The first decision is already made – you’re going to travel. The next decision can often be much harder, where should you go? There is literally an endless amount of possibilities! You can road trip around Australia, wine taste through countries across Europe, safari through the plains of Africa, backpack through South America or eat your way across Asia. You can go wherever your heart desires. If you’re struggling to decide though, here is my only advice…

Listen to your heart, choose a destination that deeply interests or inspires you, don’t just follow the trends and go somewhere because everyone else is. 

Go somewhere that you’re interested in and inspired by. Don’t let the perceptions or ideas of others get in your way. Let’s be honest, travelling is not cheap. The last thing you want to do is spend a whole heap of money going somewhere that you don’t really care about. I mean, flights to Bali are super cheap, but are you actually interested in the country or motivated by the hype? This is something I always ask myself when I get all caught up and obsessed about a particular destination. I don’t have an endless amount of money and annual leave to travel on, so I need to make my travels count! Here is my example and story that motivated this advice.

Africa is somewhere that I have always been interested in. I’m not really sure exactly why I am so obsessed with it or what made me so passionate about visiting, but once I had decided I wanted to visit Africa I couldn’t forget about it. Every time I was doing something travel related, grabbing brochures from a travel agent or visiting a travel expo for more inspiration, I always found myself walking out with magazines about Africa, no matter what country I had gone in for!

People thought I was crazy when I told them. I constantly being asked questions like ‘why would you go to Africa when you could go to Europe?’ or ‘what would you even do in Africa?’ or my favourite ‘aren’t you worried you’re going to get Ebola?’

Well first of all, if I had of gone to Europe I would still have been thinking about Africa. This was where my burning passion was, and whilst I can’t wait to get to Europe I didn’t feel the same sense of urgency and excitement that I did about Africa.

Secondly, Africa is whole continent. There are an endless amount of interesting things to do there, no matter what country you visit within Africa. From safaris and adventure sports, to cruises and white sand beaches, Africa literally has everything.

And thirdly, I had absolutely no fear about contracting Ebola. This was the most frustrating and annoying question I was asked, and I was asked it on an almost daily basis. I just couldn’t fathom how people didn’t understand that the whole continent of Africa was not at risk of Ebola. The distance between us and the countries affected by Ebola was approximately 9,872 kilometres, or 133 hours in the car crossing more than 16 countries, or a two-day flight with three or more stopovers. This was further away than Melbourne is from Thailand, and we were in a whole different country that had a strict quarantine policy to prevent their country from becoming effected. Honestly, I just wanted to walk away when people asked me this.

I’m going to go out on a pretty big limb here and say that my travels through South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia are some of my favourite ever. They were an absolutely amazing two weeks, and I was devastated that we didn’t have more time to visit other cities and countries. Africa exceeded all of my expectations in every possible way. The people were so beautiful and generous in a way I hadn’t experienced before. The countryside was so green and luscious, with so much more nature and beauty then I had imagined. And every single thing we did, from safaris through Kruger National Park to visiting Victoria Falls and swimming in the Devil’s Pool was absolutely breathtaking.

When people ask Thom and I about our favourite experiences and travel destinations we always say Africa (followed closely by Mexico). Africa had always been an inspiration of mine and it made the whole trip so much more exciting. It was somewhere I was so excited and passionate about. So after my long (probably unnecessary) story, I hope I have made my point. For the est experiences and the most memorable travels of your life follow your heart and go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Don’t follow just follow the crowd or go somewhere that’s easy. Go where your heart takes you.

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Happy travels,



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Emma Shaw

Emma is a travel photographer and blogger, living in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Thom in between adventures. She started Explore Shaw to share her experiences, travel tips and destination advice, and to inspire others to travel the world and their own backyard whenever they can.

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