Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Need to Travel

The world is composed of seven continents, each consisting of cultures, traditions, and lifestyles vastly different from my own. Living in the proud and patriotic United States, I will be the first to admit that Americans are often “those people” who are much less “cultured” than our friends living on the other six continents. Why, I don’t know. Maybe it is because we have it engrained it us from a young age that you grow up, go to college, get a degree, get a good job, and then “do all the stuff you always wanted to do” when you retire.

Honestly, I’ve never understood that reasoning. When I tell people that I want to travel for a living, they often look at me like I’m a crazy, 20-something who has yet to grow up. Yes, I have that college degree – two in fact, and yes, I have a full-time job, but that doesn’t mean that my want and desire to travel has faded.

As a spiritual person, I firmly believe that God created this world not just for his enjoyment, but for ours as well. For those who desire to travel no further than their state’s borders, kudos to you. For me, that has never, nor will it ever be my dream. I have always said that when that time comes for me to get married, my spouse had better enjoy traveling because that is a make it or break it deal for me. Also, when I have children, you better believe, they’re traveling with me.

For me, traveling is an eye-opening experience. Not only do I physically get to see places that I’ve never seen before, but I get to experience a place emotionally and spiritually. What I mean is that when I travel, I am being given a chance that other people may never be given. Seeing the world is something everyone should be given the opportunity to do, but unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.

Growing up, my parents never took a vacation without my sister and me. Traveling to Florida every summer, taking cruises, and spending two weeks in Europe has led me to believe that traveling is in my blood. In the past few years, I have become much stronger in my faith. Not only do I trust God to lead me in the direction he wants me to go, but I strongly believe that he has a plan for me and that is to make travel a large part of my life.

I realize I have written on this topic before – why I travel, but lately, I have felt like I needed to reiterate this not only to my readers, but to myself. Seeing this great world that God has created, it is foolish to let it go unseen. My writing may not mean much to others, but if my passion and words can spark even just the tiniest bit of interest and/or influence in traveling for someone else, then this blog is a success.

Traveling isn’t just about hopping on a plane, taking some pictures and “oohing” and “awing” over some monuments and paintings…it is about appreciating, understanding, admiring and most of all, respecting how others live in this world.

As Americans we often take things for granted. Traveling allows you to reevaluate those things and instead, appreciate what you do have.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Traveling with My Sister

"If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child." -- Linda Sunshine

Having grown up with my sister for 26 years, I knew what I was getting myself into when she and I decided to travel to Europe for two weeks a few years ago.

Those of you who have older sisters know what it is like to be picked on, ignored, have your hair pulled, and even tricked to do some pretty humiliating and/or stupid things like stand by the side of the road and wave at various cars driving by the house. Oh, and did I mention I was three years old at the time!

Anyway, as we grew older, and she moved away, our relationship has become much stronger as we respect one another and actually listen to what each other has to say. When planning our trip to Europe, we talked on the phone for hours, plotting and planning each day -- we're planners, that's how we grew up.

When the day came to leave for Paris, the last thing my mom said to the two of us, besides "I love you," was "Remember, this is a trip you'll remember for the rest of your lives. Make good memories and don't be fighting!"

Naturally, we gave her the whole ho-hum answer of "Okay mom, we know, we know" but little did we know, we actually did get along throughout our trip. For some reason, while she was living in New York, I would go to visit and by the third day, every single time, we would be so mad at each other. This time, we made it two solid weeks and had only one minor spat. We were arguing about a sign in one of the Paris subways -- a very confusing one at that -- and I was saying we should go one way while she was saying we should go another. Graced with the art of direction, she managed to prove me wrong -- figures.

All in all, my mom was right. Our two weeks in Europe was an experience I will never forget. I got to experience some of the most amazing, humbling, and eye-opening places with her. Some people prefer to travel alone, not wanting to mess with the plans that someone else might have. I can understand and respect that.  I've often thought about traveling by myself and have absolutely nothing against those that do...who knows, I just might one day.

Until then, I prefer to share my worldly travels with those I love, whether that be my parents, my sister, or my friends. Hey, at least I won't have to worry about some stranger running off with my camera when I ask someone to take my photo!