Travel is a passion. Name the place, I’ll get a guide book and go. Beaches, mountains, other countries, other cultures, cities, museums, historical sights, natural phenomena, World’s Biggest Ball of Twine, Cleveland, I don’t care, I’ll go!
Some of my favorite things: historical places, touching a bannister or walking a step that George Washington or Thomas Jefferson used, somehow feeling their aura through the wood; The Vatican, Ancient Rome, Medici’s Florence, visiting a 16th century Swiss home where my husband’s ancestors once lived.
Awe inspiring vistas and beauty I never knew existed. Unexpected, amazing landscapes. Less traveled roads, driving around a bend to see blue tinged, smoky fog hanging over the tops of the foothills in the early morning light. Blue Ridge Mountains, indeed!
Cities: Glittering, gritty, hot and shiny, with their own personalities. Eavesdropping, observing and eating my way through their unique culture.
Museums filled with history, art, artifacts and stories, offering a biased yet beautiful glimpse of our collective humanity.
Saying yes. Kitsch and fun. Roadside attractions. Elvis Museums, commercialized caverns, World’s Largest anythings.
Having a plan, and deviating from it. Sleeping every few nights in a different place.
Spending long, long stretches of time with someone you know as well as yourself, and discovering something new.
Inventive ways to combat the tedium of long stretches of highway, sore hips, radio vs. books on cd vs. the quiet thump thump thump of tires.
Briefly encountering people you will most likely never meet again, wishing them a happy life as you part, and truly meaning it.
Almost always running into someone you are connected to, no matter where you are. On an isolated beach in the Caribbean you meet someone who went to your same high school, you literally bump into a long lost college friend on the slopes, a neighbor’s dad in downtown Chicago. Hey, isn’t that your cousin? Look and you will find.
Remembering every day on your travels to say “how lucky am I to be able to experience this!”
Travel holds many life lessons. A great trip reemphasizes the trite yet true saying that it is really the journey, not the destination. There are wondrous sights, bumps and obstacles, and nothing goes exactly as planned. You learn how to handle disappointments and problems, hopefully with grace and humor. Pre-formed prejudices fall away as you discover that Pittsburgh is actually amazingly beautiful, or New Yorkers can be friendly. The things you are most anticipating are not always the most cherished. Often it is the unexpected that makes the most lasting impression.
Each day of travel is like a gift waiting to be opened. Perhaps the best lesson of all is to view every day in real life this way.