There’s a whole world out there beyond the small world we live in. It was meant to be explored, not imagined, and enjoyed.
Traveling is an education you can’t get from books. It gives you a chance to leave your comfort zone, get away from it all, experience different cultures, see new things, and visit places you’ve never been before. When you venture out and leave the familiar behind, you gain a whole new perspective.
There’s nothing quite like seeing the world for yourself—actually being to cities you’ve only heard or read about. It opens your eyes and mind in amazing ways. You can’t help but come back refreshed, recharged, and changed.
My trip to Oaxaca, Mexico changed me in profound ways. Traveling to London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Barcelona brought the cities to life—they were no longer just places in books or magazines that other people talked about. Trips to the American West, Gettysburg, Colonial Williamsburg, and Jamestown put a face on American history. The water in the Bahamas was bluer than I imagined—from clear aquamarine to warm cerulean—and the sand felt like salt running through my fingers. Mount St. Helens looked like an eerie moonscape, still desolate and barren after all these years. Yellowstone was vast and wild, the roads leading to it lonely, other worldly, and breathtakingly beautiful. Standing at Ground Zero while it was still smoldering was profoundly heartbreaking. Experiencing the utter silence on a snowy summit in the Big Horn Mountains was like touching heaven.
I could wax poetic about the places we’ve been.
Tom and I are fortunate. We travel. We aren’t world travelers—we don’t globe trot, hop on a jet at a moment’s notice, or take extended vacations to exotic foreign lands. Our trips out of the continental United States have barely scratched the surface, but we have been to some amazing places we would have otherwise missed if we thought exotic was the only way to go.
Deciding to go is key
Just about everyone I know lists travel as one of the things they love to do. They talk about it, but never go anywhere. Many times it’s on their bucket list of things to do just as soon as they save the money, have the time, the kids are gone, they retire, or . . . you name the excuse.
That’s all well and good, but why wait?
It doesn’t take much to experience the joys of traveling. Some of the most interesting places Tom and I have seen have been close to home.
One-tank trips—anywhere within a two or three hour drive—are great ways to get away from it all without having to go too far or spend much in time or money. Check your local library or the Internet for attractions in your area. We do. A little research always turns up stuff close to home that’s worth seeing.
Sometimes we extend a one-tank trip and stay overnight for a long weekend getaway. One or two days is all we ever need. Treat yourself to the best hotel you can afford, the best dinner out, a little shopping, a lot of rest and relaxation. You’ll come back feeling re-charged and refreshed.
Even being a tourist in our own hometown—seeing the sights, walking the downtown area, exploring the parks, museums, shops, and historic buildings, or spending the day at a local spa—has proven to be fun, relaxing, and memorable.
These days, Tom and I are concentrating on seeing as much of the good old USA as we can.
All we have to do is get in the car and go. We choose something we want to see—the Grand Canyon, for instance—do some research, map it out, and make the drive there part of our trip, stopping in the different states to see the sights along the way.
The destination is not so important as the decision to go.
Whether it’s out-of-town for a weekend or out of the country for weeks, if you want to travel, you have to just do it. Once, when I couldn’t make up my mind on whether or not to take a trip, someone said, “If you buy the ticket, you’ll have no choice but to go.”
Just buy the ticket.