Purposeful Travel Sounds Complicated

When you think of purposeful travel, what comes to mind? To me, it sounds like it must involve soul searching, dirt digging, and world changing. I think the term has taken on that meaning when referring to voluntourism or travel that in some way involves you in doing good.

All of that is great, but it’s not where purposeful travel ends. It does not have to be that complicated.

Purposeful travel can be as simple as traveling with something in mind other than the destination itself. Think about your hobbies. Wouldn’t you be more interested in taking a trip to an obscure destination if there was some sort of connection to one of your hobbies? It then becomes more like “motivated travel,” which sounds far more guilt-free, doesn’t it?

What Does Motivated Travel Look Like?

Purposeful travel, aka motivated travel, can be almost anything. Gary and I used to love caves—even the kitchzy, roadside ones with fake waterfalls. I cannot tell you how many Friday afternoons we loaded up the car or camper and headed out on a cave road trip. Some of them were delightful, some not, but every last one of them gave us an excuse and motivation to go and explore rather than sit on the couch for the weekend.

One of our favorite stories was when our daughter was only three months old. I had to make a trip to Missouri and was not willing to leave her behind. Gary went along and guess where he took her while I was busy working? To a cave.

One of the best attractions we’ve seen in recent years was a cave in Slovenia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Did we love it more because we had spent all those weekends in our youth prowling around every cave we could find? Maybe.

What would motivate you to avoid the couch this weekend and go searching for something fun? Think small. Think silly. Think available and easily accomplished. Start a collection of places, whether it’s baseball stadiums, breweries, roller coasters, national parks, or caves.

Traveling with a purpose gets you traveling. Nobody ever said it had to be a gut-wrenching, awe-inspiring, potentially-humanitarianism-award-winning purpose. It needs to be a let-me-step-outside-of-my-normal-life purpose.

Go More. Experience more. Enjoy it more.


How about a list of waterfalls to get you motivated?

Or maybe you'd prefer some foodie destinations.