“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” ~ Pico Iyer
We have returned home from our time on the road, where dreams of sinking into my comfy bed have once again become reality. The last couple of weeks have been a flurry of activity, setting up my kitchen once again, including getting some ferments bubbling on my countertop, coordinating annual doctor visits, re-establishing a weight-training regiment (thanks to having a gym in our little community), and largely just getting back into a “normal rhythm”.
Time and again my thoughts return back to our summer in Yellowstone National Park, and then move beyond. I find myself absorbed in what travel can do for us, beyond the stunning landscapes, to what it can do for our minds, our bodies, and our souls. Whether travel serves as a walk in nature, a drive to a mind-blowing landscape, or a long plane ride to an exotic destination, there is ample evidence supporting the health benefits of travel.
Here are my top 10 thoughts on what travel is for me.
1/ Travel is humbling.
“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” — Peter Hoeg
As I look out over a vast canyon or windswept mountain or stare up at a night sky, I feel small, yet mighty. I feel more alive than any experience I could ever have sitting in front of a computer or television screen. Travel opens not only my eyes, but my heart.
2/ Travel is a way to create meaningful relationships.
We are forever grateful for those we have met during our RV travels, many we know will be lifelong friends, all who have been sprinkled with the same wanderlust as have we. And writing a travel blog has connected me with so many across this beautiful globe, many I will never meet, but who have ingrained themselves in my heart.
3/ Travel is challenging.
It forces us to endure long airport security lines, many hours of bus travel as we bump along a lonely highway, or painfully long airline flights to foreign lands. Jet lag can zap energy, cause headaches, make one feel disoriented. But if we take a deep breath, are gentle with ourselves, and move beyond these initial challenges, we see the wide world that is open to us. What frazzles our nerves can also expand our level of patience. It’s called character building baby!
4/ Travel is an avenue for discovering who we are and who we want to be.
I know that I am much more open-minded than I was before my nomadic ways began. Stepping beyond my country’s borders has given me a brand-new perspective on how I want to look at the world. Taking a break from my norm allows me time to reflect upon my personal journey through this life. Travel has restored my faith in humanity and broadened my world views as I have seen good reflected in the eyes of strangers. Travel encourages philanthropy as we discover new causes and ways to assist those suffering in this world.
5/ Travel is a means for detoxing from the negative effects of social media and news feeds.
Although we all seem to live in the world of social media to one extent or another, disconnecting, at least for a time, is healthy for both our bodies and our minds, and can be quite liberating. Our summer in Yellowstone forced us away from phones and computers and found us immersed in a world of like-minded people excited about learning more about the natural world. We met so many people we are now proud to call friends and reconnected with friends not seen for many years. We will be eternally grateful for our time at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch and hope to do it all again soon.
6/ Travel is educational.
Whether you are hiking across an open meadow, zip-lining through the forest canopies of Costa Rica, participating in a cooking class in some foreign land, or walking the streets of a city new to you, there is always something new to learn, something exciting to embrace. Travel is a magnificent teacher and hopefully, makes us more interesting.
7/ Travel is empowering and a confidence builder.
Travel forces us to step outside our comfort zone, as we navigate new territories, try a new activity that scares us to death, strive to learn a new language or embrace new customs. If we don’t shrink away from these challenges, we might discover a feeling of empowerment arising. And even if we learn only a few new words or phrases in another’s language, there is evidence to show that learning a foreign language strengthens our brains, not to mention the mental clarity that nature provides.
8/ Travel is a great story teller.
…and creates rich, lasting memories.
9/ Travel is a soul feeder.
Need I say more?
10/ Travel is the ultimate happiness fairy!
Research shows that people who are anticipating an experience; e.g. a vacation, are much happier than those who are waiting for things, like that new iPhone.
Our lives have been forever enriched by our travels, friends met along the way, and the experiences encapsulated in our hearts. We are already planning our next adventure.
“Veni, vidi, amavi” ~ I came, I saw, I loved. ~ Anonymous