Traveling Thoughtfully

It’s How to Make the Most in Life

Traveling thoughtfully is the culmination of exploring the world with open senses and an open mind. I started this blog because after occupational therapy and playing the accordion, traveling is my greatest passion. Ever since I started traveling independently as an adult, I’ve made it a mission to explore as many new cultures and environments as possible. From extended vacations to weekend getaways, I believe that there is immense personal benefit from exposing yourself to as many cultures and environments as possible.

When you travel thoughtfully, you improve your powers of observation, grow as a person, and learn to spend your money more effectively.

You learn to pay attention to the details most others will miss, and understand how your external experiences affect and reflect your inner self. As you expose yourself to new locations and people, you get a better understanding of what to expect from new destinations. This improves your ability to plan, structure an itinerary, and stretch your dollar to the max. What’s not to like about a skill that’s personally and financially enriching?

I truly believe that exploring the world and immersing yourself in new cultures is the greatest way to appreciate, understand, and embrace our personal roles in society. With thoughtful travel, we learn about where we came from, and what makes us who we are.

Traveling Thoughtfully is what Wander & Ponder Stands For

Wander and Ponder is a combination of my first-hand experiences, fun facts, travel tips, and thought-provoking pieces. I hope to create content that helps you get more out of your vacations. Explore new cultures, learn about how others live their lives, and enjoy first-hand stories you won’t find anywhere else! I personally curate and write all of our content (unless otherwise noted), and manage our Facebook and Instagram pages as well. I’d love to have you as a follower!

It’s Preparation

Thoroughly researching your destination is an obvious first step for any thoughtful traveler. Weather is one thing, but looking into wind, humidity, and other less-obvious elements can make a huge difference in your experience. Look into cultural styles and dress codes, too. While I don’t completely reinvent my wardrobe for a vacation, I find that dressing to fit in helps me naturally emulate the new people around me. In Iceland, I learned to keep a reusable water bottle with me. Not doing this wouldn’t have ruined the trip by any means, but by recognizing their cultural interests ahead of time, I was far more naturally comfortable exploring an unfamiliar land as soon as I stepped off the plane.

It’s Observation

It might seem obvious, but pay attention to the world around you! Listen to the language, taste local cuisines, and see everything you can. How have they designed and built their world? What is the architecture like? How do the people dress? Even food preparation can speak volumes about a society’s past. Taking photos is great, and I strongly encourage it (even if it’s in your own back yard), but don’t spend the whole trip behind a screen. Unless you’re on a work trip as a photographer, consider saving the editing for when you come back home.

It’s Rational Thinking

It’s important to recognize the importance of planning, but perhaps not the type of planning you’re used to. Setting up rigid itineraries isn’t appropriate for every vacation!

Sometimes you need to make estimations based on the destination and leave the rest to fate.

Before you start calling out of work, research the cultures of your destination and what to expect if you forgo traditional tourist attractions. Just because you’re going on summer vacation doesn’t mean it has to be a multi-week adventure. Maybe that weekend getaway should be a week-long vacation? Research and reflect before you reserve and regret!

It’s Introspection

While on vacation, I take a minute to lie down and reflect on everything new I experienced that day. I acknowledge there were new and exciting experiences, but that’s just scratching the surface. It’s important to consider how it ties into other experiences I’ve had, and if anything resonates with who I am as a person. From Fiji to Finland, I’ve found something new, yet familiar, to bring back home with me. Take a minute to meditate, relax, and think about how other cultures reflect your own, and what elements from each resonate with you most strongly. Just because you’re American, British, Croatian, Dutch, Etc. doesn’t mean you have to unwaveringly represent every stereotype your culture is known for.

We are all human: deep down, we are made of the same stuff. It doesn’t matter where you came from, where you are now, or where you’re going. Embrace what’s important to you. Embrace what makes you whole. Embrace what helps you make the world a better place.

We all have the right to explore and the ability to grow. Traveling thoughtfully is a self-care, and an ability we all have the ability to refine. We all should wander and ponder. Thanks for reading, I hope you’ll stick around, and I’m grateful that I can be a part of your journey.


Join to the Thoughtful Traveler club: Giveaways, exclusive content, and more!