The road less traveled is the road I’d like to be on. I miss traveling and wish I could take trips more often. Remembering places we’ve been makes me happy, and dreaming about the places I’d like to go stirs my imagination. And I love hearing friends tell stories of their journeys, envious though I might be.
Here are a few things–and there are many more–I miss about travel:
1. Adventure: Hearing monks chant in Tibet and seeing the Mt. Everest are the types of adventures I wish I could have more of. Finding myself in unfamiliar settings, being surrounded by people speaking another language, not knowing what surprises might lie around the corner–I love it all. I’ve probably been to more places than the average person, but far fewer than many travelers I know. After all, this blog is hosted on a travel website! It’s hard not to feel envious when I scan blog posts and read travel memoirs. So when people ask why we chose to adopt from Armenia well, for one–duh–travel!
2. Trying new food! Whether it’s yak lung in Tibet or Lahmajun in Armenia (oh Lahmajun, how I miss thee), enjoying unfamiliar cuisine is thrilling to me. Shave ice in Hawaii, Gouda cheese in Amsterdam, champagne in Epernay. Stinky tofu might not go down in the record books as a food I’d try again, but telling the story of Big Papa’s memorable stinky tofu encounter always makes me laugh. Or remembering our lunch with a lama–and being served hot water instead of tea. Even the Parisien waiter who stiffed us by giving us change in foreign currency from around the world, not Euros, on our first trip together to France–I’ve filed him in my travel memories under food.
3. Meeting people: I have met some really fabulous people while traveling, like Sergei, our favorite Armenian painter whose artwork is on the wall in nearly every room of our house. Or my dear friend Hripsime who lives in the city where my daughter was born. Even fleeting encounters have turned into longer correspondence, like Karla–the incredible photographer I met while whale watching in Baja. And I still think about how lucky I was to run into two female Swedish travelers while camping in Matala, Greece. They were my companions for only a few days, but I got to see and do things I otherwise might not have traveling solo on a Greek island.
4. Stepping out of my comfort zone: Shop at the same grocery store, drive familiar routes–the habits and rhythm of my days at home, while enjoyable, don”t deviate much. When I’m traveling, every day is a new opportunity to do something different, see something I’ve never seen before, get lost, haggle, discover something–about a new place or about myself. It’s fun to shake things up a bit, good for the brain and good for the soul. If we hadn’t turned left at that corner, we never would have found the perfect little park for having lunch. If we’d stopped before the last switch on that trail, we would have missed the mind-blowing view.
5. Disconnecting: In our uber-connected first world lives, we are always in touch. Sure there’s something comforting about knowing I can see a familiar face on Facebook with one click on my keyboard, but when I travel I find it freeing to be “out of touch.” I can’t check my email at 17,00 feet in Tibet and you know what, I don’t even want to. It’s a relief to put the news aside for a few days, a few weeks, and not feel compelled, compulsive even, about checking in on social media. My senses awaken and suddenly I’m in touch with so much more–the world outside.
Take the road less traveled, Beth