“Though we travel the world to find the beautiful. We must carry it with us or we find it not.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
In lieu of it being the New Year, I’m sure many of you have travel goals, right? Whether it’s taking your first solo trip, first Coachella experience (most of y’all hype about Beyoncé’s I see lol), first international trip or even road trip to another city. Travel is life! I know I’ve had constant travel goals. It was almost as if traveling was engrained in me as a child. I took my first flight at the age of 3, trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica at 13, and European tour to Germany, Switzerland, and Prague by 18. And of course I can go down a laundry list of other places I’ve been in the last 10 years or want to go in the future. However, thinking of my next destination prompted me to ask myself, “Why do I travel?” What is it that I take away every time and leaves me excited about returning. I knew it couldn’t be simply checking items off of a so-called bucket list. There was more.
The great escape
In 2015, I came out of my travel hiatus and booked two international trips in one year and then of course took a trip every year after that. The travel bug bit me! I found myself longing and impatiently waiting on the next trip, the next getaway, and the next escape. I come alive when I travel. It is something about exploring a different scenery, culture and atmosphere that gives me a breath of fresh air. But, I had to stop and ask myself, what are you escaping? Are you really wanting to go on these trips to pour into yourself, immerse yourself into the culture or do you just simply want to rack up passport stamps and take pictures for keep? I believe when I first came out of my hiatus I was definitely just going and going and escaping something that I was longing from within, which could have been easily filled right at home (saving money! lol). I’ve found that I don’t have to escape anything and that travel means so much more to me!
Do it for the culture
Now, I can honestly say that I travel to become one with the culture. I am very much a “total experience” type of person. I love good views, food, music, atmosphere, vibes, and of course the people. I even love hearing the native dialect. It’s an all-encompassing thing for me. I tend to soak it all in and think about how I can apply it to my life and make me better on my return. No, I don’t try to be “super deep” and say every trip was amazing. But, it is something about immersing yourself in a different culture and scenery that forces a reality check, self-reflection, and of course a sobering reality that we take so much for granted daily.
I’m back and I’m better
Every trip I’ve taken made me a better person and I’ve been able to take something away from the experience. From my first experience living my best life on a yacht in Dubai, to understanding what it means to be “Black in Beijing,” to treating HIV/AIDS patients in Uganda, to spending the day at the home of a famous Italian chef in Amalfi. It’s more than just a passport stamp. It’s more than capturing that Instagram photo. For me, being “internashionally known” is about pouring into myself so that I can come back with a full cup. It’s about learning more about who I am as I discover more about the world around me and outside of my comfort zone.
I want to challenge you as you begin to plan your 2018 travel itinerary. Ask yourself the following questions: Why do I travel? What is something that I’ve been able to take away from those experiences? What is something that I want to learn or experience as I embark on my next/new travel journey? I challenge you to consider the way you travel and be thoughtful in your approach. Seeing the world is a priceless experience and travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer!