You’ve probably seen this phrase before

I started this blog because traveling is my life, and in all honestly, the superficial nature of personal travel blogs has disappointed me. I think that travelling thoughtfully is one of the most powerful, life-altering things someone can do. From grand vacations to weekend getaways, traveling thoughtfully is a practice that doesn’t need a specific budget or destination. Even better, when you begin to develop a natural drive to introspect, it enhances your day-to-day life as well. 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. Learn where we came from and what makes us who we are.

What makes Wander and Ponder different?

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 learn more about yourself while you explore new cultures, learn about how others live their lives, and enjoy honest stories you won’t find anywhere else. I personally write every post, and only create content that speaks to me. I hope you like it!

Pack and Prepare

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.

Use Your Senses

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.

Look Inward

While on vacation, I take a minute to lie in bed and reflect on everything new I experienced that day. I think about how it was new and exciting, but also consider how it ties into other experiences I’ve had, and if anything connects with who I am as a person. From Fiji to Finland, I’ve found something new, yet relatable, 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, Ethiopian, or French (I could keep going, but you get the idea) 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. 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.

-Kassi

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