For as long as I can remember I’ve loved to travel. I am not afraid of planes and actually feel excitement knowing it just means I am that much closer to new experiences. Over the years I’ve heard many claim they rather just stay put and have no desire to cross the ocean to see what lies on the other side of the world. In hearing this, I just want to grab their shoulders and shake them. Why not??? There are 7 continents, 196 countries, and over 7 billion people in this world. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why someone wouldn’t want to see what God has given us to explore. Settling for photos on Pinterest or in National Geographic books isn’t enough for me. So, my question today is, “What sparks my desire to travel?” “Why do I travel?”
Why do I travel?
Born in Georgia and raised in Alabama means I grew up in very small southern towns. As an adult, I can now look back and see the beauty of those places and appreciate the values taught when I lived there. Many of those values I still carry with me today. As a teen, I wanted nothing more than to get away. My heart longed for something greater. I never felt like I belonged. I wanted to hop on a plane and fly across the world. At a very young age, I had experienced great loss around me and wanted to experience as much as I could. We are, after all, never promised tomorrow.
Why do I travel?
The experiences you will have while traveling is not like any other you will have in your lifetime. I remember the first time I saw Big Ben, Tower Bridge, and the rest of the incredible landmarks in London. It absolutely took my breath away. In America, you read about these places in classrooms or see it on television during a news report. For me, it was so much more. When walking up to the gates of Kensington Palace I was brought to tears. My husband never even understood why I wanted to visit this place.
He is English and never knew the significance it had for some Americans. It was part of my life. I watched as Princess Diana gave back to all those around her with the sweetest smile. William and Harry were so young. Walking upon the gates brought a flood of memories to when Diana passed away. These gates were where so many paid their respects. The best way to describe it is as though you stepped into a childhood fantasy, a storybook, or even a classroom history book. You are standing among the pages and for those that travel this is life changing. With each trip I take I stop to take in all around me. Not only the beauty but the history in itself.
Why do I travel?
I have met some incredibly interesting people throughout my travels. My husband has been traveling all over the world for over 20 years so he’s a bit further than me in his experiences. He also doesn’t have the same social interaction desires that I have. I crave social interaction. I enjoy learning about others. It’s a joke between us because it never fails at a bar, no matter the city or country, someone usually ends up sharing their life with me. Their story. My husband throws a few eye rolls but I become completely consumed by who they are. How they were raised, their cultures, what they’ve experienced. I promise you that while we may be very different we are also very much the same. We are all human. We all laugh, cry, and bleed the same.
My mother still lives in small-town Alabama. A couple of years ago she visited my family and we decided to take her out to our favorite Indian restaurant. Who doesn’t love a good curry? Until we began ordering it hadn’t really dawned on me that she wouldn’t know what much of the menu meant. She said, “the only reason I have ever heard of some of these things is that I watch cooking shows”. The closest Indian restaurant to her is probably about an hour away so why would she have ever given it a try. By traveling and living in larger cities I have always been open to the food. I suppose my waistline shows that.
How boring would I be if I stuck with what I had grown up with? Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and okra. Experiencing new places and new cultures means new food. And for me, it’s not only the taste but the presentation. It’s fun to try something new. In my opinion, if you don’t like it then you don’t have to eat it again. But at least you’re open to the idea.
Why do I travel?
Traveling gives my children exposure to things they may not have here in the Carolinas. My older two children have lived in England and were raised to be more accepting of other cultures. It amazes me to hear some of the stories from them about children from their school. Lack of experiences leaves some of the other children close-minded, therefore, they are not accepting of everyone around them. For me this is heartbreaking. When my youngest daughter was 4 years old I took her to Washington D.C. Even at that age, she was amazed to see The White House.
She went back to school and told all of her friends that she had been to the ‘President’s house’. Was she becoming a political whiz? Of course not. But small experiences like this stick with them. She still refers to that trip and says “remember when?’. I look forward to showing all three of them more of the world. There’s so much to see and experience. One of my greatest fears in life is that I won’t get to see as much as I’d like. I truly don’t want to miss a thing.
So, I will leave you with the question, “Why do YOU travel?” Comment below! I’d love to hear your stories!