How are you inspired to travel?

Desert View Hike- travel inspiration

I have always traveled a little, 3 or 4 day trips on the river or whatever.  My first major trip was back in 1998, I was 22 years old and it shaped the way I look at travel.  I had been studying the pre-Columbian cultures of Central and South America for a couple of years and I was obsessed not only with the architecture of those cultures but the stories of the explorers like Hiram Bingham who discovered those lost cities.  I made up my mind that I wanted to see some of these places for myself and began researching the trip.  A year later I found myself in Peru for over a month walking among some of the sites I had seen only in books.  I was inspired by the stories, the history and the amazing pictures (I specifically blame National Geographic for this) of these remote places.  That trip made such an impact on me that I fell in love with travel and make it a priority in my life.

When you make the commitment to travel you are taking time away from your job, your responsibilities and potentially committing a decent amount of money to the cause.  It’s not generally something people take lightly, even for a simple weekend trip not far from home.  Travel for some is a necessity, a break from the stress and confinement of everyday life.  For others travel is a lifestyle and their job is a means to an end.  Either way, we usually have reasons for the places we seek in our travels.  Some piece of inspiration that has drawn us in that direction.  I know  for me it has a lot to do with images, with photographs shared by other travelers of amazing sights of exotic and unique locations.  I am inspired by the thought of seeing new things and experiencing different cultures.

Parks Folio is very much about inspiring travel.  Our goal is to collect the images and experiences of fellow travelers to inspire others to visit our amazing National Parks.  We strongly feel that pictures and personal stories are the way to do that, but what else inspires you to visit a particular spot?

When you consider planning a trip, what inspires you to visit a specific place?


I always return from trips and share my stories with friends and family.  There was a time when I would come back and specifically plan dinners or visits to share stories from my trips.  I have always brought back photos from my travels as well and back when I shot film I used to pass around the stack of prints to interested friends.  I know I’ve inspired more than a few people to travel to places they never considered.

What do you do to inspire others to visit the places you love?


Images and stories, they do sell an experience.  A picture is worth a thousand words but can it really convey the personal experience of your travels, your adventures?  I think the two work together, hand in hand a picture backed up by a personal story seals the deal.

When it comes to inspiration, which is more powerful: Stories or pictures?


  1. Wilderness Dave says:

    I have to admit that books and research used to be my primary inspiration and motivator to travel. National Geographic Magazine (which I used to collect) offered amazing inspiration in the way of brilliant photography.

    These days, however, it is the internet…social media specifically, that offers a great deal of inspiration for travel. I get to follow awesome people as they travel and explore the world individually and it really gets me excited about my own adventures.

  2. I’ve always been inspired by the mountains. Friends always share their dreams of sitting on a beach somewhere but for me it’s the mountains and trees.

    I have always loved the smells of the mountains. That smell of decomposing leaves or the wiff of pine, I’ll take it.

    The bite of crisp morning air when you walk out on the deck for the first time each morning is also a big draw for me.

    It’s the sensory elements that seem to draw me in first. It may seem simple but I am a much better person in those environments. For that reason, I look for adventures that give me the venue to have those experiences.

    Photos that capture scenes that suggest the presence of those smells or ones that look like the air is crisp (and clean) will always draw me in. I click on dozens of those images every day.

    From there, it’s all about the story. As you know Dave, that’s the primary reason why ParksFolio was such an interesting and appealing project for me. What’s better than a grroup of new friends that are sharing their personal experiences, many that fit my short list of triggers, every day of the week.

    This community has already added a handful of future trips to my bucket list!

    Which is more powerful – photo or story? I would say a powerful image or a skillfully crafted tale of adventure would be a toss up. I respond to either.

    • You hit the nail on the head for me. I spent a semester’s worth of vacations following fellow students around the beaches of Costa Rica, which while beautiful, just didn’t do it for me. My last month there, we finally got up into the more temperate mountains and oh… that leaf mold smell. That’s heaven right there.

      As for photo or story, also agree with you. Depends on the quality of each. I have friends who take spectacular photos that draw you straight in, but can’t tell a story to save their life and vice versa.

  3. I have been inspired by and taken action because of both. As a child I was completely inspired by photos, especially of western national parks and wildlife in Africa. As an adult I seem to be a little more inspired by the stories. My interest is really caught if there is historical aspect as well. My husband and I are suckers for national historical sites.

    • Wilderness Dave says:


      Recent American history has never sucked me in like the ancient sites in central and south america but I am intrigued by the pre-columbian southwest cultures. I spent a few weeks driving through Arizona and New Mexico checking out pueblos and sites like Chaco Canyon and Aztec. Some of the National Monuments like Tonto and Mesa Verde have been amazing. A sense of history about a place is solid inspiration to visit.

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