It’s not something you do, it’s what you make of what you do.
When you travel, you have one or all of these observations:
- Everyone: The hotels are full, the cafes are packed, the whole world is traveling!
- No one: most of the planet doesn’t go further than where they were born.
- You: who cares who else is traveling. You are.
Usually, you get number one when you’re in popular tourist locations. Number two comes when you head more off of the beaten path. But in any case, you don’t even have either of these thoughts if you don’t travel. Number three comes when you reach a point where you no longer care about number one or number two.
But how do you get to that point? Make travel a priority. Push obstacles out of the way. Sacrifice to make it happen.
I’m absolutely and admittedly biased. I truly believe that travel is good for everyone and anyone. It opens your perspective. In order to grow, you must travel.
But just like there is a house and a home, there is travel and there is travel. Maybe it’s the difference between the tourist and the explorer or the cliché: the journey and the destination.
How do you make that leap? How do you get from being a tourist to becoming a traveler? There are many answers, but I think that it makes a difference how you get around, how you get from A to B. What vehicle are you in? How close to the elements are you? How much distance (or glass) is there between you and the locals?
What means of travel makes you most feel like you’re traveling?
Traveling by boat is somehow “more traveling” than traveling by other means. Why is that?
The wind in your hair, the spray shooting off to the sides of the boat, flying fish springing ahead of you like frogs, the shimmering of the sunlight on the water, all put together it’s a romantic way to travel. Maybe it’s also the thought that if you fall overboard, you’re in a world so different from what you’re used to that it adds that bit of adventure, risk, even danger.
When you travel by boat at night, the darkness, the blackness of the liquid below you is spooky, unknown, and foreign. You sometimes can’t tell if it’s water, oil, or some other substance that we don’t know about that water transforms into when the sun goes down.
I’m no Jaques Cousteau. I didn’t grow up on ships and boats and catamarans. Being on a boat at all was a treat. Maybe that’s what makes it all the more special. Maybe if you grew up taking a daily ferry across some less-than-picturesque bay you don’t quite get to the romanticized perspective that I do. But then what is your favorite romanticized means of travel?
Even in a gigantic, city-sized cruise ship, somehow sliding through an ocean is closer to the elements than watching your third film with your headset in on the airplane thousands of meters above the earth. A ship is slower, you’re going to remember that it took you two hours from get from the coast to the island. It wasn’t just take off, peanuts, and landing. It was the stink of the harbor, the heat near the engine room, the cup of noodles and the boiling hot water, the salty taste of it up on the top deck as the sun set over the horizon.
There’s no emergency door. You could jump over the edge if you really wanted to. Of course, you don’t want to, but that fact that you’re close to the edge makes it all that much more adventurous.
Take the slower means of travel if you have the opportunity. In fact, make it the opportunity. If you don’t have that extra day, count it as a day of your vacation and not just a travel day.
Because just a travel day isn’t just any day. It’s not what everyone does or just anyone can do. It’s what you’re doing. If you’re traveling, you’re alive. It’s a gift, a treasure, a blessing. Treat it as such. Make it so.