How I Decide Where To Travel

by Dan Johnston

If you’ve opened this article hoping for a checklist or magic formula you’re all out of luck.

If you’ve received my free training on travelling the world, you’ll know that I have a “destination checklist.” But the truth for me is that this is more of a safeguard to ensure the destination I’m called to is suitable for my lifestyle and business needs.

How I decide where to travel next: I pick the place first, and then I make sure it’ll work.

Note: Now this is different than picking your perfect destination to settle into. Look out for an upcoming article on how I’ve created a shortlist of my perfect city. There I’m discussing the journey of finding your perfect city to call home, versus somewhere you want to visit for a few months to a year.

Everyone travels for different reasons. My travels have come from a combination of two factors.

The first, my “framework”, was a goal I laid out in my early 20s of living in at least 5 cities before I turned 30. Now at the time I was a very optimistic young capitalist, and I figured by 2012 I would have already sold my first business for millions and would be living like a King in the capitals of the world: London, New York, Moscow, Tokyo etc.

*Spoiler Alert* – Not a millionaire yet.

If you’ve read My Story then you already know that business didn’t exactly go as planned. Despite this, a friend reminded me that, millionaire or not, there was no reason I couldn’t still fulfill my goal of living in at least 5 new cities. So when I finally started to travel in 2012, this goal of experiencing new cities acted as my guideline for the duration and style of my travel.

The second factor, the “fuel”, has been relationships. I love people. I really love people and I’m blessed to have some incredible friends in my life. The type you don’t easily replace in a few months. The type you call when you’ve accidentally violated international law or need help disposing of a body. I mean, I haven’t tested this yet, but I’d like to think they’d be there with a contact in the embassy or a pickup truck… depending on what the situation called for.

As things turned out, these friends are ambitious ones and scattered themselves around the globe chasing their dreams. When everyone started to move I somehow decided I wanted to be the one with the freedom and resources to stay connected.

Looking back at the places I’ve travelled or chosen to live, just about every decision has been driven by another person. Most recently I’ve been living in Europe, an unexpected turn to my travel plans. This move was sparked by my best friend coming here for a Master’s degree. There was no way I was turning down a once in a lifetime chance for us to live together, and in all places, Europe. Yes, heading back to Central America or just about anywhere else would have had better weather…but there are certain opportunities that only come up once in a lifetime, and there will always be sunny beaches.

So that’s my motivation: People.

Scenery, culture, adventure, ideal weather, they’re all nice bonuses. My underlying drive to be free; and my drive to be free comes from a desire to spend time and create awesome memories with great people.

What’s your motivation for developing the freedom to travel? How do you decide where to travel?

-By Dan Johnston

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Comments 2

  1. Dave

    My motivation for developing the freedom to travel was the fear that I was would be wasting my life if I didn’t do something creative. For me, earning money for somebody else was sole destroying. We actually travel quite slow and only fly once a month, it was more about the freedom than ticking off the list of places. We generally choose a new location when we hear about other digital nomads having fun there 🙂

    1. Post
      Dan Johnston

      Hey Dave,

      Thanks for sharing your motivation. I think we’re on a similar wave length. I’m not big on passport stamps or lists either, rather I’ve built my life around freedom, and a benefit of that is travel. Where are you calling home at the moment?

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