This photo is from my favorite travel experience so far. Last year I was fortunate enough to travel to Marrakech and take a three day camel trek. This particular picture was taken in the morning after we spent the night in tents in the desert. On our way out, we stopped to watch the sunrise, and during my photo session with my camel this shot was taken. Camels are very interesting animals, and it still amazes me that people really use them in their everyday lives.
It’s hard to imagine that in six weeks I’ll be embarking on my next European adventure! With that said, I felt like it was time to share some of my favorite things about traveling. So here are six reasons I look forward to traveling:
1. The Challenge. This might seem odd, but I find that some of the most rewarding experiences often come from the challenge of it all. From booking international flights, to in-country transportation, to lodging, to tours and everything in-between, the challenge of figuring it all out is exhilarating to me. I also think you grow the most when you are challenged and you learn a lot about your own limits which is invaluable.
2. Time Off. I’m a huge advocate of taking time off of work. As an HR professional I understand the value of detaching from your job and actually taking the time to relax and get away. You always come back refreshed and ultimately your work is better. I especially like traveling abroad with my time off because it also gives me a chance to un-plug. We are so hyper-connected these days that it is refreshing not to turn on a TV, or be attached to your phone 24/7 for a couple of weeks every year.
3. Making Memories. I love the memories made with each new and different experience I have. In my mind, traveling makes the best memories. Both good and sometimes bad. Nothing brings people closer than shared travel memories. I try my hardest to document everything like the paparazzi and take pride in creating movies or photo books of my experiences, but the memory is something I know I’ll have forever and that means the world to me.
4. Passport Stamps. Yes, it’s shallow I understand that, but let me try and explain how much joy it brings me to go through customs or passport control…As I approach the somewhat scary passport agent, and they ask me all of the questions on their checklist, I stand in intense anticipation for that moment where they’ve decided to grant me access into their country. When they grab for the stamp and get ready place a new permanent fixture in my passport, my heart races and I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Getting a stamp in my passport is like ripping the paper off that gift you’ve wanted all year long. In that moment I feel pure elation and what could be better than that?!?
5. Exploring new Places. Don’t get me wrong, I have favorite destinations, but I LOVE the thrill and excitement of being somewhere new and unfamiliar. Somehow I feel more alive and awake, almost like I’m seeing everyday things for the first time. Maybe this relates back to being un-plugged, who knows. But whatever the reason, new cities and places inspire me!
6. Learning. Even if you don’t travel with the intention to learn, ultimately you will pick up a few things here and there. I enjoy learning simple things, but I also like to learn what the heartbeat of a place is and what makes the destination unique. If you don’t travel with an open mind you won’t learn and frankly you shouldn’t travel. But if you do have an open mind I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised what you’ll learn on your next trip!
Traveling fuels my soul and I have no doubt that I will continue to do it as long as I am able.
When I began traveling while studying abroad, I never truly appreciated how my adventures would shape my life moving forward, or how they would connect me to strangers all over the globe. Still, the connections that I have made and continue to make because of traveling, always have a way of catching me off guard. Whether it’s someone you meet in an exotic location that grew up in your home town, or someone you strike up a conversation with that stayed in the same hotel you did in Florence, travel connections still shock me. The world can be a pretty small place.
I’m not exactly a shy person and I tend to talk to strangers a lot about their travel experiences, and I don’t have a problem giving my advice or opinion, even if it’s not asked for.
Let’s take this past Sunday for instance. I stopped by one of my favorite travel stores in the mall to try and find a replacement backpack for my old JanSport that finally died after my last trip. While I was in the store another lady was there shopping for her upcoming vacation. She was looking for a collapsable duffle bag. As it turned out, I had just been looking at those myself and told her where she could find them. And naturally I also asked where she would be traveling to. She said Ireland and Scotland. That was all the opening I needed to tell her about what to do when she got there. Luckily she welcomed my thoughts and advice. The store clerk was also helping her out and we all got to talking about travel.
I learned that the clerk was originally from Israel and like most of us, would love to travel full time. And the other woman has traveled a fair amount herself. We ended up having a 30 minute conversation about how people who don’t travel limit themselves, and tend not to want to adapt and move forward with the world. Who really knows if those things are related, but we did all agree that people who don’t leave home are more narrow minded than those who travel. I left the store (after purchasing a beautiful new collapsable duffle. Still no backpack) elated and invigorated by our conversation, grinning ear to ear. Kind of like that feeling you get when you go on a date with someone you really like.
Over the years I’ve had many conversations like the one I had Sunday and I’ve made quite a few good fiends because of shared travel experiences, but it never ceases to amaze me how something so simple can instantly give you a connection to a complete stranger.
Travel is awesome!