Recently Travel Channel asked, what is your travel specialty, or what does traveling mean to you? To be honest in this increasingly hostile and poverty stricken world, paradoxically I think travel is more necessary than ever. In all of my travels, the memories I treasured most were of people rather than monuments. Experiencing different ways of life other than my own surpassed taking beautiful scenic pics. I will never forget one particular day in Paris, as I walked past the River Seine at 3:00 pm, on my way to a museum. I saw some scarf embellished French people, gathered around a cafe table, splitting a French baguette and a bottle of wine. Five hours later, I made the trek back to my hotel room, and I saw the same people, still talking, with just a little bit of bread and wine left at the table. It occurred to me that they were having a fabulous time, taking small sips of wine and savoring every bite of crusty bread goodness. Eating a 5 star meal was not necessary, it was the company they seemed to relish the most. When I flew back to the states, I wanted to channel the French lifestyle. I ate my meals very slowly, savoring every bite. I wore a scarf everyday in every color, just because. I made an attempt to connect with long lost friends at cafes, to catch up with their lives. I made sure to walk instead of drive if a destination was under 5 miles away. To me, that was the experiential souvenir that kept thriving well past my trip. This photo captures my joy climbing the Eiffel Tower:
Another travel memory I cherish took place in Haiti. I saw these beautiful Haitian women doing a native dance at the beach at sunset. The shades of crimson sky was a crown over these Haitian princesses, wearing vibrant colors, their glee emanating from their pristine white smiles Having been passionate about dance all my life, I stood to the side, trying to copy their choreography, mesmerized by the beat of the tribal drums. The ladies saw me and invited me to join them, and I was more than happy to do just that. In the video below you can see how I made that travel memory last well past my arrival home, even though I didn’t have any pictures to capture this spontaneous moment. When there are language barriers, the use of our senses can fill in the communication gaps. Appreciating cultural music, dancing together, sharing a meal–all of these sensorial experiences can bring people together in meaningful ways. So back to my original thought, how can people travel when they barely have enough money to cover their expenses? One can do some research at their local library, then seek those experiences in their neighborhood, or venture a few miles beyond their comfort zone to experience something new. Sometimes the most simple experiences can be the most life changing ones. I think there is too much hostility in the world because people aren’t able to step outside their comfort zone to step into and experience another person’s lifestyle. I like to think if people like John McCain for example, had dinner with a family in Yemen, or went to a Syrian wedding, or visited a museum in Iraq, he would not be so keen to support bombing campaigns on these people. Maybe I am being naive, but thinking about these possibilities can’t hurt. And with that said, here is my video, about what traveling means to me. I would love to hear about your travel experiences as well! Hugs– B
2 thoughts on “How To Travel The World in Your Own Neighborhood….”
These are truly nice thoughts. Since I haven’t traveled much, I have always gravitated to foreigners…..and still make it a point to talk to foreigners at any place…and my life is SO much richer because of this. What we learn from them is invaluable. I have learned how to work hard, enjoy beautiful and different things (music, dances, food, customs, traditions, ideas….different thoughts, a different mindset). Doing something different is fun and relaxing and takes you away…therefore relieves stress. Even when I eat out, if I can go to a foreign restaurant, I consider myself lucky to eat something DIFFERENT……same old same old makes for a boring life. Indian Biryani, middle eastern baklava, Korean bolgogi, Mexican fish soup, Argentinian cookies..the list goes on…..can’t eat meatloaf and burgers all the time… Variety IS the spice of life. Different spices used by different cultures..or same spices used in different quanties or different ways….this is amazing….I appreciate the handmade stuff from foreign countries….the wonderful colors used make their local crafts….paintings, clothes, dishes, jewlery, rugs, leather goods, etc. I have a long list of what I have learned from different cultures….it’s all goood!
What a beautiful post Shirley couldn’t have said it better! You captured exactly what I was talking about, life is what we make it. We can either fall prey to the same routine day after day and lament that we can’t go anywhere exotic… or we can seek the exotic, even if it’s just a couple of hours at an ethnic restaurant. 😉