What is Travel About?

013What makes you want to get up and leave the comfort of your own home to go someplace new?  Why do you endure the moderate agony of packing your suitcase, locating a clear, 1 quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag, and 3.4 oz. containers for your carry-on liquids, and wearing slip-on shoes to navigate airport security?  Why do you willingly sit for hours in a cramped airplane with strangers?

Is it the lure of adventure?  Is it the chance to escape your daily routine, dear as it might be, to breathe air in a new space? Is it love of the unknown?  Whatever it might be, it is unique and singular for every individual.

I remember watching Out of Africa, with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.  At the beginning of the film, there is a line: “I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong hills….”  This single line filled me with a longing; not to go to Africa, but to go to Rungstedlund, Denmark.  I wanted to visit the home of Karen von Blixen, author of the book that inspired the movie; to reach into her history and develop some understanding of this woman who had a love affair with language (as well as Denis Fynch-Hatton).

Travel is about stories.  The stories of those who have come before you and the stories of the people you meet along the way.   The history, the art, the architecture, the literature, the stores, the food, the entertainment; they’re all part of the stories.

Travel is about curiosity.  You won’t choose to go anywhere if you aren’t curious.  What does it feel like to spend a weekend in a luxury resort?  You won’t know unless you go.  What does Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa look like in real life?  If and when your curiosity reaches the bursting point, you’ll go to Paris, make a bee- line for the Louvre and see for yourself.

Travel is about self-discovery.  Are you resilient?  How do you manage when you land in a place where you don’t understand one word of the language?  How will you get from the airport to the hotel?  How will you find a good restaurant?  How will you react when you’re stuck in the airport for 6 hours due to a flight delay?

Travel is about priorities. What is important to you?  What means enough that you will spend time, energy and money pursuing it?  Love Italian cooking?  Head to Tuscany and take a cooking class.  Been practicing yoga for years?  Costa Rica has wonderful yoga retreats.

Travel is about romance.  The whispers of other ages, the footsteps of those who have walked the same path years before and who will walk it in the years ahead, the vision of dreams brought to life.  The music of a language, the sounds and aromas of a city, the beautiful silence of a starry sky over a tropical island resound with the romance of travel.

I haven’t made it to Rungstedlund yet.  I was close when I got to Copenhagen; only 15 miles away. I’ll get there.  Let me know if you want to go along.

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