Wanderlust: a very strong and irresistible impulse or desire to travel the world
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to see the world. I’m sure this desire came from my love of reading because growing up I was fairly sheltered from outside cultures and even travel experiences. My family only took two vacations: one to California when I was in first grade and another to Florida when I was in sixth grade. And it wasn’t until the last seven years that true opportunity to see the world has come my way.
Travel can change your life. Here are some ways my life has been changed and lessons I have learned.
*Travel has opened my eyes to the wonder and beauty of the world – as well as the most extreme poverty I have ever seen. There are places that have reminded me of home (like Japan and Ireland) and places that made me feel like I had come home (like Scotland). Being able to see true poverty in places like Dominica and the Panama Canal with my son so that he understands the rest of the world does not live like us has been amazing and heart-wrenching. One of the most beautiful places we have been to is Barbados. And yes, Niagara Falls from the Canadian side really is the best view.
*I have learned to be flexible, adaptable and adventurous. Things don’t always turn out as you plan (like having the last flight of the night cancelled and then spending the night in the Detroit airport). I have waited patiently for transportation to the cruise ship in Colon from the Panama Canal airport which is two hours away, knowing we would arrive 30 minutes before the ship sailed. I have enjoyed river tubing in Jamaica, zip-lining on the Royal Caribbean ship, riding a camel in
Dubai, and look forward riding an elephant in India in a couple of months.
*Travel has taught me that stereotypes are just silly. Being from Kentucky I know this first hand. But after traveling to 23 countries I truly believe that those who do not travel or do not take time to meet and get to know people from other cultures are the most closed-minded of all. Travel allows you to learn to respect the beliefs and customs of other cultures. While in Japan, I participated in a Buddhist ceremony; in China I said a prayer of thanks and burned incense at the Lingyin Temple; I dated a Muslim from the UAE who was the most loving, caring and giving person I have ever known; and in Paris I was completely comfortable and felt very welcomed. Mark Twain said it perfectly: Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.
*People are fundamentally good. No matter where you live, what your background, culture or religion, we all have the same basic goals and desires. We are more similar than different. We love, care, protect, and work hard.
*Finally, I’ve learned that I can pack for a two week trip for anywhere in the world in a carry-on. I wonder if I can work my way down to a backpack?
It seems that every time I mark something off my Bucket List I find a new, exciting place to add. To me, it’s all about the experiences and sharing that with those you love. Don’t rush through life. Appreciate what is here for us to enjoy. Get out and see for yourself what the people of the world have to offer.
‘Once a year go some place you’ve never been before.’ ~Dalai Lama