IDEA #59. Plan and then take an imaginary tour around the world. Discover or imagine places you would like to visit, and then, using the internet or resources found in a library or perhaps at a travel agency, plan out the details of a trip that would take you there. Make a detailed itinerary and a record of the things you want to “see;” you could even make a budget that included travel, lodging, and food.
A virtual or fantasy trip can liberate the young spirit to imagine what it might be like to be somewhere else as well as encouraging speculation along the lines of “The ten places I would like most to visit are … because ….” It doesn’t matter what the draw of each destination might be—historical, cultural, culinary, sheer curiosity—what matters is that the child has picked it out.
Many schools assign students to plan a trip of this sort and combine it with mathematical and geographical instruction by giving students a budget and by requiring the development of a detailed itinerary and estimate of expenses. This might be a bit more than most children would see as fun, but the idea of adding to the child’s level of reflection and engagement by suggesting that the young traveler keep a journal or even illustrate and write (to him or herself or to a friend) seems within reason. Some time with a pile of National Geographic magazines might be a good source of ideas for this virtual adventure.
Although travel agencies are undergoing a transition in the age of on-line reservation systems, their offices are still good places to find brochures and posters to excite the traveler. Travel offices may also have the Official Airline Guide, which contains schedules for most airlines across the world. (Of course, most of this information is available freely on the Internet.) A friendly agent might even be a good resource in setting up a globe-trotting itinerary.
And who knows but what a particularly well-designed trip plan might become inspiration for later travel, like a circumnavigating gap year between high school and college; such odysseys are the norm among university-bound students in many European countries, and many colleges smile on and even encourage gap year travel or service.