I recently heard an interesting presentation about traveling by travel writer and blogger Tom Swick based on his book, “The Joys of Travel”. Many AAHAM members travel for business as well as pleasure and a lot of Swick’s points seem applicable.
Many people think about travel for its visual association of seeing new places. Yet for me, living in northern Virginia offers this as well. Within less than an hour’s drive, I can go to the Virginia wine country, the Maryland shore, the mountains or the monuments and museums in DC. I can enjoy what people from across the globe travel to see. When we have our annual Legislative Day in Washington, driving into the district is always exciting. Whenever I drive around my area I’ve never grown tired of its beauty.
Swick offers seven joys of travel:
He recommends savoring the anticipation by reading up on your destination before you travel. Be better prepared by knowing more about the place. Get music, watch movies, read novels set in the place where you are going. Learn some basic phrases of the language if you are traveling to a foreign place. Instagram and Pinterest have great pictures to give you ideas too.
From walking to traveling, there is movement from one place to the next. The time on a plane can offer a respite from responsibilities. There are no phones to interrupt your thoughts and it’s time to be savored. A cruise offers this respite too. Go outside and watch the sunset or get up early and watch the sunrise. A transatlantic cruise is popular with its days at sea to relax and unwind. Train travel is another means of escape. You are removed from the world but can see fields and towns fly by. Walking allows you to feel a greater sense of involvement with where you are. Many authors used the feeling of movement in their travel books, such as “Travels with Charlie” by John Steinbeck and “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat-Moon and “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Do you have a favorite travel book?
- Break from the Routine
Our day-to-day routine changes when we travel. If you are visiting a European city you soon adjust to shops closing at noon, leisurely lunches, luxurious siestas and late dinners.
Travel offers novelty. There are new and different smells, sounds and tastes. Close your eyes and listen for a few minutes. Savor the novelty of someplace you’ve never been.
When you travel you can learn from the people you meet. From taxi drivers to market vendors; all offer their perspectives of where they live. I’m always interested in their views on American politics. If you are better prepared about a country you are visiting; you can ask better questions. Think about the CNN show with Anthony Bourdain. He’s always prepared to ask questions about his destination though granted, I’m sure he has a significant research department doing his prep work!
- Emotional Connection
There are some places where you feel an emotional connection while other places you don’t. Think about where you feel like a tourist and guest or where you feel so welcomed that you want to return. I have my list of favorites; what are some of yours?
- Heightened Appreciation of Home
Finally, a joy from traveling is returning home to my routines, to by work and to my pets. As much as I enjoy travel; returning home increases my appreciation of home. At US customs when they say “welcome home” tears come to my eyes. I savor the memories for many years of trips as I look back at my passport and mementoes accumulated from traveling. Something sparks a memory and takes me off thinking about an afternoon in the glass factories of Murano, Italy or haggling for jewelry in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
Thank you to Tom Swick for sharing his joys of travel. What are some of yours?