Do you get those Viking River Cruise catalogs? The Patagonia experience emails? The Nambia Safari on line catalogue? The discounted European getaway? I get them, and I look at them, possibilities on a drip line into the adventure part of my brain. I ask myself, what is it that makes me want to go?
I live in vacation land. I live in a place where an uncanny combination of natural wildness in the surroundings, cultural events and good restaurants in town, draws people to come and vacation. This is a place where people travel to, to take a break from their life.
Modern travel evokes images of standing in line, long drives, flight delays, packing, making reservations, rushing to get everything done so you can be gone awhile. Doesn’t sound like taking a break, does it? Once on your way, you hope to have a long breath out, a change of pace, somewhere between airport arrivals, hotel accommodations, or family dynamics. If you are lucky, you might empty out a bit beyond emptying your money purse.
Why travel at all?
When we travel, we travel toward something, even if we think we are just getting away. Wilder places, mind expanding experiences that the daily routine deprives us from. A new look at life, friend and family contact not easily had. Often these experiences come with a certain amount of hardship, a long car ride across a state, a hike over a long mountain range, a silent meditation retreat, a family reunion inundated with logistics. Even a leisurely tropical beach get-away will have the no-see-um’s that require self control from scratching yourself bloody.
And yet despite the hardship, we humans, we travel. It is the effort to find something, that lifts us out of the amnesia of daily living, and wakes us up to a bigger experience of life, or gives us back the appreciation for what we have at home.
Travel then, is the gift of transformation, renewal. A renewal you won’t find in a catalogue.