What is your Why?

I am always interested in why some people love to travel – and conversely, why some people don’t even like leaving home.  I polled my class of study hall kids today (grades 9-11) and I loved their answers. They couldn’t be a better introduction to my own thoughts that I would like to share.  All who answered said they liked to travel – no one offered an opinion on why they might NOT like to travel. The four most popular responses were, “It gives me new experiences and a taste for a different place.”; “Plane rides are peaceful.”; “I get to see things from a new perspective.” and “It is different than normal life.”.  I couldn’t have said it better myself, but let me expand on their thoughts.

I have wondered if the need to travel is part of our DNA – a primal desire to find greener pastures, to never stop moving, to never get “caught” by whatever bad thing is chasing us.  That led me to my next thought; maybe we travel to run away. Is it a need to escape our everyday lives? We get so caught up in everyday – parenting, working, adulting.  It’s not that the everyday is bad, but it is routine.  It is mundane. It is repetitious and we are more creative than that. We are made to love, to quest, to wonder and to be in awe – but we DO get caught up in the everyday and forget how to do these things. I know I do. Do we travel because we need to rejuvenate our minds?

Do we love to travel because it allows us to take on even just a small part of who we wish we could be?  The first time I traveled to Europe I was 38. I had been plenty of other places, and I enjoyed them all, but when I traveled to Europe I felt at home.  I long to visit more and more castles; to learn about royal houses and I am a huge fan of Downton Abbey, The Queen and Victoria.  Does Europe feed my dream of being a princess?  Does it encapsulate my desire to experience life in a more simplistic way?  For me, travel opens doors and minds. It engages my soul and embraces my spirit.  Travel brings me closer to my dreams.

Do we travel because our parents did and that is what we know?  Maybe. When I was kid I went to Disney a few times (and I am still in love with the the whole idea of Disney everything), we road tripped to see family, we camped and when I was a senior in high school, my mom and I went to Aruba over Christmas break.  This might have been the pivotal trip that I took that cemented my love for travel. We rented a house, we drove around a place we had never been, we interacted with people who didn’t always speak English, we shopped with locals and we had a mouse that lived in our stove and lizards that lived on our walls.  It was mind blowing and magical! This trip challenged us and we grew because of it.

I have discovered that I have many reasons why I travel.  Certainly, all of the reasons mentioned above have played a role in my desires to travel over the years and each trip evolves as I do; my mindset, my worldview, and the season of life I am in.  I travel to make memories with my husband and children. If you asked me if I remember any presents I got as a kid at Christmas or my birthday, I would recall to you only one; a Cabbage Patch doll I received on my 10th birthday – her name is Diana and yes, I still have her.  That’s it! Ask me about the travel I did as a kid and I have wonderful memories to share. THAT is what I want to capture for my family, friends, and for my clients when I plan their travel. The gift of opportunity is greater than any material gift I can give, and for me, that is a big reason WHY I choose to travel.

The other big reason I love to travel is because it brings me closer to my family.  Some may not agree – some people argue more on vacation because of the stress of travel; the stress of the costs involved; kids acting up out of tiredness or overstimulation.  But for me, for US, adversity has always been something that brings us together. In another country, we are forced to reason out problems together. We have to solve mysteries created by language barriers and learn to navigate unfamiliar highways, country roads and public transportation.  When we travel, we NEED each other, and with so much independance today, that is a rarity. It no longer “takes a village to raise a child”, but it should – and for the Smith family, travel provides an opportunity for us to work together.

I view travel as an opportunity for growth.  An opportunity to relax. An opportunity to use skills I don’t get to use often.  Travel is an opportunity to make cultural and historical connections for myself and more importantly, my children.  I really want them to have a GLOBAL view of life and of humanity – not one that is inwardly focused and ego/ethnocentric. Travel provides me an opportunity to learn new things.  It challenges my perspective and sometimes I feel uncomfortable in situations that I didn’t plan for. What a wonderful thing that is!

So I ask you…what is YOUR why?