I have just returned from a very long trip, and if you have followed me since February, you know that I got the flu on the third day. I was so sick that I just finished the last of my prescriptions about five days ago. Now I hope that my sense of smell and taste will return on their own. Because of that ordeal, I am currently exhausted and out of travel stories, so I am going to take a break from this blog.
I would like to leave you with some of the lessons I have learned over the past three years.
First, Volunteer Service Travel is an amazing way to go. I have blogged about Habitat for Humanity as well as volunteer English teaching. This kind of trip is guaranteed to be meaningful. You accomplish something, and you meet wonderful people, both those you serve and those with whom you serve. And sometimes grateful people provide your housing and/or food. New Orleans was just one of the many places where complete strangers were so gracious with their thank your.
Travel with a mission to perfect something. Write, paint, or draw. Improve your yoga, skiing, kayaking, cooking, or second language. Attend a book fair or retreat like Chautauqua to absorb the wisdom of thinkers. The best souvenirs are those you carry in your heart, mind, and muscle memory.
Try Genealogy Travel. If you travel to the land of your ancestors, they will tell you wonderful stories about who you really are. My husband and I discovered that our families have lived together, died together, and built towns together since the time of the Crusades. What an astounding coincidence, considering we didn’t grow up in the same state and met by chance in a 300-student college Shakespeare class—though we both loved Macbeth long before we found our shared roots in Scotland.
And speaking of crusades, I hope you will support me in my battle against love locks. Having just returned from Paris, I can tell you that love locks are destroying historic bridges throughout the city. A three-hundred-year-old bridge covered in thousands of ugly padlocks is neither beautiful nor romantic, nor is a broken railing boarded up. Say Yes! to love, but No! to locks.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get lost. I recently found that easy to do in Marrakech. And if you don’t panic, the journey can be as interesting as the destination.
I hope I have encouraged you to travel—to expand your knowledge, citizenship, and humanity. You will find new reasons to respect yourself, and so will others. It’s important. In my voting lifetime, one of our presidential candidates revealed that he had never traveled outside the US. To me, that was a disqualifier. I did not vote for him. Others did, and today we are still reeling from his miscalculations overseas. Here is the best quote about the value of travel:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness . . . Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Mark Twain
It has been my pleasure to share stories with you. Thanks to all Spirited Women, and men, who took the time to respond. Namaste.