There are so many ways to view travel. The most obvious way is going to a different place. A different city or country. Going somewhere different from where you live. Finding ways to experience new adventures, meet new people and expand your horizon. But recently travel to me has been something different.
I have done a lot of the traditional traveling because of my work. I have been to many places that were never on my list of things to do before I die. I have been to seven cities for the Olympics starting with Salt Lake City and every one after that including my recent trip to Russia. I have seen how a huge event can change a city and the people in it. How an economy can be so grim but have a venue that brings everyone together and for that brief moment pride for their country and their heritage can be read on every face.
Yet I also have traveled to places that aren’t having the Olympics at their doorstep and, although not as apparent, I still get a sense that people love their homes and are doing the best they can to make the most of it. I have had the opportunity to be just a tourist with no work agenda but not often enough. My co workers and I are like gypsies moving from place to place. We make a mark for a brief moment and then move on.
Sometimes that mark can be a bit disconcerting because the hours are long and the stress is high. When that happens I don’t really get to experience much of what makes that location tick. I move like the Tasmanian Devil whirling through only to stop for a brief moment, breathe heavily in and out to catch my breath and continuing my dust swirling path. At times it is exhausting, lonely and can reek havoc on your body and your mind.
From the outside it can seem glamorous. Yes, I have had many wonderful times at dinners and scuba diving trips and peeking through a gate to see a beautiful courtyard. And I have thoroughly enjoyed it. But I tend to remember more the times I have spent with my family at the Great Wall of China or walking the streets of Venice during Christmas. Because I am still with them and can share the adventures with them every time we see a picture or look at a souvenir we bought when we were all together.
I guess what I am trying to say is that as much as those adventures spent away on my own were amazing memories, they are different. They are my experience in a different context. My sister and I will reminisce about our travels we had as kids and laugh at the silliness of it all. We will look at pictures and remember wacky family members as well as the ones we still hold close to our hearts. And I find now that is what makes travel all the more vital.
I’ll be traveling to Bali by myself, not for work, but for myself. No family, just me. This will be another different way of travel for me. Really, my first. I’m hoping the memories I bring back will be one of self growth, self awareness and self love. Talk about an adventure…