“Traveling — it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” — Ibn Battuta
From a young age I’ve always loved traveling and staying in hotels — whether it was extravagant or just a small inn — I just liked feeling the comforts of home while traveling. I loved taking our yearly road trip to visit my family, and our annual trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania – I still feel peace when I think back to the sound of the horse-drawn carriages. My parents and I were driving home from one of these road trips, and I was noticing all of the hotels in the area. I looked over at my parents and said, “One day I’d like to write a book called A Home Away from Home”, my parents smiled, and I pushed that thought aside after that car ride. I have no intention of writing that particular book, but writing about my travels, and experiences, whether it’s thousands of miles away or somewhere local, makes me happy.
We would often go to Florida — we went to Disney World because we loved it, and a little further south to visit my great-grandparents. The best parts of Disney were not only the rides, but the fact that we walked around the parks until we were exhausted, and then we’d come back to the hotel to go in the pool — we never turned on the TV. Everything revolved around joy and magic. I always felt like I was in the moment, which for me is generally difficult, and it has been even from childhood. I cried whenever we were on the shuttle back to the airport, and I still feel this way now when leaving Disney World. I feel that way when leaving most trips. Looking at all the photographs, and writing about our adventures gives me the chance to travel to these places all over again.
I’ve been trying to bring the feelings I have, while on vacation, into my every day life. There is opportunity for joy and living in the moment even if you’re visiting a farm in a nearby town, having breakfast at your favorite local spot, or just sitting on your back patio having coffee. For me, travel now has become less about just the hotel, but more about the experience of being somewhere new — the sunrises, the local bookstores, the small coffeeshops, the water views, the breakfast place recommended by a local, the dinners (even if it is just room service), and the sunsets. Now, when traveling we unintentionally end up with a daily routine, and by the time the trip is over we are ready to pick-up and move there. This has brought new meaning to that original book title I mentioned, to my parents, many years ago. It truly becomes a home away from home.
Travel today is about being in the moment today — planning your next adventure — near or far — and just enjoying what’s in front of you. It is not focusing on work, emails, the to-do list, the bills — it’s feeling joy in the moment. Of course you cannot control your feelings, and I know regardless of how much I am enjoying my time, the every day stresses have a way of creeping in. When this happens I just try to bring myself back to the present moment, focusing on the taste of my red wine, the laughter of my family, and the views around me.
Writing this post was the first thing I did this morning — I am sitting here with my coffee, and I am truly in the present moment. That is what Travel and Write today is about — it’s writing, planning, traveling, working towards your goals, and putting yourself out there, regardless of the outcome (and even when it’s scary). I am reminding myself of this every single day.