Here's How To Make Your Travel Dreams Come True, According To Derek Hough

by Katie Corvino
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Traveling is the perfect way to discover yourself and explore the world around you.

I've been to my fair share of places, but there are still so many destinations I plan to visit in the future.

It feels like every day I open up Instagram and see a friend taking awesome photos on top of a mountain, surrounded by a beautiful sunset, staring out into the abyss, contemplating his or her existence.

You see, I'm at a point in life where my wanderlust is at its peak. I want to be that person on top of the mountain, surrounded by a sunset, contemplating my existence.

But how do I get there? How do I make my travel dreams a reality?

Well, my fellow travelers, I have answers. I sat down with Derek Hough from "Dancing With The Stars" and "Nashville," and he enlightened me on how he's used visualization to go from being a dreamer to a doer.

Derek partnered with Hilton hotels to work on the Our Stage. Your Story. campaign, which aims to help people go from dreaming about travel to actually booking. He laid out some key steps for travelers to take to reach their goals.

1. Visualize the prize.

As a dancer, Derek explained he uses visualization in everything he does. He said,

I think everything I do is about visualizing... whether that's choreographing, teaching somebody, helping them visualize their goals to make them a reality. So that's step one, I suppose.

By helping his dance partners picture their goals, they're able to see beyond their limits and realize their true potential.

The same logic can be applied to traveling. When you visualize where you want to go and picture yourself in a specific destination, it makes achieving that dream much easier.

2. Create something tangible to motivate you.

Derek explained when you're dreaming of traveling, it's really just a dream. In order to make those thoughts real and achievable, you need to write them down and begin to create something that can keep you inspired to reach your goal.

That's where Our Stage. Your Story. comes in. Derek explained,

This website is a tool that helps you visualize something with pictures and quotes... It gives you something tangible to look at and get inspired by and work toward. It's a way to constantly remind yourself, 'this is what I want to do, this is where I want to go.'

The website provides photos for different destinations that match up with each location. It becomes a way not only to stay organized but to have a vision board where you can plan your excursions and adventures for each trip you take.

3. Simplify.

Derek shared that the site is simple and extremely easy to use. He discussed the importance of simplicity during this process because it can get overwhelming once things start to feel complex.  He told me,

I feel like complexity is the enemy of execution. We're making it so difficult for ourselves and it sounds like too much to accomplish. This website is just so simple.

Our Stage. Our Story. allows travelers to access resources and images without necessarily having to look for them. It's an easy way to find locations and create experiences that you never even knew were possible.

4. Have a clear idea and be specific.

Derek believes "clarity equals power." He says having a clear vision and being specific will allow you to be much more efficient with your planning. He said,

Sometimes people are like, 'I wanna go some place sunny that has a beach.' There are lots of places that have that. But when you're specific and say, 'I want to go to this place, this location, it's easier to get there.'

He added,

What helped me a lot was seeing these amazing photographs and it made me want to be at that exact location... where that cliff is. There's a person there and I want to be standing right where that guy is. The more specific you are, the more efficient it will be.

5. Don't be afraid. Dream big.

Although Derek's already traveled the world, he still has big dreams and isn't afraid to plan his next adventure.

He's been everywhere from Australia to Hong Kong and has no plans of stopping. He shared,

My dream would be anything adventurous... cave diving, spelunking... that'd be amazing. Waterfall diving... Crazy stuff like that would be awesome. I'd also love to go to Dubai, Egypt, Thailand... I wanna go everywhere.

But even if you're new to traveling or feel like your dreams are out of reach, Derek has a message for you:

I know a lot of people who couldn't necessarily afford certain trips, but because it was something they always wanted to do and it was always in their mind, the passion was there... They ended up finding ways to get there. Having that clear vision made them get there.

6. No matter what, stay connected to nature.

Derek explains it's important to take the time to remove yourself from technology and just experience the world for what it is.

He told me,

The way you move directly affects the way you feel. I feel like we're caught up in the technology and were inside on our phones or playing video games... whatever it might be... and for me, traveling is a catalyst for adventure and for reconnecting with the elements and with nature and with things that are real.

Even if a big luxurious trip isn't in your future, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors and create affordable, meaningful trips. He added,

 I feel like, for me personally, on certain trips... even ones 10 miles away from where I grew up, they were very spiritual and good for the soul... Always remember to stay connected to nature and get outside and have those adventures that don't require technology.

If you're getting ready to plan your next adventure, be sure to check out Our Stage. Your Story. to build your perfect travel experience. You can also use the hashtag #HiltonStory to see other people's trips for even more inspiration.

Safe travels, everybody!