“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert.
Unfortunately, I am not someone who travels often. Growing up in a family of seven, traveling came far and few between. Actually, we did travel, but hardly ever was it for pleasure. We usually traveled for distant appointments with specialty doctors that all of us kids saw.
Needless to say, despite my few travels, I LOVE traveling. Even though I am an introvert, I love traveling to places. The biggest reason is because I love people watching and absorbing myself in an unfamiliar environment. Just as the above quote says, traveling forces you to see how small you are in a big world. The world has so much to offer—so many people, so many foods, so many cultures, and so many traditions.
For me, taking vacations is not about the greatness of the city or the marvel of monuments there but soaking up the small things. You do not need to go to the biggest and best destinations in a travel magazine to have a good vacation. You need to have an open mind to seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. A true traveler will let the destination make their plans, not make their plans around the destination. An item on my bucket list is to drive to any place I have not been. Pick any place on the map and go. I would also drive here, not fly. After all, as cheesy as it may be, it is true—traveling is not about the location, but the journey to get there. One of my most favorite trips I have ever taken was a bus trip to Atlanta, Georgia. That sure forced me out of my comfort zone. Half the fun of the trip was wondering what I would find in my next pit stop.
Often times, I like to think I gained my love for travel solely because I was born in a foreign country. When I was adopted almost 16 years ago, I woke up in Russia and fell asleep in America. There were a lot of unknowns, yes. But it was exciting. It was exciting to learn what all my new place of residence had to offer.
If we look at life through the right lens, each activity outside of our home, wherever that may be, is a reason to travel. Each errand trip is never the same as the previous one. Yes, that may take a little imagination and a time outside of oneself, but it is worth it. To travel is to be modest. To accept and embrace fully that the world is not all about you—your life in this city or that is not all that is out there.
Whether or not you travel for business or pleasure, make the most of the opportunity. I am not saying you have to enjoy the people or the experience with rainbows and sunshine. Simply, make it a goal to point out one thing you liked or maybe did not like. Point out one habit or person you found interesting and why. People watch. Reflect. Be observant.