When is the BEST time to travel? The answer is simple, ANYTIME. Brother Joel and I travel full-time (365 days a year). Other than our rucksacks we’re technically homeless: no city, state or country to call home. Joel writes novels and I take pictures and write this blog (photography, travel, writing, lifestyle and philosophy).
As mentioned many times before on this blog the nomadic lifestyle is not for everyone. But it works for us (most of the time). My motto (or mantra) for life has distilled to: live simple, live cheap, live free. So, back to my original question: When is the best time to travel? There are always considerations to be considered (see what I did there?) but—
This quote could easily be added to my mantra: There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing (Billy Connelly). Most people want to travel during the high season (the BEST season?). Few choose the low season and that’s a big part of why it’s the low season. Summer is typically the high season because most people take vacations during the summer months. Weather and kid’s school schedules contribute to that notion. But is that only time to travel? OF COURSE NOT.
Joel and I don’t have the financial flexibility to ricochet around like ping-pong balls. For example: we’ve spent the past 5½ years trekking Mexico, Cuba, Central America and South America. We began our journey in Yucatan, Mexico and then headed south. Eventually we couldn’t go any farther south because we came to a dead-end in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego (Argentina). Tierra del Fuego is literally the last landfall before arriving in Antarctica—mostly whales, sea lions, seals and penguins, lots of penguins. We arrived in spring and it was still bitterly cold (5 layers of clothing will attest to that).
Trekking our way down through the Americas was a once in a lifetime experience and we encountered every weather related condition imaginable. It never deterred us—we simply bundled up in the cold and shed clothing in the heat. We hit high mountains (the Andes Mountains) in the winter and deserts in the summer. We were on beaches threatened with tropical storms and even hurricanes. Of course the jungles and rainforests were always hot and humid year round but none of that really mattered. Basically we travel chronologically and geographically and not seasonally. Why am I writing about offseason travel?
Because there are some real advantages to travelling offseason: reduced airfares, reduced costs for lodging, smaller crowds flocking to the tourist attractions and more peace and quiet for leisurely enjoying your destination. Joel and I encounter these advantages accidentally and not because we plan for them. Again, we don’t have the financial wherewithal to backtrack on our routes—our routes are very directional and we get there when we get there. Throughout Latin America that route pointed us south—almost due south. We zigzagged occasionally but for the most part it was south.
On November 28th Joel and I will begin World Trek Part II (click on the link for more details). Instead of south our direction for Part II will be approximately east (with many zigzags along the way). Our first stop will be a two-week visit to Iceland. Yep—winter is just starting. But lets not be negative. We got a great price on plane tickets, our lodging is reasonable considering it’s Iceland and most of (if not all) the photographers will be gone. Iceland in recent years has become a mecca for photographers and a bucket-list destination for many travellers. I’m sure I will enjoy myself even if it is winter.
Travel (at least for us) is about adventure, spontaneity and stepping out of the box. Trying to over-control and over-plan everything can ruin an otherwise great experience. That’s one reason we shun the all-inclusive resort experience like the plague, that and the money of course. Not having bucketfuls of money helps us to keep up our simple, cheap and free lifestyle. I have nothing against money per se but it can easily distort your world perspective. When you carry your home on your back and your office rolls behind you everything becomes very simple.
In your travels I invite you to leave plenty of room for serendipity. Those things that come at you, seemingly from nowhere, that add flavour and spice to your travels. My Cuban friend Tony Maas says: when things don’t go as planned is when the adventure begins. Tony introduced us to his home, Cuba, for almost a month in 2014 when it was still forbidden to most Americans. But that’s another story. We will be hunkering down and spending Christmas and New Years in Dublin, Ireland before exploring the rest of Ireland moving on to Scotland and England. Checking our itinerary you will see we’re in for a long haul.
It took us almost six years to complete our trek through Latin America—World Trek Part I. With thirty-one countries tentatively planned for Part II I think it will be a long haul indeed. We are location independent (homeless) and slō-travellers (we take our time). It’s not the churches, cathedrals, museums and tourist sites you remember—it’s the people and things that you experience. And that you cannot plan for, it just happens. So I guess my unsolicited advice would be: don’t wait for the perfect time to travel because there is no perfect in this world. Close is often good enough.
And while you’re at it don’t over-plan your adventure, just let stuff happen. If you’re open to the possibilities things just seem to happen on their own. Guaranteed. I will confide in you, however, that when you finally escape from your box (self-made prison) it’s very hard to be content in the box again. So beware. Travelling is very addictive but also very good for your health, both physical and emotional. You may not have the luxury to travel full-time like brother Joel and me but make a start if you can. And continue to visit me here at Expat Journal to follow the Muppet Brothers and their adventures.