Why We Travel

Travel isn't easy. And sometimes it's not even fun. But tell me where you've been and I'll see who you are.

We venture forth from our bubbles full of anticipation, expectations and a bit of trepidation—there’s the best case scenario and the worst case. My experience is that most travel lies somewhere in the middle. When we traveled with young kids, vacation was simply relocation…with a better view. Now we’re traveling with a young teen where each new experience can be an exercise in emotional jujitsu, and this time I was seeing things through two lenses—mine and hers.

My daughter has traveled since she was 6 months old and loves it. But this was her first European trip to a country where English is not the primary language (except that it sort of is). At first, she was overwhelmed by the feelings of isolation when you don’t speak the language and the unsettling feeling of being a strange person in a strange land. I assured her that if she could confidently walk into Middle School every day, that she had this. And so she did—by the time we left she made new friends from Bristol, the Netherlands and Spain (and these days they can stay in touch!).

Still, there were moments when she fiercely missed home, her friends and got tired of the “oldness”—and because I’m her mother, I felt it too. Portugal had become “Torturegal”. Nice. (Where does she get this stuff, anyway?!).

I explained we are not guaranteed a fabulous time, all of the time—kind of like at home. Many valuable experiences are not. Life will pull us in directions we don’t want to go, but need to go. In the end, we discover new things about ourselves and humanity along with a new found gratitude for the quest and our lives back home. Context in life is essential. Travel provides that - along with an ideal opportunity to explore, risk, learn, compare and grow. “By the time we leave,” I assured her, “you will be changed. Forever. You will be more confident, more informed and you'll return with greater peace of mind.”

The greatest reward of travel is the serendipity and "first times" - lasting memories that become part of our story. They will be relics in your mind that we carry with us always. Much like these …

~ climbing to the mountain top bar in Mexico to see "El Puerco Borracho”

~ hot air ballooning followed by brunch under the baobab trees of the Serengeti

~ dining with the old lady at the lighthouse in Castine, Maine

~ skiing the glaciers of Whistler, Canada

~ watching an elephant reach over the wall to drink out of the pool...while you're in it

~ climbing apple trees in Ireland

~ getting on the wrong train to paradise in Italy

~ water skiing beneath the volcanoes in Guatemala

~ searching the beaches of Brittany for shiny black rocks you saw in a travel magazine

All treasured relics gathered in my mind.

"The real voyage in discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes--but in having new eyes."       ~ Marcel Proust



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