If my father could sum me up in a slightly humorous way, he would tell you a story. I was about 4 years old at the time on a summer afternoon when he decided to take me for a playground date. Like any other child, I was thrilled to have some jovial fun in the sun. He observed something that day…whether it was restlessness due to a sugar high ( I was a gummy bear addict) or a never-ending curiosity…I could not sit in one spot for more than 5 minutes. I would jump from the slides to the swings to the monkey bars to those spinning apparatuses that I am uncertain of what to even refer to them as. This simple afternoon is so vividly imprinted in his mind because he is deeply convinced it is the underlying energy of my life. I suppose there is some truth to that…I want to explore it all and the unknown keeps my mental wheels spinning.
My writing pace has slowed down a bit mostly due to work and figuring out life logistics. You know how it is. So, I was thinking of what exactly I wanted to focus on this travel blog post. But, I kept coming up fuzzy in terms of the specific bounds. So, I figured…let me just start talking about why I love travel and what it contributes to my life. Maybe, a few of you will relate?
Travel amplifies your senses and sense of awareness.
It goes without saying that this pertains to traveling for pleasure. Time slows down and you notice things you maybe typically wouldn’t, such as…how good the sea breeze feels on your skin, how intricately exquisite spanish style architecture really is, and how you still suck at reading maps. (Getting out of San Diego zoo was a bit harder than it should have been…and for everything else in life…there is Uber.)
Travel can give you clarity.
Oh you complicated human, so many questions and so many plans. I am not sure if it is the soft ambiance of the crashing waves or the fact that maybe we do not sit and reflect with a clear purpose…but traveling has a way of quieting the mind. You lose your senses in the alluring beauty around you and it strikes you with a revelation. I find my answers to a decision I might have been struggling with out of such ease. Perhaps, when you are placed into a foreign environment, the only thing you’re familiar with is yourself and therefore, you get closer to you. Your priorities and true desires come into focus.
Travel tests you.
Not just your geographic awareness but also things like your degree of open mindedness, your ability to find common ground with people you meet for the first time, and your agility. Every place has its own specialty and whether it is cuisine or an adventure sport, you truly realize the dimensions of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone can also influence how you connect with strangers. Are you naturally suspicious or can you strike up a conversation with just about anyone? I have to say some of the best moments are meeting people you may never seeing again and sharing a laugh or stories. It gives me comfort that I have the ability to do that wherever I go…makes the world a little smaller and less lonely overall. And finally, when the unpredictable catches you by surprise, how do you react? Do you dwell on structure or your plan or can you let go and live in the moment. On my last trip, my best friend and I had the perfect blend of things we wanted to do while also putting some stuff aside because we discovered something else on the way. Sometimes, the destination just isn’t everything.
Travel shows you that you can be a lifelong student if you choose.
Stay curious. There’s always more to learn, discover, and explore. There are always bounds that can be transcended if we make the leap.
Travel also makes you appreciate home.
There are times where we want to pack up our bags and leave the chaos behind. Leave our noisy brain and suffocated disposition at the airport check in to just breathe. Reversely, there are trips that fascinate you but also remind you what you miss despite all the excitement occurring around you. Those are the things that encompass your home sweet home. So, when you return, you look at what may have seemed dull with a more vibrant and renewed sense of gratitude. And who doesn’t miss their own bed?!
Certainly, travel is more than a seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. -Mary Ritter Beard