Welcome to my ramblings...

Come with me as I travel through the real places of my life and into the steep, switch-back roads of the imagination. Join me. You'll be good company and your thoughts are welcome.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Why Travel?

If there's no place like home, then why do some of us yearn to travel? Why trek here and there when home is cozy and safe by comparison? My mother told me when I was a child, "Your middle name should be GO. You always have to be going somewhere." Well it was true then, and it's true now, although these days, I go further. 

Travel is certainly not all romance. Sometimes it includes a long slick road through blinding rain, a sleepless overnight flight, or a rough bouncing ferry ride in a strong gale. At times, there's traveler's diarrhea or another cold virus. So, what's the take-away?

Maybe it's about gathering stories. It's a true love of language, using words to tell stories. We learn about places from topography to weather, and we learn about people, from how they adapt to what they create.

But more than anything, it's the unexpected, the unusual things I'd never imagined, like these:

Guanajuato, Mexico: The colors of a central Mexican city.

Ephesus, Turkey: The Roman Ruins including these first century mens' public toilets.

Rome, Italy: Marble sculptures for sale in a neighborhood shop.

Montisi, Italy: A photo op, interacting with an artist's random roadside exhibit

Anacapri, Italy: The Phoenician Steps (Scala Fenicia) Over 900 steps top to bottom of the Island of Capri
Odeceixe Beach, Portugal: The rugged Atlantic Coast of the Algarve

Inverness, Scotland: Clava Cairns, remnants of a Bronze Age cemetery.

Sorrentine Peninsula, Italy: A water delivery vehicle or a suicide bomber?

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua: Balloons for sale on the beach at sunset

Anacapri, Italy: Fried Fresh Anchovies at Restaurante di Rondinella
Medina Sidonia, Spain: Saturday afternoon neighborhood sing-along during the Christmas season

Chiusi, Italy: the National Archeological Museum that traces the Etruscan culture from beginning to end. (Sarcophagus shown)

Burgundy, France: A beautiful buffet of uniquely French food combinations

Tulum, Mexico: well-restored Mayan ruins

Isle of Skye, Scotland: Library with books about my ancestral places and people

Isle of Skye, Scotland: Book with details of the MacEachern lineage (many spellings)

Learning about ideas, culture, history

The customs, art, and tools developed within other cultures are often different from ours but equally clever. Inventions and creations can be fun to explore in the place where need inspired them. One way of gaining tolerance is to learn that we are not the only ones with good ideas, good intentions, and incredible art.

Gaining perspective

Travel teaches that while living can be a struggle, life is good and people everywhere--when they can--will go out of their way to be helpful and friendly, work hard, get creative, and have fun. We humans are more alike than different.

As I widen my outlook and inform my point of view, the world gets bigger and life gets richer. I realize how little I can ever really know. But, whether bringing home a small souvenir or a vivid memory, I am filled with stories to tell and hope for better judgment.

Acquiring greater appreciation 

Traveling to a foreign country is challenging. Immersing oneself in the culture, struggling to communicate with words or whatever it takes to find food or a place to sleep, figure out how to use the local currency and how to get from one place to another and then coming home...

Stepping off the plane onto familiar American soil again is an extraordinary moment. We relax into our familiar American English with all its flaws, our comfortable habits and traditions. Home, the same one that may cause cabin fever, resonates like never before from welcome-home dog kisses to telling and retelling travel stories in the sun on the front porch.

 If we never travel, then how can we possibly know there's no place like home?

       Are you ready?

            Let's go!