Sunday, July 19, 2009

This is your final boarding call...

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted. - Bill Bryson

I love, love, love to travel. It's not just the sights, but the surrounding yourself in the adventure of new places, people, experiences. Throughout history, the idea of leaving one's home on some grand journey has romanticized traveling - and with good reason.

Consider this: staying at home, yes, all things are familiar. You know where to go for groceries, the best route to work, the greatest places to spend a leisurely afternoon, and sometimes you know where the remote is.

But when in an unfamiliar locale, you have the luxury of the necessary asking of directions, the best places (and sometimes cheapest places) to eat or see something amazing. You are forced into the position of meeting people for its own sake. The sights. The smells. Everything is new, even when ancient. Nothing can replace that experience. Not even a daily dose of the Travel Channel.

Some of the greatest pieces of art and literature are the result of the artist journeying to the strange and unfamiliar and sometimes daunting.

Even the act of travel itself seems an inspiration to me - the boarding of the plane or train, the packing of the bags into the car, the sounds of an interstate in the distance: all these drive me to do more, to go more, to see more, to be more.

Once you start this love affair with adventure, you'll never want it to end. Perhaps there should be a "warning" on all travel plan documents.

Caution: this trip may inspire you to go to strange places, to experience history, to taste unfamiliar and exotic food, to touch some of the oldest roads on the planet, to hunt down fun and mystery. This trip will turn you into a travel-phile. And there is no turning back.