The idea for this article was born from a conversation with a salesman. However, it got me thinking about how I would feel if I could not travel.
The other day my husband dragged me to one of those timeshare presentations. Those where they give you a paid vacation just for listening to their offers. I didn’t feel like going but my husband convinced me.
The experience didn’t turn to be bad at all. The guy who tried to sell us a vacation package was a good vendor. He started by asking us questions about our travel patterns. How often do you travel? What is your dream vacation? How much do you spend on a regular trip?
He asked all these questions because then he can use the answers to sell us what he wants. But there was a particular question that caught my attention (and believe me at that point, my mind was already on another planet).
He asked: “How you would feel if you could not travel anymore?”. For some reason, it was hard to answer. I stood there trying to find the correct words. I just said: “Sad”. The vendor asked me: “What else?”. Again, it was taking me too long to answer. The guy helped me out a little bit and suggested: “Angry, devastated, undeserved, irritated, distressed”.
To be honest, I didn’t like any of his suggested words. Maybe, I even didn’t like the question. The question (and the answers) really got me thinking about what travel really means to me. Also, it revealed to me how others want me (or you) to see travel.
First, in my opinion, the question tries to limit the meaning of the term travel. Travel is such a broad term but a lot of people try to encapsulate it in a determined way. Then, they want to make you believe “real” travel can only be done in that way.
I really, really believe you cannot take travel away from a person who loves to explore and discover. There are millions of ways to fulfill the wanderlust craving. So, don’t come and tell me that “real” travel is restricted to certain countries, resorts, or experiences. Travel opportunities are accessible to anyone (look around, you don’t even have to go far) and are not restricted for a few.
Angry, devastated, distressed? Please. Let me tell you, I love to travel. I truly do. However, at this point in my life, I know what is most important to me.
Let’s suppose that for some reason I cannot travel anymore (a supposition since the previous paragraph explains why I believe this is not possible). Well, I am not going to make a scene straight out of a reality show with tears, screams, and sniffles. I will not walk around like some zombie sucked out my soul.
Some want to make us believe travel will magically make us happy. When have you seen travel advertisements with sad people? But this is not always true. The occasional vacation or the round the world trip will not necessarily heal all your sorrows. If you want to travel, do it (and consider why you do it). But don’t let anyone tell you how to feel in a situation (or how this or that situation is going to change your life). You can decide what is good for you.
I believe travel can help you grow in many ways. However, I value other things more than travel. I have God, my family, and friends (and I have life itself). I have a happy life and I don’t try to fill holes in it with travel. I like to see like this: I live, I love, I travel. In that exact order.
Undeserved? I don’t know about you but I don’t want to see travel as something I deserve. The problem I have with this concept is the meaning some give to the word “deserve”. When people talk about something we deserve, usually they are referring to something we don’t do or get often.
It is a reward for our boring, stressful, and routine life (I don’t even understand why we have to reward ourselves, shouldn’t life be full of beautiful and pleasant things). You need to get that deserved object or experience to be at a different level, to get a certain status quo.
I don’t want to see travel as something I do once in a blue moon, something I give myself to feel better about my life, or something I do to feel above others. I want to see travel as an integral part of my life, as something I practice often, as something to share with others. I love life, enjoy every minute of it and travel is just one of the things I practice to explore different aspects of it.
Ok, so now you can see why it was so difficult for me to answer the question. Maybe I have complicated thoughts. I don’t know.
Now, it is your turn. How would you answer the question?
How you would feel if you could not travel anymore? Let me know in the comments section below. By the way, I am really interested in knowing what you think.
Update: I wrote this article in 2011 and it became real in 2020 due to the global pandemic. Nobody would have ever imagined entire regions quarantined, international borders closed, and flights canceled. However, what I wrote stands true. I was not able to travel internationally or domestically but, to me, health and family became first. I was grateful for spending those troubling times with my husband and knowing my family was doing good (given the circumstances). Of course, my husband and I made the most of our time off by exploring the area where we live (following the proper guidelines).