These are the last words I ever thought I’d be writing on this blog: I’m going on a cruise.
For years I’ve been backpacking the world, traveling carry-on only, living with nothing except what’s on my back, and mostly letting the universe guide me through bizarre and oftentimes unforgiving situations. I love that kind of travel. That’s the kind of travel you grow from. That’s the kind of travel that touches you, inspires you, and acts as a platform for personal growth.
Well this is not that kind of travel. And I’m pretty excited about it.
Adventure Travel is a Mindset
While hiking volcanoes and finding freedom at altitudes of 15,000-feet can be a life-changing experience that changes the way you see the world, this is not all that adventure travel is. Adventure travel is a mindset.
Adventure travel doesn’t have to mean trekking through the mountains of Southwestern China. It doesn’t have to mean traveling to weird and offbeat places or having once-in-a-lifetime experiences with local from far-flung tribes.
Adventure is about curiosity. It’s about seeing the world with fresh eyes, and opening yourself to every experience that comes your way. If you’re curious about the world around you, you will find adventure wherever you go, every single day.
Why I’m Going on a Cruise
I’m going on a cruise for the exact reason many travelers likely avoid going on cruises—because this isn’t that life-changing type of travel. It’s a vacation.
And you know what? I need a vacation. Right now, I don’t want to go backpacking or live out of a suitcase. I just want to sit by a pool and wear a Hawaiian t-shirt and let everyone else cater to me for once.
As you know I’ve been battling some health issues for the past 18 months. Well now that I’m starting to feel better, and the worst of it is (hopefully) over, I deserve a little bit of R&R. I deserve a little bit of beach time (no—a lot of beach time) and I deserve all-inclusive 24-hour room service.
I won’t have to worry about where to eat—there are at least 10 restaurants on board the ship. I won’t have to worry about getting from place to place—every morning I wake up at port in a new country. I won’t have to worry about booking accommodation—my bed travels with me.
And for the first time in a long time, I wasn’t packing a backpack, but a suitcase, and was met with the challenge of packing for a vacation, not for a RTW trip (which shoes should I bring!?).
Don’t Travel for Travel. Travel for You.
I won’t lie—I used to get judgey about the way people traveled. I didn't like the all-inclusive style of travel where every day was a self-serving feast of luxury. Now that I'm a little older (31—can you believe it?), I appreciate that luxury a whole lot more.
In some ways it touches on the typical traveler/tourist debate. “You’re a tourist,” I’d proclaim. “I’m a real traveler.”
But after a few years of travel, I’ve come to realize that we’re all just tourists in a new place—there’s no actual difference between a traveler and a tourist. Everybody has different priorities in life and everybody wants different things out of travel. And that’s fine.
If you want to travel the world for months or years on end, by all means, do it. I urge you to. If you want to take a vacation, stay in a resort or go on a cruise, by all means, do that, too! You don’t have to pigeonhole yourself as a certain type of traveler.
Travel however you want to. It’s your trip, after all.
My Eight-Day Cruise Itinerary in the Caribbean
Carnival Cruises is organizing this trip, so indeed, they’ve made it hard to say no. Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn’t have thought to go on a cruise. But it also brought me to the realization that all types of travel are not only okay, but should be welcomed and embraced.
And I’ve learned that cruises aren’t just for old fogies, either.
Just like with any kind of travel, you need to make it a priority. If hitch-hiking through New Zealand is something you’ve always wanted to do—go do it. If going on a cruise is something that has always peaked your interest—add it to the top of your list. I’m not going to judge you (not anymore, anyway), and nobody else has a right to, either.
Just stay curious and never stop adventuring.