Two of the questions travel writers get asked most often are, ‘What is your favourite place in the world?’ and ‘Where do you want to go next?’ When we respond we probably reveal more about ourselves than we realise. When I reply, ‘a tiny beach in Greece’ or ‘the Isle of Wight’ there is a huge amount of information behind those statements …
I recently carried out a series of interviews with 10 ‘leaders’ from all walks of life, trying to discover what were the qualities of Inspiring Leadership. They included Julia Middleton, CEO & founder of Common Purpose, Sir Chris Bonington, mountaineer, Eric Robson, radio presenter and chair of the Wainwright Society, the Right Revd James Newcombe, Bishop of Carlisle and Catherine Connor, MD of Aspire Photography. Three elements kept recurring:
- Having a clear VISION that is simple and easy for others to follow
- Knowing what VALUES are important and keeping to them
- Sharing the PASSION eloquently and often with all and sundry
So, how do these findings apply to travel? Well, when I thought about the places I have loved to stay in or visit, the places I still want to go to, it seems they are driven by these things, and maybe they apply to you too.
VISION: before going anywhere, we’ve often (not always) heard/read or seen something about the place. It has fired our imagination in some way, creating a Vision in our mind’s eye and we want to go and see the place because of it. This then may trigger some planning, goal-setting and markers along the way i.e. travel agents, websites, guide books for flights, best hotels, sights to see, restaurants etc.
When I first visited Greece, I had originally read about it in a book on Mythology as a child, adored ‘My Family & Other Animals’ by Gerald Durrell, studied Greek Literature at school, seen the beauties of the country on TV and gone through many travel brochures with my boyfriend before choosing Corfu as our holiday destination – in the late 1970s!
VALUES: we may not think often about our values when going on holiday but they seem to permeate our choices anyway. Again, other factors come i.e. money, time, other people but even so … Maybe we value peace and quiet over noise and bustle. Perhaps we want a luxurious hotel with lots of pampering rather than a basic pension with a great view. We want the brochure or website to be accurate and share information honestly (do we get it?!). We may want companionship over solitude … all these can be described as things we value.
One major reason I preferred living in Greece to living in Hong Kong was that I valued the simple things in life i.e. sun, sea, good companionship over sophisticated night-life, financial focus, crowded streets and life lived loudly 24/7. And, yes, I know we can find both in either place, but that was my perception at the time and it determined a lot of my experiences in both places.
PASSION: thinking back to places we have loved to visit and those we haven’t, when we ask ourselves why, it may well link to the above but the chances are it will also be connected to our passion. For someone really keen on golf, cookery, horse riding, scuba diving then a holiday or trip based round that may well be just up their street. Here’s an extract from a website talking about the virtues of their Wine-tasting trip, “With our Wine Guide, you’ll get the most out of your visit to the cellars and wine regions, they will comment on wines and explain the terroir and history, normally with ‘insider’ stories and humour.” Who could fail to connect with their passion and if we are at all into wine it will resonate and that trip is one step closer.
I love history, travel and visiting ancient sites. I’m passionate about going to new places and, ever since reading that Mythology book as a child, have always wanted to visit Machu Picchu. It may not be the next place I get to, but for sure I will visit one day – I can see it in my mind’s eye!
Zoë Dawes is a travel writer, sharing her travels in mind, body and spirit on her popular blog site The Quirky Traveller She is also a personal coach, specialising in Inspiring Leadership. Recently voted Britain’s Best Travel Blogger, she is passionate about inspiring others to write through her articles, talks and Quirky Traveller workshops. She lives in N.W. England and loves the Lake District.