Seeking out peculiar travel suggestions

Many travelers love quoting (or misquoting) Kurt Vonnegut’s line about how peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God. In a way, the urge to arrive at an unusual destination or to embark on an unlikely journey is similar to dancing lessons. You’re not sure about your steps at first, but if you flow with the music, everything just falls into place.

For some travelers, all it takes is an image – whether it’s through an actual photograph or a description from a novel – to prompt an urge to visit a certain place or to go on a specific adventure. These visual cues can be enough to stimulate us to start walking.

I’ve also chosen unlikely destinations by visiting islands or provinces that weren’t in my itinerary in the first place. After all, things look so much closer together and easier to get to when you’re looking at a map. My logic often goes, if I’m going to take a 25-hour ferry trip in that area anyway, why not explore the surrounding regions? In this case, a week-long visit to one place threatens to become a month of hopping from one island province to the next – and what vagabond can’t appreciate that?

Sometimes, travel suggestions come from serious introspection. Jeff Greenwald, before embarking on his airplane-free, round-the-world trip, pointed out that the drive to go on this particular journey came from his realization that airplanes made us take the size of the world for granted:

“An essential quality of travel had been lost. If I had to define it, I’d use the word continuity: the sense that the sidewalk in front of one’s house is connected, physically, with every other spot on Earth. I wanted to reclaim that feeling.”
Source: “The Size of the World” by Jeff Greenwald

My personal favorite is the travel suggestion jar, which I created over a month ago (see picture). Basically, the jar contains rolled-up slips of paper with names of local provinces written on them. These provinces are all accessible via land, to minimize the scheduling restrictions of traveling by boat or air. When I get the urge to travel, all I have to do is shake up the jar, pick a random scroll identifying my destination, and proceed to the nearest bus station. I’ve yet to use it, but I’m starting to get that restless feeling vagabonds get when they’ve been home for too long.

If peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God, then actively seeking out these suggestions are our way of telling the universe that we are ready to dance.

Did you ever arrive at an unexpected destination? What prompts you to visit unlikely places?

Posted by | Comments (5)  | August 21, 2008
Category: General

5 Responses to “Seeking out peculiar travel suggestions”

  1. Seeking out peculiar travel suggestions Says:

    […] Original post by Celine Roque […]

  2. Shaula Says:

    All we do is visit unlikely destinations. 🙂

    We have no travel plans. We get up in the morning, check the weather report, and head to where the weather suits our fancy.

    We wind up where we wind up.

    It is a lovely way to see unexpected parts of the country.

  3. » Taking Worthwhile Risks While Traveling :: Vagablogging :: Rolf Potts Vagabonding Blog Says:

    […] Worth Taking“. His first suggestion is to pick a travel destination on a whim. I’ve discussed this same idea here at Vagablogging before, when I mentioned my “Travel Suggestion Jar”, which I use to randomly pick a […]

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