out of your comfort zone by visiting a neighborhood that you’ve never been to before.  Think of all the amazing things right in your backyard that you take for granted because of their familiarity and then get out there and start appreciating! 
Mix It Up
Sometimes it’s the little things that keep us fired up when we have a big goal to accomplish.  Just like using a “workout mix” to get through your cardio routine at the gym, a “road trip mix” can help you stay motivated to work through your pre-travel to-do list.  Compile a list of all of the songs that either remind you of wonderful travel experiences from your past or get you dreaming of future adventures, plug in those ear buds in and get recharged about the amazing trip you have in the works. 
Get A Taste For The Road
Frequenting ethnic restaurants in the run-up to your departure date can be a great way to stay motivated during the planning process as well as to meet people from the countries you hope to visit.  Get curious about the owners’ experiences and open up a conversation – where is their home town?  What do they love most about their country?  What sights and cultural experiences do they consider “must see” back home?  Not only do you have the opportunity to walk away with a delicious meal but you may also get some of your greatest travel tips and make some new friends in the process!     
Take It For A Test Drive
Sometimes when the travel bug hits, you just need to get the heck out of Dodge for a bit.  It may be months (or even years) before you can leave for “The Big Trip” but if you have itchy feet and just need a break, consider taking a shorter trip (maybe two or three weeks) to satiate your wanderlust and also get an idea of how you prefer to be on the road.  Not only will it give your travel inspiration a shot in the arm but can be great research for your RTW odyssey.    
Find Your People
Sometimes you just have to find people who get what you’re going through.  Find fellow travelers in your community and connect with them in any way you can – share your plans and your excitement (as well as the fact that you’re feeling in a bit of a rut right now) and lean into a supportive community that will help you reconnect to your vision and remember why travel matters to you.  Stumped about where to start?  Go to and search for “travel” in your area to see what groups are out there.  (And if there isn’t one close to you, start one!)  *A special note for those readers close to the San Francisco Bay Area, I’d love to see you at the San Francisco Travel Book Club and Lectures Series!* 
How do YOU stay inspired when preparing for your travels?  (Have any favorite tracks on your “Road Trip Mix” or great restaurants where you’ve become friends with the owners?)  Share your thoughts in the Comments section!
Tara Russell, CPCC, CDC is a “Life Sabbatical & Long-term Travel Coach” – a Certified Life and Career Coach with a passion for working with clients who dream of taking time off to travel, live, work, study or volunteer abroad. As the Founder and President of Three Month Visa Coaching and Consulting, her mission is to empower her clients to transform their lives (and ultimately the world at large), through meaningful international travel experiences.  She is widely considered to be a national thought leader on the topics of career breaks and travel sabbaticals and has been featured in myriad online and print media outlets including New York Magazine, USA Today Travel, The Huffington Post, Travel & Leisure, The Christian Science Monitor and If you’re ready to take your travel dreams down off the shelf and make them happen, contact Tara  TODAY – she’ll get you off the couch and on the plane!
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