Have you ever wondered what it’s like to travel into the unknown?
No not exactly unknown like the milky way. Though it’ll be exciting.
I’ve always loved the concept of going on a mystery trip and was even toying with the idea of starting a travel agency called SPUR a year ago. There is something magical about travelling in the moment and into the unknown. Maybe it’s because we are sick of the monotony of life, as going on a mystery trip is unsettling yet exhilarating at the same time.
While the SPUR project is currently on hold, other similar services like Mystery Trips have popped up around the world (google and you’ll find quite a number with the same name).
This really got me wondering whether people are getting more open to the idea of spontaneous travel instead of intricately planned trips. What makes travelling to somewhere unknown interesting?
Perhaps it’s because there is/are…
Or rather it’s impossible to expect anything because you have no idea where you are going. No expectations of taking the perfect selfie with Mt. Fuji in the background. No expectations of gorging on glorious dim sum in Hong Kong. No expectations for getting the perfect tan on a beach in Bali.
If you look at it the other way, having zero expectations also means less disappointment. You can’t get upset when the hot air balloon ride you were looking forward to in Cappadocia got cancelled due to bad weather (yes it happened to me… sobs). No disappointment when the “touristy” dim sum place has a queue as long as The Great Wall of China.
Excitement in chasing the unknown
“Adventure may hurt you, but monotony will kill you.”
Cliche as that sounds, it’s a quote that easily resonates with many of us. While routine is great and efficient for work, we all need a little excitement in our lives. An overdose of anything can be unhealthy.
I can’t even control myself now as I think about how exciting it is to only find out where you are flying to at the airport itself. It’s unsettling and scary. It gives me goosebumps. But it’s the kind of goosebumps that makes you feel alive again.
We’ll probably need some information on the weather/activities though. Otherwise it’ll just be silly packing for summer while ending up at somewhere with snow instead!
There is a certain magic in train rides. #myanmar #travel A photo posted by Hendric Tay (@pohtecktoes) on
More emphasis on the present and exploration
Being spontaneous kind of gives us more time to be in the moment. No more rushing from point A to B like a headless chicken. Because you don’t really have a strict plan to stick to, there are probably more opportunities to travel slower and focus on the now.
In a way you are “forced” to interact with others because you can’t prepare beforehand. Instead of heading for the cafe everyone recommends online, you have to speak to someone to find the best place. Who knows, you might just discover a local hidden gem.
Most of our memorable moments happen when we least expect it!
It is inevitable that preconceptions and bias occur. Whenever we hear of a destination, we’d naturally recall all the information we’d heard about the place. While preconceptions are great for decision making, it can make us a little narrow minded or silly while travelling. We may end up being so fixated on some of the things the destination is popular for and miss out on other great experiences.
Travelling to the unknown rids us of the initial bias. While it may still happen when we discover the destination on the day of the trip, at least there is less time for the bias to take root and grow in your mind. We are making it easier for our minds to accept new information instead of holding on to bias.
Travelling spontaneously to somewhere unknown is still relatively new as a travel concept. Imagine being the first in your social circle to do something like that. Couchsurfing and backpacking will become adventures of the past. Imagine sharing stories and other serendipitous moments.
Although we are hopefully doing it for other less superficial reasons, wouldn’t it be nice to stock up on some bragging rights too?
A sense of achievement
Exciting as everything sounds, it’s still a pretty big thing to go on a mystery trip. It’s really like throwing yourself out of your comfort zone into literally the unknown. People normally like to relax on holiday, but this could easily become stressful if you are the anxious kind. From unfamiliar situations to uncertainty, this isn’t exactly your typical trip.
But at the end of the day, you’ll also realise that you end up learning a lot about yourself and whoever you are travelling with. While we take different trips for different reasons (to relax, for work, to explore… etc), a mystery trip will probably be one that gives you a great sense of achievement.
So the only question left is would you travel to somewhere unknown? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!
Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Ok not exactly only, but it’s high up the list. Also the letters all have legs. #thetravelintern A photo posted by Hendric Tay (@pohtecktoes) on