Friday, January 28, 2011

Why Do YOU Travel?

I decided to stop and use this blog post to find out why so many of us travel. I always find it interesting to hear people talk about where they are going, how long they’ll be gone, and what they plan on doing, but the one thing I want to know most is, why?

Each of us has our reasons, whether it is to take a break from work, relax in some tropical region, go on an adventure, or for some, traveling allows them “to find themselves.” I’ve never been too sure of what that statement means but I guess if you think traveling will help you do that, go right ahead. For me, traveling is therapeutic. It gives me a chance to break away from everything that is deemed “normal” and actually experience something new and exciting.

I have been incredibly fortunate to have grown up with parents who believe that taking their kids on vacation is a necessity. Granted, I have spent many summer vacations in St. Petersburg, Florida; a relaxing destination that is a favorite of ours, yet, within driving distance to some of Florida’s best amusement parks. Besides a few smaller weekend getaways, my parents have never left my sister at me at home for a vacation. If you talk to my mom, she will always say that no matter how young we were, she couldn’t let us miss out on what the world offers. Some of my fondest memories are those of when I was very young, playing in the pool in Florida or digging for seashells on the beach. I owe my parents for giving me those experiences.

Another reason why I travel is to take in the history of these destinations. Anywhere you go, you can find history. Whether it is in a building, a book, or monument, history is everywhere. Now, some of you may not be as enthusiastic about history itself. You may have even hated learning about it when you were in school, but we all can appreciate what history has given us. On my trip to Europe this past summer, I was given the opportunity to see parts of history that I never thought I would ever see in my lifetime. Standing on Omaha Beach, visiting the Sistine Chapel, and even lurking around Casanova’s holding cell in Doge’s Palace in Venice—all of these are where history lived and continues to live today.

You see, for me, it is much like walking into an old archive and being given the chance to hold an old document. The faded writing, the fragile paper, and the significance of what it is you are holding in your hands; that feeling of awe and excitement in that moment is one that can never be replaced. These are the feelings I yearn for when I travel. To be inspired by the faded paintings and written text, to see and touch the fragile buildings and sidewalks that make up history, and most of all, to recognize and cherish the significance of that painting, that text, that building, or that sidewalk—that’s why I travel.

It disheartens me when I hear of others who are giving the opportunity to travel the world and yet, take their experience for granted. It doesn’t matter to them that they stand where hundreds of thousands of men and women, who have died for this country, lay in Arlington National Cemetery. It doesn’t matter to them that they are where nearly 3,000 innocent Americans lost their lives on September 11, 2001. It doesn’t matter to them that they are standing in the hall that ended World War I. It saddens me that these people can bypass, overlook, and even disregard the importance of the past.

I look at traveling as a chance to visit the places that have played a role in how we live today. The more we know about our past, the better prepared we are for our future. The day I stood on the hill of Robert E. Lee’s home, I looked out over the hills of perfectly manicured, green cut grass, and truly understood the ultimate price of freedom. There stood hundreds of thousands of white crosses, each engraved with a hero’s name. Suddenly, I felt inspired by the reason these men and women gave their lives for this country, I understood the significance of what each of those crosses stood for and the way they represent freedom for this country. Finally, I saw and felt how fragile a heart can be when realizing what the sight before them means.

I started this blog because I wanted to share my love for traveling. Whether or not it was just me reading it or thousands, I couldn’t hold these experiences in any longer. I have pictures and video to remind me of the beauty I have seen throughout my life (okay I’m only 25 so maybe not a long life), J but to be able to share my travels with others, and at the same time, share with you all, the importance of traveling…it brings a lot of joy to my life. This is something I want to do the rest of my life. One day when and if I get married and have children, I hope that I too can show them the wonders of this amazing and awe-inspiring world.

So tell me, why do YOU travel?


Meri said...

Travel for me can be humbling, it can be inspiring, it can be eye opening, or it can make you feel like you finally know where your home is. Travelling always reminds me of what or who is imoprtant back "home."
Also, I think it's pretty hard to understand the way the world works if you have a narrow experience of what the world looks like!
Great post :)

Nicole said...

I agree Meri! People who opt to NOT see the world have no clue what they are missing and do not understand the way other cultures work, etc...

Anonymous said...

I love to travel to be immersed in a different culture and to experience the day to day life, than is not my own.
I also love to travel because I am a huge history nerd, and as much as I enjoy just resting or going shopping, I love seeing the places that you typically just read about.
It also makes me think and realize different aspects of my life. The most important thing is usually to not take life for granted, and to appreciate even the simplest things.

Theres a million reasons, but those were just the ones off the top of my head :)

Nik said...

OK. I feel like a novice here! But I have never traveled outside the united states. Many reasons . . . funds being the major one! I would love to go to Egypt and Ireland one day. But of suppose I will have to wait for the world to calm down a bit before I travel East. So sad . . .

Anyway, I do love to travel by car. There is nothing like a long stretch of interstate and some really good music. It calms me and gives me time to sort stuff out. It's kinda like gas powered therapy. I live about 6 hours away from my family, so I travel by car via interstate often . . . and at times, it is my saving grace.

I love your site Nicole! I look forward to reading it and thanks for following me at Serendipi-tea. I shall do the same here!!


Hostel Tinktinkie, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita said...

Hi Nicole,somebody told me that when you get bitten by the travel bug you will never shake the disease. I think it is true. When I cannot travel I get moody and irritable. It is defintely thereapeutic. I travel to explore unknown places. It is impossible to describe the feeling when your bags are packed and you are ready to go and explore the unknown. I always believe you should see the good and bad, rich and poor in each country. Fancy hotels are not doing it for me. I like to experience the culture, religion, transport and the way of living. The effects of travelling lasts forever. You can never forget or burry the memories. They will always stay alive in your mind. Your whole mindset changes and you view the world through different eyes. You re-discover yourself every step of the way. Travelling is absolutely amazing!

Nicole said...

I completely agree...once you've got bitten by the travel bug, to the point of no return, there's no turning back. To experience the way of life in another culture...there's nothing like it. 1) It's incredibly fulfilling and 2)It's experiences that like you said, will remain with you forever

Rachael said...

I, too, love to travel, and I never thought that may have stemmed from my family vacations as a child. Like your family, we always went on vacation, whether we spent a week at the lake a couple hours away, went to the coast, or even as far as Prince Edward Island, Canada. I love traveling because it reminds me how insignificant my bubble of a life is. There's so much going on in the world around us, and as you pointed out, so much to learn. My travels have inspired me, giving me new sources from which to draw creativity and different perspectives from which to think. And in times when I think my life is the dumps, they have given me hope that there's a place out there where life makes sense for me ... or even shows me how great I have it where I am.

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