The above quote from travel writer Pico Iyer eloquently expresses some of my thoughts on why I enjoy travelling. Everytime we head off in our campervan I feel happy knowing I am setting off on a trip that will give me many chances to open my heart to new places and people and most certainly fall in love over and over again.
Travelling to new and familiar places I uncover different ways of living and new perspectives. Travel keeps alive my fascination and interest in people, history and nature as I see places, observe interactions and learn languages. These things encourage me to make connections and enjoy our differences.
For me being away from home is always a liberating experience. My brain is stimulated by seeing the everyday differently as well as seeing new sights and learning new stories. In my own four walls I am safe but I also become tethered to a schedule and travel injects the unexpected. The sights, smells and tastes of a different place open up new possibilities for my own life and stimulate creativity and interest. I don’t witness a shining light of revelation but by witnessing other people and observing that there is more than one way to be, I gradually understand humanity just a little bit better.
I am not suggesting that coming home is unpleasant. I like where I live and returning to Lancashire I will spend a few days adjusting and thinking through everything I have seen. This is my travel-wise state and it often results in tiny shifts in my life as I follow up on something I have questioned or learnt while I was away. I might remember how much better I feel from being outdoors all day and try and include being outside more in my day; I might increase the amount of language learning I do after being embarrassed with how little I know; or I might research further a period in history I had learnt about on our trip. I try and cling onto the open-heartedness of travelling as long as I can as I move around my local area and I resist getting back into habits. Eventually I will become comfortable in the workaday again and I know it is time to get back on the road.
Travel might feel like an indulgence but it has value. It is an annoying cliche but we often think of life as a journey and it is the travelling in my life that gives me the resources to make my way along that journey as the best person I can be until my big trip on this planet ends.