The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.
- St. Augustine
Why do we want to travel? And why should we? How did this urge start - or were we born with the wanderlust gene? I know when my addiction started. My grandfather had a museum. Not a real museum, but his house was filled with unique souvenirs from his travels. He had a room filled with slide carousels from floor to ceiling. He told about carrying a 50lb. soapstone sculpture home (which now sits proudly in my home). He reminisced about trading an African warrior enough money to buy a cow for his spear (a/k/a his manhood). He was an avid orchid collector traveling through jungles to cut down beautiful specimens. He had a business school group from around the world and they met in a different country every year. Did these things foster his love of travel? A man who had dropped out of school at 13 during the depression and ended up traveling the world later in life. Could he have imagined such wanderlust? As his grandchildren were about to graduate from college he offered us good ol' cash or a whirlwind trip through Europe. Of course I knew what he wanted me to choose. And it was a no-brainer. This fueled my passion.
So why did my grandfather feel that travel was so important? There are a myriad of reasons.
1. Travel is the ability to leap into the unknown with mindfulness and grace. When was the last time you tried something new? Is it scary? Sure, but the adrenaline rush after and the sense of accomplishment is unlike any other.
2. Travel provides learning and educates us about other cultures and people. Many say that if more people traveled, there wouldn't be as much bigotry, hatred and war. We would empathize with our fellow mankind.
3. Travel gives us time to heal, reduces stress and helps us regain enthusiasm for life. By unplugging from technology and engaging in new activities in new places, we release unwanted habits; we become empowered. It helps us get "unstuck".
4. Travel stokes curiosity and awakens our inner child by creating first-time experiences. It opens our eyes to new possibilities.
5. Travel promotes patience. It teaches us that there isn't just "one right way" to do things.
6. Travel invites us to get lost and embrace what we might discover if we don't strictly follow the map of life.
7. Travel exposes us to such jaw-dropping beauty that we are speechless.
8. Travel makes us present in the moment. This is impossible in our 9 to 5 days. Times becomes a blur. Travel affords us the opportunity to see the past, present and future.
9. Travel provides an education that is impossible to obtain in school.
10. Travel builds a treasure of memories that can never be taken away.
As I now travel with my 15 year old son who has been to 28 countries and whose first question is, "how long is the flight?", I know that my grandfather is looking down with a big smile on his face.