By Todd Pequeen
Anticipation is the drug of a traveler. I have always noticed my spirits are uplifted after booking a flight; after all, I am setting a date for what’s to come. Packing provides a special high in itself, go with more or go with less…that is the question. In this day and age the internet tries to mimic or replicate the experiences you will have once arriving. However, until smell, touch, and taster-netting are invented nothing will be able to replicate actually stepping off that plane in an unknown place. I have a very hard time understanding why so many Americans have never set foot on foreign soil, or for that matter have never seen the awesome cities both on the Pacific coast, or my favorite, the history laden Atlantic coast. Scared of flying? Get over it or use a car, bus, or train. Believe me, just GO!
I’ve written many times about the phrase “living the dream”. I may be wrong (Lord knows I have been before) but finding the dream life, dream spouse, or dream job rarely, if ever, happens by sitting on your caboose. Traveling is a way to expand the possibilities and opportunities, as well as a fun way to re-structure how you think, act, and respond. Every time that airplane accelerates down the runway, roaring to lift off, how can anybody not smile and be thrilled. It is an amazing feat of mankind, the invention of the modern airplane. The airplane itself is symbolic for better days ahead. Leaving what is done behind and landing with whatever you want to happen…it’s now within your reach. We continue to hear global economy related to finance, why not incorporate that into our physical, mental, and spiritual selves as well…let’s get global. Success is about learning and sharing and being open to others ideas, than expanding. What a better way to do that than with varied cultures and customs. Negativity caused by localism, whether stateside or abroad, has no place in modern society or in any community. The ignorance of non-acceptance is exactly what traveling cures, another set of eyes to see through, another way to take on the world.
I believe humans thrive while living in the unknown. The more in the moment the better…to wonder what is coming next; to not know what will follow can be some of the most memorable times of our lives. My first trip outside of the United States was to Jamaica in 1990. I was proud to be able to plan and to save for a trip, even though in college full time out of state, working 25 hours a week to pay for my own first vacation. What I didn’t expect was all the extras. I could barely sleep because of my excitement. Extras like cliff jumping and hanging out with jerked chicken street salesmen. Extras in the form of riding motor scooters for the first time with my gung ho friends. The all night reggae parties around a giant bonfire with hazy clouds of smoke awoke my senses as well as eating plantains, red snapper, and mango for the first time. Those are the experiences that are hard to relate to non-passport holding persons. Those things are the reasons for leaving comfort zones. Most of all I could say my sense of self broadened, I could see my homeland and my lifestyle from a different angle upon my return. Once submerged elsewhere for just two weeks, my reality seemed clearer. Since then I have layered that experience with a t least three dozen more, living abroad and committing to a life of travel. I doubt I’ll ever stop looking for the changing balance of happiness and how good reality actually can be.