Tranticipation: Defining the Joys of Trip Anticipation

Time to put on my travelin' hat
Time to put on my travelin’ hat

Tranticipation (noun): a made-up word formed as an amalgamation of the words ‘trip’ and ‘anticipation’ designed to define the often intangible feelings of hope and positive expectation that precede a trip abroad. 

For those of you who have followed this blog for awhile (or read my book You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper), you know by now that I have a penchant for inserting my own made-up vocabulary to describe various aspects of the travel process (for a somewhat exaggerated example, see the post Maximization and Other Made-Up Travel Philosophies). As I near the homestretch before embarking on my latest voyage to Scandinavia, Italy and the Netherlands, I again find myself needing to invent terms in order to explain the oh-too-subtle-nuances of a travel junkie about to get a fix. If you know what I mean (or would like to) read on for the what, where, and how that makes tranticipation such a desirable experience – even if I only made up the term this morning.

What’s In Store?

There are always a lot of ‘whats’ that stoke my tranticipation before leaving on a trip. In this case, some of the whats that are busying my mind are: What will Sweden really be like on the summer solstice? Will I ever be able to eat a Swedish meatball, fish or walk into an IKEA without being reminded of the time I will have spent there? If I duck into the kitchen of a restaurant in Gothenburg, will the (presumably) Swedish chef really be a crooning clown with a ridiculous accent, or have the Muppets been lying to me all along?

There are so many open-ended questions; so many answers to be discovered that can only be satisfactorily resolved by actually embarking on the voyage and exploring the multiverse of possibility firsthand. And that’s just for my first night!

Where’s It Gonna Be?

Inevitably, in every voyage, there is that one place where you’re taken by surprise at how lovely/interesting/fascinating/insert-favorite-adjective-here a location can be. Usually it’s someplace you didn’t even expect. Acute tranticipation has me wondering where in the next few weeks that place will be. Will it be at some random lookout point over the Norwegian fjords? Will it be sitting at a terrace with a bottle of wine on the Amalfi Coast? Or perhaps strolling across the quaint canals of Amersterdam?

The fact is, there’ s no way to pinpoint that amazing place ahead of time. That means that half the fun is discovering where on the trip that inevitable moment decides to reveal itself. Tranticipation indeed.

How Will This Play Out

You never know how a trip will go before leaving home. The same can be said – and more – about how a trip will affect you even after you return. For instance, I find myself wondering how I will view New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park – which at this  moment in time is what I consider the most beautiful place on earth – after being exposed to its more famous counterparts in the far northern hemisphere. Will I have a new favorite?

I wonder how I will feel about the magnificent Italian island of Ponza now that I return for a third time, though under very different circumstances than the previous visits. Will it still seem a home away from home for me, or have my travels since then eroded my emotional ties to the place?

Such uncertainty breeds tranticipation, which as mentioned before, can only be sated by the act of traveling. So as I head off for Europe, perhaps you too can relate to the sensations described here, even if you didn’t know what it was called. And I also hope that you too get the chance to add your own definitions, as I set out to expand my own.

Is there an aspect of tranticipation that you feel before a trip? Please share by commenting below.

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No More Excuses! Why it’s Time For You to Travel – An Excerpt from You Can Keep Your Adventure. Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper

pr-planeIn anticipation of the upcoming release of my travel guide You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper, I have modified the penultimate chapter to give you a taste of the kind of insight (and humor) you can expect.

Just a brief word of caution, I’m going to be blunt: Get out of your chair!!!

“But, wait!” you might say, followed by any number of excuses with varying degrees of legitimacy. I don’t want to hear it. If you’ve been following this blog that means you’re fully informed and therefore no longer unaware of all that you’re missing. Hear me out as I break down your excuses with both how and why it’s time for you to start traveling.

I Don’t Have Enough Money to Travel

Do you honestly think anything so lame as money would stop a real traveler from traveling? Granted, how and in what style you travel is dictated by your finances; but it should never be the determining factor to go or not go. So you don’t have much money; big deal! Most of my adult life I was just above the financial waterline myself. The key is in setting priorities. For example, which will mean more to you in another ten years – a new TV or that cruise you booked for a steal? By keeping your burdens as light as possible and setting aside a little at a time, most people this side of the poverty line can at least do something.

If money is really tight – and believe me; I know what that feels like – why not try something of short duration and close to home? Can’t afford an air ticket? Take the train or do a road trip. Maybe it’s not as exotic as you would like, but it can still encapsulate all that is good about the act of traveling; and the deposit in your memory bank will be greater than the withdrawal from your real one.

I Don’t Have Time to Travel

I’ve got one word for you – lame! Nobody has enough time to do everything they want to do, so it again comes down to priorities. Just as you would drop your loose change into a jar, scrounge up as many vacation days as you can. Budget your time so that you can steal away – even if it’s just for a weekend. No one says you have to spend half a year backpacking through Asia. I myself have never been away longer than three and a half weeks at a clip. It’s not the quantity but the quality the counts, just as it does in every other aspect of life. If traveling is really something you want to do, you will find the time to do it. I know you’re busy; I am too, but that still doesn’t count as a valid excuse. Nice try, though.

I Don’t Know How to Plan a Trip

I believe you. With so many options and variables, even those who work in the industry sometimes feel like their head is about to explode. But no one is saying you have to do it all yourself. Find yourself a knowledgeable travel agent or talk to someone who knows the drill. For example, this blog is full of ideas and advice. If you lack confidence, start with something small; a cruise, a road trip, an all-inclusive. Once you recognize that you’re a reasonably intelligent human being and that this isn’t advanced Quantum Physics, your confidence and sense of adventure can only grow.

I’m Scared

I’m not going to patronize you and say that there’s nothing to be worried about. The world is a scary, unstable place. But you know what? The same is true where you live. To overcome your fears you have to first learn why you have them. I realize this might be unpleasant. Finding the root of your fears is like giving a prostate exam – uncomfortable even if you do manage to put your finger on it. Still, all it takes is to realize that the benefits far outweigh the risk, and much like that exam, it will leave you with greater peace of mind.

Traveling is a Hassle. I’d Rather Just Read About It

OK, it’s time for me to pull out the big guns. Let me tell you about the best meal I’ve ever eaten. It was in the restaurant of a tiny hotel overlooking a valley on the Italian island of Ponza. First came the antipasto – a delicious medley of fresh olives and cheese bathed in a light drizzle of olive oil. Next came the rice balls and potato croquettes. After that the waiter brought out a heaping dish of linguini with shrimp topped by a dusting of fresh-ground parmesan cheese. Finally, after well over an hour of eating, came the main course – baked swordfish that was caught just that morning. I’d describe it further but it’s hard to see through all the tears welling up in my eyes at the memory alone. Suffice to say it was fabulous, especially when washed down by salad, dessert and a potent bottle of the local wine.

Now why would I torture you (and myself) by describing in great detail this delicious feast? To illustrate the downside of living solely through description. Maybe with lots of effort I can convey the crispiness of the rice balls; the soft texture of the pasta; the heady flavor of the wine that was likely bottled right there in the basement – but I can tell you truthfully; it doesn’t compare to actually experiencing it firsthand.

Have I made my point? Travel is the same thing. You can read about the Taj Mahal, but witnessing it in person is a whole different animal. I can tell you about how charming the Brazilian town of Parati can be, but until you’ve walked those uneven cobblestone streets bathed in half-light to the sound of a street musician, it’s all just theoretical. I know traveling can be a hassle – nobody likes being on a plane for long stretches of time – but it still doesn’t replace making the scenes you’ve heard described here your own.

I’m a Quadriplegic with Anxiety Disorders Chained to a Radiator in the Basement

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this exact same excuse (actually, I can) but if this is you, I will readily concede that your excuse is valid. In fact I really hope that you’ve enjoyed this post. From the sound of things, it doesn’t seem like you’ve got much else going for you.

Though I’m sure there are many more excuses you can come up with, I don’t have time to address them all. I think that in all things, anyone actively looking for an excuse can find one. I don’t feel any particular rancor toward those that do. I just feel kind of sad. Along with relationships, experiences are among the most valuable things a person can ever have. Missing out on that great adventure is akin to never meeting a person that would one day be one of your dearest friends. So don’t let that happen to you. I know your chair is comfy. I know you might already be in your PJ’s. Just start making your travel plans and leave the excuses for someone else – because I’m not buying them.

If you haven’t already done so, check out the preview of You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper by clicking here and stay tuned to this blog for more release details.