The thing about traveling is that it takes you out of your normal life and opens up the world in front of you. On a catamaran or a longboat down the Mekong River, all the limitations of the small lives we lead at home are oceans away. The colors of life along a new stretch of highway in China, are thicker, fuller than the dull grey of the 405 freeway you travel to and from work. On a windy day in the Rioja of Spain, you are a child again. Reborn, refreshed and remembering all of the dreams and desires that only the wild awakening of a new place can offer.
Truth is it matters not much whether you have traveled thousands of miles or the 35 that it takes to make the familiar scenery of your daily existence change. All travel infuses us with an energy that only it can create.
Do you think we travel for fun and adventure? For the thrill of spending a night in a hotel, hostel or camp ground? I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe that for one minute because I know that deep down even if we never recognize or acknowledge it, the real reason we travel is that it allows us to feel invincible again. How else can an adult, laden with car payments and mortgages have a chance to experience the pure bliss of being away from all the mundane never-ending onslaught of adulthood?
We don’t have the luxury of building mud castles and pretending we are the princess or knight who graces the clumpy walls. We have to be practical because after all we are adults and as adults, we know that all that make believe stuff is for kids. So what do we have instead….we have dreams of far off, or near off, places. We pour over brochures, scour the internet, plan, plan and plan until that day FINALLY arrives when we pack our suitcases, load up the van, put Fido in Doggy Daycare and hike, swim, float, fly, or choo choo our way to two weeks of freedom and fantasy.
Ahhh, adulthood. We so longed for it at 13. So it’s not quite what it was cracked up to be is it now?
Somewhere along the way, we have lost the childlike wonder and belief in ourselves that we had at 6. We could do anything then. If you were to tell my grandson he could not grow up to be Superman right now, it would not only crush his little spirit, but I doubt that he would believe you.
But a few years from now he not only will insist that such a desire is insane, he will probably adamantly announce that he NEVER said anything so ridiculous. What happened to the dreams you had as a child? Were you determined to be a dancer, an artist, astronaut, movie star, the first female president, or a clown in a circus? I am only guessing here, but unless you said with conviction from your soul that you wanted nothing more than to be a trial attorney or a neurosurgeon, you hear how ‘impractical’ it was for you to attain your desired profession. More than likely you were then encouraged to do something more…practical. Something where you could be guaranteed to make money. A banker, accountant, engineer, teacher. Perhaps? Hey, there is nothing at all wrong with any of those jobs IF the reason you are in that profession is because you really truly want that for your life’s path. But life should never be created out of ‘something to fall back on’.
“So, what is your point?” you ask. I will tell you exactly what it is….it is that we travel to bring us back to that place. For a few short days or weeks, we get to imagine that we have no limits, nothing pressing down like a vice around our shoulders, we can even dream about what we might STILL like to be when we grow up.
I am an avid traveler. I will travel anywhere anytime anyplace. No place is too far, or close, too hot or cold (yeah the heat – well, I will get back to you on that on later) and I feel a sense of wonder every single time I am on the road.
Travel forces us to slow down be in the moment, be at one with our new environment and also at one with ourselves. Maybe even a long-lost dream or two will surface during a nice road trip.
When you do travel, take the time to soak up the place you are in, the smells of fresh baguettes, the sounds of the bells that clang against the donkey cart in the morning as he makes his way to the market with olives in tow. Those are the anchors that will bring you back on a lonely cold night after a harder day at work.
We relive our childhood wonder through seeing the rest of the world. We see the differences in others and the striking similarities as well.
Please….if you have never done it before…..make it a priority. Travel somewhere.