Travel is…

 “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.

This gentle artist in Rome, Italy indulged us with a photo. How could I resist one of his paintings?

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.

The power of the internet seen in Cirque Terre, Italy.

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.

Two ninas with a gift for me ~ Ajijic, Mexico

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.

How has travel changed you?

“Veni, vidi, amavi” ~ I came, I saw, I loved.  ~  Anonymous

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85 thoughts on “Travel is…

  • What a great list LuAnn. I certainly relate to much of it. I think the biggest change and benefit for me that has come form travelling is learning to trust. I trust in a way I never did before. It’s not about trusting something, or trusting that things will always go the way I want them to, but something bigger than that. It’s a trust in the unfolding, whatever it may look like. Oh and the other big one is a sense of being supported. I suppose to elaborate I could say supported by the universe, or by God, but both or neither are essential to the feeling. The feeling is simply that I’m supported.
    The second and last photos are fabulous!
    Alison

    • Since I have discovered your blog you two have given me such insights into traveling, not to mention great ideas on what to add to our bucket list. We are already planning for our next adventure, which I will mention as we connect more of the dots. I hope you are now feeling settled, enjoying quiet time, and healing.

  • Nicely stated Lou.You expressed most of our thoughts. We have s. Mexico coming up in December then Chile and Argentina in Feb.Like you said keep planning the next trip. Miss you guys. Frank

    • Thanks Frank. We love your adventurous spirit. Sounds like you have some amazing trips in your near future. Do you have a tour company that you are using, perhaps OAT? We are working on our next trip, which I will mention soon, once we connect more of the dots. See you both soon!

  • Great post. I agree with most things, but I’m not sure about no. 2. It’s easy to meet people and form friendships, but I feel they often remain superficial – more of a ships passing in the night kind of thing. It takes time to really know someone, and sometimes I long for the friends who ‘get’ me, who’ll call me spontaneously, who you can just ‘be’ with, rather than do something with. And I think travel for me, gives me the confidence to rely on my gut instinct, to feel and act on it, rather than think. It allows me to be in tune with myself.

    • I think travel demands that we rely on our gut instinct at times, as plans at times go awry. You have some great thoughts and I appreciate your comment. As to No. 2, I do agree that it takes time to know someone. As an RVer we have been very fortunate to get to know many like-minded people. And as many of these people seem to move within the same regions of the country, especially in the winter months, we have had the good fortune of seeing them over and over again.

  • LuAnn this is a beautiful reflection on your time in Yellowstone this summer and on travel in general. Love the landscape photography!

    Travel has allowed me to “spread my wings and fly”. Years back as the mom of three challenging boys I would dream of foreign and exotic locations. I felt trapped like a bird in a cage.

    I appreciate how travel forces me to be in the moment. Every day life and stresses are forgotten and or put aside and it is just about being present. Travel has made me way more outgoing. I enjoy the feeling of being anonymous and feel constantly enriched by the interaction with people from so many different backgrounds and cultures.

    Peta

    • Just like with Alison and Don, I have learned so much from your travel blog. You are absolutely right about travel forcing you to be in the moment, something so important for our everyday existence. I love the exotic, out-of-the-way corners of the world that you two find to inhabit. Here’s to more adventures for all of us!

  • Beautiful saying by Pico Iyer and so very true.

    You ask, How has travel changed you? How can I possibly add to your poetic words. I found one way only….our love of family has grown…if that is possible. We cherish family get togethers more than ever. We realize our time is limited on this earth. We need to love and cherish each moment we have with our immediate family. My dad will be 90 in November. I haven’t been with him since we left in 2009. I am flying back on Nov. 4 to surprise him at a family dinner on his birthday, Nov. 7. I know this will be maybe the biggest surprise he has ever had, and selfishly, it will give me another fabulous memory of dad and a very good time. Traveling has given us so much, but above all our love and respect for family has grown in leaps and bonds.

    You photos again are outstanding!

    • Thanks for your comment Marsha. You two seem to have the perfect family. Through your blog I almost feel like I know them too. How wonderful that you are going to surprise your father. Does he live in Ohio? I have such wonderful memories of our summer with Terry’s folks and the strengthening bond Terry developed that summer with his father.

      • He does live in Ohio. My brother and his family moved to Myrtle Beach this past August. They too will be part of the big surprise. I am sure some tears will fall….but they will be happy tears.

      • Have a wonderful time Marsha. We had a surprise party back in Ohio when Terry’s father turned 90. He was completely caught off-guard and was so happy to see everyone.

  • You are such a tease with that next adventure. The curiosity is going to kill me…don’t make me wait too long! 😉 As for how travel changed me, it goes too far back to answer. It is the air that I breathe…

    • Beautifully said Suzanne! And I think our next international travel adventure will be something you would love. I would be happy to share more in a personal email. 😉

  • LuAnn this list warms my heart and resonates deeply with me. I agree that travel can be very challenging and it has taught me a great deal of patience and positive thinking. It also has created so many astounding stories and not always when things go right. Most of all I think it has helped me to fully embrace other cultures and although I feel I have been accepting of all prior to my travel days, I know feel like each meeting with someone who may think or look different than I do is a gift. It helps me grow as a kinder more compassionate and understanding person. Seeing the world through different eyes has been the best part of travel for me.

  • Great list, Luann! Travel has also taught me that I can live simply and feel very rich at the same time (e.g. pack my essentials in a carry-on suitcase and enrich my life with amazing travel experiences). I just returned from Ireland, and will be going to Central Europe in November.

    • I totally agree with you Natalie. I probably could have added another 10 to my list. I will be stopping by soon to check out your adventures. I am envious. 🙂

  • Such great points and gorgeous photos! I’ve just started to follow your blog but I think we share many of the same feelings about traveling… whether slow travel or adventures with a lot of changes of scenery. We haven’t RVed but the idea is intriguing, especially as a way to visit our national parks. I’m looking forward to hearing about your next adventure!

    • Having read a bit of your blog now, I agree that we seem to share many of the same feelings about our nomadic ways. We are now working to connect some of the dots on our next travel adventure, then I will share. 🙂

  • As usual, this is a beautiful and thoughtful post of yours. You are one of the best photographers, I have ever seen. I have only traveled to England, Italy, and Brazil, and loved it. However, it has made me want to see more of my own country, so that is what I am trying to do. My bucket list is to visit all of the national parks, in the United States. I know your list of national parks you have visited, is huge, and I hope I can at least match it, but would like to see more, as well. I still think you must be related to John Muir. Love your blog!!!

    • Thanks Joan! We haven’t explored near as many national parks as we would like. Even with our international travels, I am always looking at where the national parks are to explore. I think you have a lofty goal Joan. I hope you succeed.

  • Oh I loved this post, LuAnn as well as all your stunning photos and the quote by Pico Iyer. Your question, “How has travel changed you?” seems deceptively simple and I had to think for several minutes about all the ways I could answer this question. For a former ‘control freak’ and perfectionist who relied on routine, plans and expectations, travel has (at times gently and at other times quite forcefully) shown me how glorious it can be to relinquish my illusions of control, let go of my expectations and wing it. The path and plans evolve and it’s amazing to see how each day and the road ahead unfolds. I especially liked your answer, # 4 about how travel allows us to discover things about ourselves and (hopefully) guides us towards who we want to be. I’m looking forward to a time when our paths cross and we can talk about your question in depth. Such a great post! Anita

    • Thanks Anita! I probably could have added substantially to that list but the post was already long enough. I had to laugh about your ‘control freak’ comment, as that certainly was me while in the corporate world. Even when we when to Europe last year, I had my spreadsheets in hand, with places we wanted to visit, when they were open, whether we needed tickets or advance reservations, etc. Sometimes old habits die hard! 🙂 I look forward to meeting you as well.

  • I agree with everything you wrote about travel, LuAnn. All of your photos are beautiful (those landscapes are stunning!) but the one that most calls to me is the photo of the two little girls with the bouquet of flowers. It’s those tiny moments that touch my soul, enrich my life, and fill me with gratitude. As do the wonderful friendships we’ve gained with very special people—including you two—along the way. 🙂

    • I will always retain that beautiful memory of those little girls in Mexico coming up to me with a bouquet of flowers as we walked along the neighborhood streets. As for friends, we feel such gratitude for those kindred spirits we have met along the way. You and Eric are tops on our list. 🙂

  • As a youngster, my parents didn’t travel very far from home, probably economics, so my view of the world was extremely limited. I’m always envious of those parents that can afford to ‘educate’ their children with world travel to prepare them for being an adult. In my retirement years, I have had the privilege of traveling abroad several times and it just makes me salivate for more. Unlike you guys, my guy is happy to stay at home so it is challenging! Also unlike you two, my trips are usually ‘guided’ and shorter limiting my exposure to what is ‘really’ there. But, I’ll take what I can get and be happy with it.

    • I had the same childhood Shirley. The only vacations we ever took were fishing trips, as that was one of my father’s interests. I do envious the younger generation who is putting travel front and center in their lives, and those parents who believe that exposing their children to nature is vitally important to their well-being. Thankfully you have a few female friends who embrace the travel bug as well and one of them lives right across the street. 🙂

  • Love this post, LuAnn! Most of my travel has been in our states (though Tanzania and the Galapagos are in there, too). As a teacher, I would always anticipate the next break when I could travel–to Colorado or Yellowstone or Canada for winter skiing, to Utah deserts for spring warmth and hiking, to the West for summer explorations. As I type, we are exploring a new-to-us national monument and loving it. I love learning the geology and wildlife of an area, enjoy meeting people in the campgrounds, and taking the time to sit outside and watch the sun wake up our earth.

    • The Galapagos is still high on our list Julianne. We feel the need to keep moving as much as possible and for as long as possible. I haven’t been on FB much lately. Have you shared which NM you and Fred are exploring?

  • What a beautiful travel post! As a young, just-starting-out traveller, this blog has inspired me so much. I felt like it was so relatable to how I felt already. As time goes on I hope I experience such amazing memories like you have. 🙂

  • A note on the Latin: the verbs are all in the singular, so the English translation is “I came, I saw, I loved.” If you’d like the plural, then the Latin forms corresponding to “we” are “Venimus, vidimus, amavimus.

  • Agree with all of them. Travelling teaches how grateful you should be for whatever comes next. If is is hard, you can do it. If it is scary, you can manage to overcome fear. If it is lonely, you will find the happiness within you. Thank you for reminding about all that.

  • Veni Vidi Amavi – I’ve never heard that before, what a beautiful phrase. I feel you’ve put what travelling means to me down better than I ever could, a first class post well done 😀

  • I love this travel post! I have visited so many places myself and every where I seem to go I find something new about myself. I am new to the blogging world so if you have any helpful tips to gain followers that would be fabulous. Here is my blog link:
    blushpinkrose.wordpress.com

  • Well said. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on traveling. I can especially relate to how humbling traveling can be. It can be humbling in terms of the sights but also humbling in terms of the vast array of awe-inspiring people you encounter. I’ve witnessed (and felt clear through!) a joy in people with next to nothing that has rushed up and walloped me. New encounters can be “a soul feeder” indeed!

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment Eric. I very much agree with your sentiment that there is a joy felt in so many people you meet who have very little. I had an experience in Rome with a young homeless man last year that left me sobbing. He was such a gentle soul.

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