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As you have certainly noticed, things are a little nuts out there in the world at large. When things get this tense and unsettling in the real world it can be easy to look at travel as being superfluous and unimportant, or at least not as important as some other things. I actually think the opposite is true. I won’t even get into how travel can bring folks together and highlight similarities more than differences as that is a different concept for a different post, but instead I want to look at the importance of travel from a more micro level perspective.
For many of us travel is a motivator and we mark the passage of time with trips. It is three days until Boston, or two months until Disney, or eight months until Australia. We plan, we research, we look forward, we countdown, we love our lives at home, but we get really excited by our time away. I know I often feel and think in that manner, and that is why even if things are nuts out there, you should still take the trip.
For travelers, to not take the trip is to not live life to the fullest. To not plan the trip is to not have that anchor to look forward to. To not do what you love is to lose a big piece of yourself. Take the trip.
Like most of you, I have friends that are sick. I have friends who have passed away. I know kids fighting for their lives. I know families that look very different today than they did a year ago. The future isn’t guaranteed, so take the trip.
I don’t know very many people who have money falling out of their ears, and even if your income goes up in the future, expenses almost always do as well, so don’t be tricked into believing that you will have more to spend on that trip you really want “next year”. Use your miles, start saving, invest in an experience, take the trip.
Kids grow up and experience things in different ways as they get older. Some things may become less magical with age while other things become much more magical in different ways. Traveling logistics with older kids get easier, but schedules get tighter. Your kid will never experience travel with you in the same way tomorrow that they do today, so take the trip.
Friends have babies, get married, get divorced, get new jobs, lose their jobs, move, and sometimes move-on. Coordinating travel with others, especially non-family members, is rarely easy, but it can be so rewarding to have lots of bonding time and shared experiences together. Figure it out, get your friends on-board, make some sacrifices, and take the trip.
Days, weeks, and years can drag on at times, but in the end they go by in a blink. The monotony of making lunches, driving to practice, checking homework, doing laundry and slugging through bedtime can be hard to appreciate in the moment. However, that perfect day on the beach in Aruba, in the park in Paris, sharing shave ice in Hawaii, or hiking the mountain in Colorado doesn’t blur with the rest. Everyone in the family may remember the experience differently, but it will be remembered. Make the memory and take the trip.
The world can be scary and is ever-changing. A place that is calm today may be in turmoil tomorrow. A location that is pristine today may be gone or overrun in the future. People, places, and experiences invariably change over time, so what can be seen and done today may be completely gone or changed in a couple of years. Don’t just cross your fingers that you can still experience what your heart desires at some point down the road, take the trip.
Miles and points devalue and expire, programs change, rules change, and a million miles isn’t really worth anything until you put them to use. Take as much pride in cashing in your miles for tickets as you might looking at a healthy account balance and take the trip.
While we are so blessed compared to how things could be, life here isn’t always super easy. I get distracted, rundown, stressed, very tired, budgets are tight, and it would be easy to redirect the time, energy, and money invested in travel to more mundane activities, or simply skip it completely and just get through what is required each day to live. I’ve done that, I’m sure you’ve done that, but if travel is in your blood, it doesn’t work out well in the long run. I am a traveler and I need travel like a retriever needs a ball. I probably won’t die without it, but life won’t be as fun, exciting, or complete. I won’t be the best version of me without experiencing part of what makes me who I am.
I’ve had trips that didn’t go the way I hoped, that weren’t long enough, that weren’t at the optimal time, or that in one of a million other ways weren’t ‘perfect’. However, I’ve never regretted taking the trip, at least not in the long run once I’ve had time to catch up on sleep. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it and if you wait until the perfect time for the perfect trip, you will be forever waiting for the unicorn that never arrives. Just take the good with the bad and take the trip.
I know it can be hard to get out of the day to do day and make something “extra” a reality, but it can be done. Even if it isn’t a huge trip across the world, but rather a weekend road trip away, that’s okay. A change of scenery however small can still recharge your soul. Pick the destination, pack your bag, and just take the trip.
Know before you go.
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