I just returned from a whirlwind adventure of a trip to NYC with my best friend. During our adventure, I kept coming back to the same thought over and over again…always travel as much as you can.
Travel has always been a great love of mine, from the family treks of my childhood to the beaches of Florida and all the way to more sophisticated excursions to bigger cities, and even abroad.
No matter where you go, or what kind of trip you might take, there are lessons to be learned. Here are a few of my takeaways from my most recent trip and why I believe you should always, always travel when given the chance:
Travel lets you see the world. This might seem like an obvious reason to travel, but there’s so much more to seeing the world. Travel also lets you experience it.
It reminds you that there are millions of people out there living lives, many of which are totally different from your own. But the beauty of this is that you aren’t right and they aren’t wrong. There are different ways of doing things and it’s good to be reminded of that. What’s more, travel reminds you of all the different ways to be and how you fit in the big picture.
Traveling helps you find yourself. Sometimes you can find yourself in the strangest places… A child’s expression of joy on a playground or in an ice cream shop. In the brushstrokes of a great work of art or the movement of a dancer. In a bagel shop where you catch your reflection in the mirror and think, oh yeah…here I am.
It can make you appreciate your own little corner of the world even more. Growing up in a small southern town, and now living in a town that still has that small southern flair, I sometimes get frustrated when it feels like there is nothing new to do or experience. But often when I go away for awhile and come back, my town has new charm. I can see it with new eyes and appreciate it for things that seem new, even though they were always just under my nose before.
Taking a trip is a chance to refocus your attention and do a little check of where you are, where you are going and where you want to go. Time passes so quickly when we’re surviving each week with our noses to the proverbial grindstone. But do you ever feel like you look up and think, where did this week/month/year go? Each new day is a new opportunity to go in a different direction and often, coming back from a trip is a good reminder of that.
It helps you remember how lucky you are. Sometimes we’re so isolated and insulated from the suffering of others. When you get a chance to see it close up, it’s a good reminder of how much you have to be grateful for. And from that place of gratitude, where you truly recognize the many multitudes of blessings you enjoy, you can find a strategy to lend a hand to those who need it.
And probably my very favorite thing about traveling is this….Traveling gives you a chance to see all the realities of the world that started as a dream in someone’s heart. A business venture, a work of art or stage production, a product or service that might improve the lives of others. All of those things were once just a tiny whim that in time grew braver and finally summoned the courage to walk to the edge and jump. A tiny whim in the heart of an ordinary person. Someone very much like yourself. Which is an amazing reminder that the dreams in your heart are just as possible.
I’ve always had a saying that “life is always an adventure.” I think seeing it like this can definitely help when struggles come. If you can find something to laugh about or see it as a memory to be made, that helps add a layer of beauty to your every day.
Always take the trip. You never know when the opportunity might come again.
Kate Spears is a self-proclaimed Southern belle who grew up in a tiny town near Nashville, but now calls Knoxville home. She graduated from the University of Tennessee (Big Orange Country!) with an undergraduate degree in art history and a master’s in public relations & advertising. In 2009, she started her blog, Southern Belle Simple, with the simple hope of giving herself a creative outlet. She continues to be amazed each time it leads to a new opportunity and cherishes the relationships that are formed along the way.
Kate is passionate about family history, time-honored traditions, and her Southern heritage. Her people hail from across the South, from the Lone Star State of Texas to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. She grew up spending summers on her great-grandparents’ Tennessee farm where she developed a deep appreciation and admiration for people who could coax beautiful and delicious things out of a mound of dirt. She comes from faithful men, devoted women, hard workers and wickedly good cooks.