Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Thoughts On Travel

I alluded to some of my thoughts on travel and living a happier lifestyle in my first post, but the truth is that right now my husband and I are not in a position, career-wise or money-wise, where we can just pick up and take off whenever our hearts desire for however long we desire. So for the meantime we try to incorporate travel in our lives in smaller ways, like taking advantage of long weekends and mini-vacations, to get out and explore even if it’s just checking out local attractions. We started off 2013 by celebrating our honeymoon in Jamaica and are planning to travel to Trinidad & Tobago and Chicago later this year for two weddings we will be attending.   

Enjoying our honeymoon in Jamaica. Our first time at an all inclusive resort!

Last week I came across this inspiring post on Cupcakes and Coffee Breaks that I have not been able to get out of my head. I think it’s really funny when people say, “Yeah I’d like to travel more, but... I don’t have the time” or “I’ll do it when I’m older” or “It’s just too expensive”. “EXCUSES!” I want to scream but instead the polite Canadian in me nods her head and murmurs understandingly.

I get that some people have the travel bug or feelings of wanderlust more than others, and though I try not to judge there’s a part of me that can’t help but wonder, “Don’t you want to get out and see the world?! Experience different cultures? Learn what life is like on the other side of the planet?” Years ago, when I was a broke student making my way through university one paper at a time, I made a pledge to myself that I would get out and see more of the world as soon as I graduated. I can be a homebody like the best of them, but I knew that it was imperative for my self-development to expose and immerse myself in different societies and cultures.

I understand that travelling can be expensive (though options like house sitting and slow travel can vastly help reduce the cost). But just like anything else, travel is a choice. You can choose to eat take out and buy drinks at the bar every weekend or you can choose to put that money into savings. We’re planning to take a trip to Honduras next year and every time I want to go shopping there’s a little voice inside my head that whispers, “You could buy this $40 blouse that you don’t really need or spend that money on both your and Matthew’s food, accommodation, and entertainment for a whole day in Honduras... what’s it gonna be?” It makes it a lot easier to save when I compare a trivial item to a whole new set of experiences and memories.

Next on our wanderlist - Utila, Honduras. Photo courtesy of NoJo via About Utila

Photo courtesy of This Battered Suitcase
Usually when I express our travel plans to others, we get a lot of support and encouragement to go travel while we’re young and get it out of our system before we settle down. “You’re so lucky! Do it before you have a family!” they say. It’s not that I’m lucky per se; rather I choose to travel. Sometimes it’s hard to be in savings mode for months at a time, but when I am finally sitting on a plane and get those butterflies in my stomach as we take off... what a rewarding feeling! More than that, travel isn’t something I want to just “get out of the way” while I’m young. It’s something that I want to incorporate as a part of my lifestyle, not just for two weeks at a time on my annual leave or on the backburner until I retire. 

So for now I plan to travel as often as I can while I can. I learn so much whenever I step out of my little bubble and truly believe that travel is one of the most significant experiences that can contribute to a person’s self-development. Yes I may have to cut back on my social life, limit my fashionista budget, and stay in hostels instead of swanky hotels when I go abroad (personally I think it’s a lot easier to connect with others at a hostel anyway), but that exhilarating feeling of excitement when you arrive in a new city? Or pure bliss and relaxation as you’re exploring a sleepy little town or quiet beach? Worth it. Every single time.

What are your thoughts on travel? How do you feel about stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring some place new?


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