Scott Stoll logo world traveler. A bicycle wheel and the globe symbolizes Scott's journey around the world on a bicycle.
Chips happen
My theme for this short bike trip was — Where do I come from? This is a photograph of one of my fun discoveries. "Chips happen!" This is one of the fundamental truths of life. I love this down-earth sense of humor us Wisconites have! No wonder they call us cheeseheads. Ha!

Setting a theme to your travels/life

Theme — the fourth most important factor when planning your travels.

This article is part of a series of the most important factors when planning your travels.

In order of importance:

  1. Health
  2. Weather
  3. Money
  4. Theme (See below.)

This article is about setting the theme of your travels. It’s your dream and what is fueling your steps of action to make your adventure real. Arguably the theme, your “why”, is the most important factor of your travels; however, I rank theme as the fourth factor because health, weather, and money are the most important factors to guarantee you survive unexpected situations. As many wise people have said through the ages.

Expect the unexpected.

In a way, we are all on a journey through life, so the theme of your travels is much like the purpose of your life. The difference is that it is easier to set a theme for your travels because it is smaller and temporary. So, if you haven’t set a purpose for your life, I think traveling is a great way to experiment with what you might like to do.

Tips on planning your travel theme

Here are some tips on how to plan your theme. It can be really fun. A lot of people, plan their travels as part of their business. Do you love wine? Well, why not travel to the world’s vineyards and write a book? Now your travels become tax deductible. I’m not recommending this, and it is NOT what I did, but it is possible.

  • Frame of mind — You can find an adventure in your own backyard if you have eyes of wonder. In fact, everyone you meet is a new adventure. So, you really need not go anywhere or do anything unless you have the true passion. In other words, why are you doing it? What is your goal? Also, your adventure won’t be perfect, it’s not supposed to be. Don’t set absolute goals. Allow room for mystery. Sometimes “misfortune” will be your greatest door to a new adventure, one so great you couldn’t have possibly imagined it.
  • Trip Theme — One of the most important things you could do is give your trip a theme. How do you want to frame your adventure? What is the greater purpose or goal? Do you want to discover something, like what is the world’s best beer? Prove something, like are people good or bad? Explore something, like visiting the historic monuments of Eastern Europe. The theme of my trip, which would turn into my book Falling Uphill, was essentially: What is the meaning of life, and is that the secret of happiness?
  • Fear Factor — The more foreign to your experience (belief system) the more difficult your travels will be in the short run, but the more rewarding you’ll find your travels in the long run. For example, what is the scariest, yet most exciting, travel destination you can imagine? I don’t recommend a war zone, but neither do I recommend something too easy, like a beach vacation.

Define your journey and theme

Here are a few more in-depth articles I wrote about travel themes.

  • What is an adventure? How does adventure differ from traveling or a vacation? Is an adventurer a special kind of person, or is it poor planning?
  • What is a hero? Are you on a hero’s journey or just a wanderer? Or…
  • Theme. Without a theme or goal, your adventure may seem like a bunch of random events.
  • How to make a memorable moment. I don’t like just looking at stuff; I want it to mean something.

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