Travel as much as you can, it’ll leave you with something nobody can take away from you, my mother told me a long time ago. I made a habit of ignoring her advice most of the times, but she was right about this one.
For as long as I can remember, even as a child, I couldn’t wait to pack my bags and go on a trip. Also, for a very long time, I believed the greatest traveling adventure would be the next one. Like it or not, you learn that’s not always the case, just as that’s not necessarily a healthy way to perceive experiences, no matter what kind they are. As the years passed, I learnt something else about myself and travelling – not all travel opportunities should be taken, one shouldn’t embark on absolutely all journeys, just because they’re within reach.
As I contemplate the year ahead with no major travel plans in mind, I realize I’m fine with it – at least for now. I need to have other priorities for the near future, and if somehow I manage to fit in some quick trip abroad, that’ll be a bonus. If not, however…well, I’ve been through worse.
Clearly, I’ve not given up all hope, since I did recently purchase a new album for my postcard collection. Yes, that’s one of my travel traditions, I try to get a postcard or two from all places I visit (I’ve skipped a few, but who’s keeping track…). As a child, I used to look at all the postcards from places my mother had seen and I was fascinated by such colour and beauty; the thought that she had actually been there was almost unbelievable. I still remember dreaming how it must be to go to all those countries and it felt like I could never accomplish something like that. Years later, I can say I made that dream come true, I have my own postcard collection, my own travel stories, and I think I’ve already been to more countries than my mother has.
Of course, those were different times, and traveling internationally was not as easy or accessible as it has become these days. But that’s not the point. Traveling has been one of the most enriching and eye-opening experiences for me. I think I could safely compare it to reading, when it comes to the vast array of things I’ve learnt about life in general, but also about myself. Some statements you hear about traveling are well-established clichés – it broadens your horizon, it gives you the opportunity to know new places, new people and new cultures, it’s culturally enriching and helps you grow. I happen to believe they’re true, but with one condition, that you be open to learning, growing, accepting that you might be proven wrong, and occasionally even to being changed to the core.
That being said, traveling is not for everybody. Rejecting this particular part of life may make some persons ignorant, but the fact remains, there are great people who simply don’t feel this particular urge. They’re not worse for it, simply because they already have the life which suites them best and that includes no desire for traveling. We’re not identical, we don’t like the same things and we do have different needs. I remember my great-grandmother… Having to spend a week or so away from home, at the seaside, was one of the most trialling experiences for her… and this was a woman who lived through both World Wars.
Then there are those who travel, yet don’t really travel. After all, traveling is in right now, you absolutely have to inundate social media with photos from as many amazing places as possible. But when it comes to experiencing anything special, traditional those places might have to offer, the closest they come to it is a shopping spree during sales. You have no idea how many times I asked this or that person about what they’d visited while being on vacation abroad, and all I got was a comprehensive enumeration of local stores and perhaps a quick display of some of their purchases. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an avid bargain hunter as well, I love shopping and I firmly believe you can never have too many pairs of shoes, but I can also do all that online and at home. If I’m in a new place only for a few days, I often can’t find enough time to go shopping as well.
Well… like I said, no glamorous travel plans for this year. The options I do have don’t appeal to me – yes, I did learn my lesson, and now I do discriminate when it comes to travel opportunities. But I’m not giving up on brief impromptu trips, at least locally, if further away is not an option. Who knows what the year may bring… Anyway, I do intend to discover more, I’m just taking a different route.
Thank you for the inspiration, Amy (Lens-Artists Weekly Challenge – My Travels). Have a good time, all of you, whether you’re travelling or uncovering hidden treasures at home. There are so many ways of exploring. And do share your photos with the rest of us!