People have traveled since the dawn of time, the concept is nothing new. Nomadic cultures traveled from place to place in search of better or more abundant resources, to gain food, more suitable land for housing, growing, sustaining. From moving frequently when a place no longer offered what the people needed, they were free to search for a replacement that was. Putting aside strictly nomadic cultures, usually battling harsh conditions or growing numbers, travel came for religious reasons among many others.
This piece is not a history lesson, it is a personal opinion. Travel sometimes feels unattainable in our current world, with growing poverty numbers, overworked and underpaid employees juggling work and family, believe me I can relate to having zero days off. Making it something to keep in your foresight and following through with it the key. Depending on each individual situation, vacation or a small getaway is within reach and your brain will certainly thank you for it.
Last in the line of five children (yes the one that looks like Chris Farley), a Mom and a Pop, we traveled as much as possible for a struggling family. Trips to Maine to camp in cabins friends were kind enough to lend us for the weekend, day trips to the local beaches, swimming in lakes and riding out to the country, even an occasional trip to the movies was a vacation or us. That I suppose is where I first caught the travel bug. Everywhere I looked, everyone was traveling. Then around 11 my sister and I went alone to Florida to visit my Grandparents. This was a huge deal to us, a plane, road trips, sunshine! Years to follow the family spread out we started traveling to other states semi-often. When I graduated High School, I went to LA and got my first taste of paying my way. Many solo trips followed between work and school, then road trips to Chicago or Pittsburgh or New York. Then came tasting an actual road trip, with my second oldest sister, 5,000+ miles through rain, tornados, flat nothingness, mountains and deserts. To say the least, I never wanted to come home again, but reality soon followed and back to work I went. Following that I did another 5,000+ mile road trip, but this time I did it alone.
Traveling alone does something to you. When everything crumbles around you and plans change, you’re left with a personal struggle to figure it out and move on. Tests begin to pop out of the wood work, challenges and riddles. You become so deeply consumed in figuring them out that you get to a special zone reserved for self-discovery; it is then where you can look back at yourself and say “how did I do that” or “Man, I wouldn’t have done that again” or “I wouldn’t have traded that for anything in the world”. These are the zones I crave. This is what makes me continue to travel as often as I can.
On some of these solo trips, like one in particular to Los Angeles, I took a lot of insecurities and anxieties with me. The kind of baggage you don’t have to pay the airline for. I felt depressed and lethargic when I returned, not recharged and fresh as you should after vacation. These feeling are completely justified however, maybe you return to an unhappy life, job and you begin to wonder what it is you’re actually doing with your life. Once I began questioning that all the time, I became a lot more aware of who I was as a person. What I wanted, needed, feared most, what I couldn’t conquer, what I wouldn’t conquer. Always question yourself, test yourself and push yourself. Your mind will thank you for it and you will begin to open the puzzle, the riddles become stories and you’ll find time to empty your steel trap a bit and loosen the load.