Why We Travel
Sarah and I are cousins. Our mutual grandmother (who was awesome by the way), never learned how to drive. Her view of the world was through television or what was going on immediately around her. Perhaps, this is the reason for our wanderlust or is it something genetic, something brought on by our curious natures and insatiable sense of adventure from our youth? They say, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. Sarah and I are lucky to be both and we’ve often talked about our mutual love of travel as one of the things that binds us. This is why, for our first post on The Art of Travel Company Blog, we thought we’d answer the question that many people ask us. ”Why we travel?”
From Paula’s Perspective
I don’t know who wrote it, but I recently read a quote about adulthood that stuck with me, “I hereby resign from adulthood. Decisions will be made using the eenie-meeni-minie-moe method and arguments will be settled by sticking out my tongue. I’ll be at recess if you need me.”
We live in a society where we are inundated with information and pressed for time. When you travel, time is your own. You are not anywhere where you have obligations. The only thing you are obligated to do is to explore—act like a kid again. This is why I travel and what travel does. It frees you and exposes you to new experiences, people, and sites so beautiful you couldn’t even imagine they’re real (my husband refers to this “nature’s art”). From the moment you open your eyes, wherever you are, it’s your day to do what you want, when you want, ALL day long. I leave all my adult responsibilities—the vacuuming, laundry, paying bills, work stress–at home. Good-bye adulthood! The world is my oyster and the days are my own. Shall I sleep in today? Should I tour that museum? Can I have a cup cake for breakfast? There is no one to tell me what to do, no obligations (unless I decide), and it truly is the freedom to explore and regain the sense of adventure I once had as a kid.
I travel because it gets me out of my comfort zone. It exposes me to new things I would not see otherwise and it breaks me free of the routine that binds me. In our everyday lives, we don’t get this luxury very often. It’s off to work or to bring the kids to school or an activity. In life, AKA “adulthood”, there will always be bills and responsibilities, but the last thing I want to do is look back on life and say, “I wish I had traveled to that white sand beach in the Caribbean or I wish I had gone to Italy to explore my roots. Life is short. Just because we are not kids anymore doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and feel that sense of adventure with no responsibility…and this my friends, is why I travel.
Sarah’s Point of View
Our friends and family think we are crazy. There are times I agree. We travel. We love it, most of the time. We travel at a frenzied pace. There are times I feel I am sprinting for that gold medal prize, trying desperately to see everything on my bucket list before our trip ends. My husband recently announced he had finally figured me out after all these years. He realized that I secretly love stress and the uncertainty of traveling with children. At first, I was angry, but I realize now it must be true.
I am not really sure why I feel this way. It may be that I can count on one hand the number of vacations I took with my family. I am not begrudging my parents and the lifestyle choices they made, it is merely an observation that this lack of travel and experience may have fueled my constant need to see and do. We also live busy lives, with three children, lots of activities and schedules to adhere to. Even on vacation, I continue to strive to stay on schedule and adhere to an itinerary. I feel more comfortable when a plan has been established and I can tick the boxes as we move on in our plans.
I have felt guilty about the expectations I place on our children to bend and sway with our travel plans. But recently, I encountered a very sullen teenager, while on visit in Washington DC. Our 13 year old was pouting because she felt I had not scheduled enough museum time and historical touring to suit her. (Ahhh, a girl after my own heart.) I know our travel plans are not for every family, and I completely understand the need to relax, unplug, and travel at a snail’s’ pace for rejuvenation—that is just not my family. We travel hard, but in the evening, we gather around our rented living area and we talk about our favorite moments and relive our experience over a board game or deck of cards. We laugh over the mishaps of the day, rehash the highlights, and discuss our plans excitedly for the next day. We are building memories together as a family. Our children’s experiences are my husband’s and my experiences as well. We aren’t living vicariously through our children, we are living simultaneously…and this is why I travel.
Why do you travel? Send us your story and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org, We’d love to hear from you.