November 1, 2015 in Inspiration
Why do you travel (so much)?
It’s a question I’m often asked. The answer is complex, and it’s always changing, but at the root of it are my core values.
When we were about to take off traveling with our kids in a concerted way, in 2007, I wrote about our Why in response to questions and a little bit of criticism that we’d gotten. Much of my answer in that place, at that time, centered around my children, the education I wanted them to have and the childhood we hoped to craft for them.
When I ask the same question of myself now, eight years on, I find the answer much more centered around myself, who I am, and who I am becoming, and far less about the outcomes with my young people.
Perhaps that’s because half of them are off on their own adventures now, and the other half seem on solid paths to their destinies. Perhaps it’s because I’ve learned that what’s more important than how I raise my kids is how I raise and care for myself, because if I don’t do that well, then I have nothing to give to them.
My core values include:
- Lifelong learning
- Passion driven work and play
- Developing compassion and empathy
- Continuing adventure.
Can all of those things be had within a five kilometer radius of the cottage I’m currently living in in Canada? Of course, but not in the same way.
I travel now, with and without my family, because travel feeds my soul.
- It pops me out of the mould that it’s so tempting to settle in to.
- It challenges the ways I think by presenting me with entirely new ones.
- It schools me in my limits and teaches me to stretch my boundaries, both internal and external, physical and emotional.
- It opens my eyes, to who I am, and to who others are. It introduces me to myself and to the world: other individuals, other cultural norms, other ways of thinking, believing, acting, and creating life.
- It reminds me that I know nothing for certain.
- It reminds me that I have no corner on any market.
- It keeps me humble and asking questions instead of doling out answers.
I travel to encounter my loves: people, places, flavours, smells, sensations, adventures and ideas.
I travel to learn: languages, ways of thinking, ways of being, a myriad of skills I’d never have if I hadn’t wandered.
I travel to grow: in compassion, but more importantly empathy. I seek to understand, both what is within myself and what I find around me.
I travel for adventure: I’m one of those people who feels most alive when out on an adventure. Sometimes that’s just a long walk under fall leaves. Other times it’s sleeping, al fresco, on top of a volcano, or sliding down the Mekong in the monsoon, or reading a really great book. Sometimes the best adventures happen without leaving my own head.
I travel so I can breathe: deeply, fully, and of the air of all of the places.
I travel so I can write: because writing is how I think.
I travel as an act of thanksgiving: to the gods that may be, for the gift of life and health and this beautiful planet to enjoy. It annoys me when I give a kid a great book and he opens one page, says, “Thanks, Mom,” and then tosses it on the shelf to gather dust. I want to read all the pages.
I travel because this is me. And I like me. And I like the world.
Why do you travel?