Are you a Bucket List Checker, Adrenaline Junkie or Country Counter? Chances are that if you travel obsessively, you are one of the above. And that probably means that you might get little shots of dopamine from traveling, and that travel makes you happy. Me too!
My name is William Chalmers and I am a travel addict. There, I said it!
I fondly recall the lazy lake-side cottage vacations of my youth. We all remember our first time! I can distinctly evoke family road trips — Cedar Point, Gettysburg, Washington D.C., Williamsburg, and Ocean City, Maryland. It was a mild buzz. My first plane ride from Los Angeles to Detroit was utterly thrilling. I wanted more. I vaguely recall Spring Break holidays in Florida and Mexico — utterly intoxicating. (Sorry.) Then cross-country buddy road trips.
My first international adventure to Southeast Asia was the coup de graĉe…the travel bug was now firmly coursing through my veins. I was hooked. And the felling of traveling to exotic faraway destinations only heightened my senses and consciousness. I was alive, engaged and absorbed. It was utterly exhilarating and I wanted more. A lot more. My taste for adventure only grew, as did my Travel IQ.
The results I have assembled below are rather subjective, but I think, interesting and thought-provoking. As a novel way to present these data points — it is a work in progress to be sure, but one that presents as a simple barometer of sorts that for the first time presents an escalating ladder of travel experiences illustrating the progression of types of trips, travels and adventurous experiences that all increase your Travel IQ. Let’s call this a budding thought experiment.
I know that some people have innate intelligence (nature) and some obtain their intelligence through experience (nurture), so I accept that unique personal experiences or specific destinations are both unquantifiable and endless in nature. And no doubt, jaded travelers, over-intellectualizing critics and sanctimonious pooh-poohers, will all make the usual arguments, complaining that: roughing it is all that matters; that trips are different than personal journeys; that tourists are different than travelers; that travelers are different than wanderers; that you have to spend X amount of time to truly know the authenticity of a place; that there is a right and wrong way to travel; and that unless you are risking your life you aren’t taking a truly daring adventure; whatever…bring it on!
That said, on a scale of 0-to-10 (10 being elusively high!), what all travel junkies want to know — how can I get my next travel high?|
The Traveler’s Addiction Index 3.0
(Bold designates significant gateway travel addiction thresholds):
.1 – Armchair traveler watching TV travel & food shows
.2 – Reading newspaper travel sections weekly
.3 – a quick trip to neighboring Colorado to, well, you know…
.4 – Two-week family summer vacation
.5 – Taking a student spring break trip
.7 – Visiting Disneyland, Las Vegas, Branson or Orlando
1.0 – Subscribing a travel-related magazine
2.0 – Taking a cross-country/multi-state road trip
2.2 – Visiting Canada
2.4 – Visiting Mexico
2.5 – Taking a weekend cruise
3.0 – Reading a famous travel memoir
3.5 – Obtaining your first passport (with the intent to use it)
3.6 – Buying a guidebook (with the dream of using it)
3.7 – Taking an extended international cruise
3.8 – Attending an overseas conference/convention
4.0 – Studying a semester abroad
4.1 – Taking a travel agent FAM trip
4.2 – Taking an exotic honeymoon
4.3 – Visiting a Club Med/all-inclusive-type resort
4.4 – Being a business road warrior (domestic)
4.5 – Taking a Medical Tourism excursion
4.6 – Applying for The Amazing Race
5.0 – Visiting a non-English speaking country
5.5 – Backpacking through Europe
5.6 – Doing the classic London, Paris, Rome trip
5.7 – Being a business road warrior (international)
6.0 – Obtaining a visa for a foreign nation
6.1 – Taking a Gap year traveling
6.3 – Quit a respectably good job to travel
6.2 – Leave a healthy relationship to travel
6.5 – Competing in The Amazing Race
6.6 – Becoming a paid travel writer (not a travel blogger)
7.0 – Having lived in more than 2 countries
7.5 – Having visited more than 4 continents
7.7 – Seen these Seven Wonders: Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, Great Wall, Pyramids of Giza, Petra, Tikal.
8.0 – Visiting India
8.1 – Attended these Global Happenings: Rio Carnaval, Winter Olympics, Summer Olympics, World Cup, Holi, Burning Man, Fiesta de San Fermin.
8.2 – Seen these Natural Wonders: Himalayas, Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef, Iguazu Falls, Victoria Falls, Mt. Fuji, Amazon.
9.0 – Circumnavigating the globe in one trip
9.3 – Taking an extended around the world (RTW) trip
9.4 – Reaching the 50+ countries threshold
9.5 – Reaching the 100+ countries threshold
9.6 – Competing in The Global Scavenger Hunt annual travel adventure competition
9.7 – Being considered one of The World’s Greatest Travelers
9.8 – Travel rapture
9.9 – Travel nirvana
10.0 – Hmmm?