My partner asked me a great question the other day: “Why do you travel?”
“Because it’s the greatest thing in the world.” Was my immediate response.
I know it’s an expense that some people just cannot afford (though, I’m such a fanatic- I’d do whatever it takes to go overseas), but for everyone who can afford it- even at a basic level… I don’t see why you wouldn’t travel.
It is, truly, one of life’s great joys.
Sometimes it’s super hard to appreciate what’s around you. Sometimes it’s super hard to see how you’re going to make it to the end of your working week without losing your mind. Sometimes there’s no greater place in the world than your bed. But then… you go somewhere so removed from where you’ve just been, life fills your lungs and you can breathe again. You stand on top of the world, take a deep breath in, look around, and remember- this is a splendid planet worth loving, worth celebrating, worth appreciating every day.
In the face of this big world, that has provided you with so much- you remember how grateful you are for your friends, your family and your little world.
Travel has the ability to change you. To show you your way is not the only way- there are millions of people doing life differently.
I grew up privileged, and I am grateful every day my parents took me to India when I was only 10. I saw such extreme poverty- such extreme wealth, such beautiful spirituality- such cultural diversity, I have honestly never been the same. It was that trip that made me a charitable person. That trip that made me a thankful person. That trip that made me a spiritual person. That trip that made me an open-minded person. I remember returning to school and being shocked by the sense of entitlement some of my school-mates had. “You have no idea”, I thought, “No idea how lucky you are.”
Travel has the ability to bring you peace.
For all of the goodness in our lives, there is equal and opposite badness that wounds and troubles us all. But, standing on the highest peak of Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye, eyes closed, wind ripping past me- I felt the scars fade. Getting lost in the Tuscan hills around Florence, and accidentally ending up at San Miniato Al Monte during a Gregorian chant performed by monks, the din of the world slipped in to quietude. Watching the moon rise over Santorini, blood red and huge, a marvel was induced that seemed to stop the Earth’s fussing for just a moment.
Travel can provide you with another home.
I believe that your blood, your heart, and your soul belong places- but not always the same places! I’m a MacGregor on my Mum’s side- and I will swear black and blue that the first time I went to Scotland, age 14, I felt my blood tingle as it returned home. I’m English on my Dad’s side, lived in London for a good chunk of my 20s, and will always call London “my city”. My other home is Florence- I suspect because it is the flip-side to my London personality. I’m loud and quick in London, quiet and slow in Florence. The two balance each other out.
So, why do I travel? Why should we all travel? Sure, for all the usual reasons- education, history, culture… but more importantly- for growth, for peace, and for all the places we can call home.