Why I Travel- Part Two

One of my first blog posts was titled simply enough Why I travel. More recently, a couple of things prompted me to write this post now. One, I read a blog post that was basically bashing people for traveling, saying they’re just trying to escape their lives or tick off a box when they visit a place. The blogger said people should appreciate where they live more and insinuated that people who love to travel don’t appreciate their current lives and where they live.

Perhaps some people do travel to escape problems they’re currently dealing with and others may travel to a place simply to get that “perfect” Instagram shot, but that’s never been why I travel. I love where I live and while it’s far from perfect, it’s filled with natural beauty and interesting things to do. We have greenways, parks, and other outdoor spaces as well as music venues, museums, and restaurants with chefs that could compete with chefs at plenty of other well-known foodie cities. However, I’ll freely admit that traveling the world has shown me this isn’t where I want to live for the rest of my life. When I retire, I certainly won’t stay in the same area where I am now. I’ve thoroughly explored the area around where I live and will be ready to explore other areas when I retire.

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Admiring the view with my daughter in Austria

Another thing that prompted this blog post is I recently read a quote by Anthony Bourdain that I found interesting. He said, “It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn.” This sums up my feelings on travel pretty well. The world is a big place and I feel like the more I see, the more I want to see.

I’m a huge proponent of traveling with children and my daughter has traveled with my husband and me to places she doesn’t even remember because she was so young. By the time she turned two, she had flown to Vermont, Florida, and Hawaii. There isn’t a single place my husband and I have traveled to since she’s been born that she didn’t go with us. Never once did I question if she was too young to appreciate a place. She’s been to museums of all kinds, she’s hiked in more states and countries than most adults have, she’s eaten food from multiple other countries, and experienced more than I could possibly write here.

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Sure my daughter can read about ruins in Greece but she’s actually seen them in person, which is much more meaningful

As a parent, I’ve been able to see places through my daughter’s eyes, and see her reaction to places she’s seeing for the first time. I’ve seen her awe-struck and speechless more than once. When we’ve gone to a place that she really likes and has asked, “Can we go back there?” Usually the answer has been, “Probably not. There’s a whole world out there to see,” although there are certainly places we’ve returned with her. My daughter’s views have undoubtedly been shaped by traveling the world. She’s seen the kindness of strangers time and time again when we’ve been traveling. More than just looking at photos online or in a book, she’s seen things first-hand. This is undoubtedly a big part of why I travel as well- to show my daughter the world.

Travel has also boosted my self-confidence. Not everything has gone perfectly as planned when I’ve been traveling. I remember showing up at the place where my family and I were supposed to be staying for a part of our time in Chile, fully expecting there to be someone to greet us at the entrance to the property and help us get checked in. However, the guard at the front gate spoke no English. Finally with my husband’s limited Spanish and my broken Spanish, we convinced the guard to call someone else who spoke some English. She ended up driving to the resort, if you can call it that, and she is the one who showed us the apartment where we’d be staying and gave us her card with the instructions to call her if we had any problems because as she told us, she was the only person in the entire town who spoke English. Apparently we were there during the off-season, which means we pretty much had the entire resort to ourselves. By the end of that week, my Spanish had improved because of all of our interactions with the locals, but more importantly, I had been shown that even after a rocky start, we ended up having a great time and everything had worked out in the end. Over the years I’ve learned that gestures and just trying to speak the language go a long way. You can read about my adventures in Chile here: 15 Lessons Learned by an American in Chile and here: Las Cabras in the O’Higgins Region, Chile- A Test of Resilience and here: An American in Chile- Getting Outside My Comfort Zone.

Also, the more you travel to more remote areas, the more you want to travel to lesser known places. If you would have told me 20 years ago that one of my favorite places in the world would be the salt pans in Gozo, I would have said 1) I have no idea where Gozo is and 2) What exactly are salt pans? But I didn’t start out traveling to places like Malta (Gozo is one of three Maltese islands, which are off the coast of Italy; see my blog post here:  I Almost Missed a Bucket List Item in Malta- Gozo Salt Pans).

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The Salt Pans in Gozo

I started out like everyone else when I started traveling as an adult, going to places like the Bahamas, Cancun, New York City, and California. Costa Rica was one of the more exotic first places I traveled as an adult. More and more I began to branch out and went to little towns in Austria like Maria Alm, Zell am See, and Bad Gastein. We drove around Crete and got lost in numerous little towns and even had a restaurant owner open up for breakfast just for my family one morning. We went to New Zealand and fell in love with the country and the people’s laid-back attitudes. Beyond international travel, we’ve also traveled to 44 states so far in the United States and discovered the beauty in some less-traveled places like Rhode Island and Arkansas.

So why do I travel? I travel to have those moments where I’m stopped dead in my tracks and am speechless because of the beauty in front of me. I travel to eat new foods and drink new drinks. I travel to meet different people and hear their perspective on things. I travel to get out of my comfort zone. I travel to show my daughter the world and what an enormous place it is full of diverse people but deep down most people are caring, kind human beings.

Why do you travel? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how travel has changed you or how you travel has changed over time.

Happy travels!

Donna

 

 

 

Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

24 thoughts on “Why I Travel- Part Two”

  1. You forgot to say you travel for races! Ha ha. Well written article. What you’re doing for your child can’t be replaced by books or class time. As teachers, we lament that our students often don’t have more of what we call “background knowledge.” Travel is an unsurpassed way to get this. I wish my students were half as well-traveled as your daughter. She may never even be able to truly articulate how travel has shaped her. She’ll probably just know that it’s imperative for her soul.

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  2. Love that quote by Bourdain. I’m totally with you on why I travel – to experience new cultures, learn new things, get outside of my comfort zone. I think traveling is a great way to experience personal growth. And I’m not going to lie, I also do love getting that “perfect” Instagram shot. Lol. 😀

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  3. I miss watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown; his travels to unique locations taught me so much about places I knew next to nothing about. It sounds like your daughter is getting an awesome education through all of your travels. I sympathize with her asking if she can return to certain places; when we visited Halifax, Nova Scotia on our cruise I immediately wanted to return but there are so many other places that we haven’t visited. Have you been to New Orleans? If so, how many days would you recommend visiting? We took a week off in November to go, but haven’t finalized details yet including how many days.

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    1. I still haven’t finished watching all of his shows but I’m almost through them all. Every single show I watch I end up wanting to go there and have a meal with the people that live there. I have been to New Orleans once. We went for 4 days and that seemed about right. It’s a pretty small city really so you can definitely see the whole area in 3-4 days. Make sure you get the famous beignets!

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  4. Wow that blogger sounds like SUCH a pessimist! Like yes, some people can be fake about travel, but those people are going to be fake about everything else anyway so just ignore them. My boyfriend and I haven’t done much traveling, but he has already expressed the want to travel with our future kids. He had the same idea as you with it being such a great hands on learning experience for them as well as us being able to see the world through a kids eyes!

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  5. I love the Bourdain quote and it’s probably one of the reasons I travel; I think it’s important to realize how much exists beyond our own horizons, always, and that these can keep expanding. Though I wonder if I would have traveled as much if it weren’t for my parents or the opportunities that presented themselves, and as you know, they present themselves and I wasn’t going to say no! I don’t think either side (travelers vs. non-travelers) should be criticized. Travelling a lot can cause a different balance in strong and weak ties, which isn’t better or worse- just different.

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    1. It is interesting how we become travelers and as you mention some of that may go back to our parents and how we grew up or opportunities that come our way as adults. I agree that neither side should be criticized. Some people can’t afford to travel or are in poor health or maybe they barely get any vacation time. Others may simply be too afraid to travel. If you believe the media, some of the most popular vacations destinations in Europe and the United States should be avoided. That’s another topic entirely though.

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  6. I suspect there are times when I travel to escape the normal routine, but my real love for travel seems to come from a seemingly limitless desire to learn about other places and people. Also, after I began writing about it, I found I was looking at places less superficially, a benefit that I never considered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s something I hadn’t thought of before- how writing about travel can make you look at places less superficially. I can certainly understand that, though and it’s a very good point. Thank you for your thoughts!

      Like

  7. Fantastic post and beautiful sentiments I can only relate to. I strongly believe that this World is a beautiful place worth exploring and worth getting to know, in a process becoming much better human beings. Happy travels 😀😀

    Like

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