Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What does travel mean to you?

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to travel. I can't recall exactly when this wanderlust took a hold of me, but it was a desire to start seeing this great big world of ours that inspired me to participate in a study-abroad program in high school. If I wasn't hooked on travel then, I surely was after spending a year in a foreign country during my formative teenage years.

I don't know if this vagabond sensibility is acquired, or if it's in my blood. Possibly the latter—my uncle was a drifter, exploring much of Europe (including the prisons of East Germany) before sailing across the Atlantic on a boat appropriately named "Tumbleweed" and settling in Puerto Rico. One thing I know for sure: a great many people share this love of travel with me.

This fact was recently reinforced by an ad I saw on the subway that theorized why people prefer Jameson Irish whiskey: "Perhaps the ship on our label reminds people of travel. And who doesn't like to travel?" I know that a man who seeks wisdom from a bottle of whiskey will probably meet a bad end, but in this case, the wisdom is obvious. People love to travel.

And the beauty of the "Why"—why people love to travel—is because "travel" means so many different things to different people. Travel can be an exploration of the unknown; it can be a well-deserved vacation from work; it can be a reunion with family and loved ones; it can be an opportunity for new business deals or a new life; it can even be a tearful goodbye to one who has passed. Travel brings us closer, whether to those we know or those we haven't met yet. It (hopefully) reminds us that although the world is large, we are all one people.

What does travel mean to you?




Blogger avra said...

Growing up in Greenwich Village, New York, I felt that I was at the center of the city that was the capital of the world. Surely no other place on earth could boast the rich intellectual history, the nexus of art and entertainment, the cultural vibrancy, the great mix of ethnicities... yes, I was at the center of the world.

Until I went to Europe. I was seventeen and it shook my little parochial conceits. I was looking at architecture that was eight hundred years old... and this was not considered especially remarkable. I was standing on ground that had seen the march of armies over millennia. Looking in the knowing eyes of residents that had witnessed, collectively, the rise and fall of civilizations. Suddenly I was stripped of my smug know-it-all, America-centric
delusions. It was a very healthy realization.

Ever since, I have loved to travel. To experience the richness and diversity of other people's cultural heritage. To humbly try to learn how other people
think about life and it's complexities. To see the world though other's eyes. Their sorrows and joys, their hopes and fears. Sometimes they are remarkably similar to my own. Often they are fascinatingly different.

The world is so vast. I shall never see all that I would wish. But I relish every opportunity to visit new places and meet new people. Overwhelmingly I have been impressed with people's kindness and curiosity about where I come from. My best friend from childhood travels only when he must. Though an intellectually inquiring person, he has no desire to leave the comfort of his routine. I have a hard time fathoming this. 'Different strokes...' I suppose. But to me, the opportunity to travel, is the richest avenue to seeing all the possibilities that exist in this world, and the best way of building bridges of understanding.

Keep on truckin'.... Avra

February 18, 2008 10:20 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home