Travel Teaches the Best Life Lessons

Travel Teaches the Best Life Lessons

May 13, 2019

Travel is like a little bit of magic, every time.

If we aren’t hooked on up on social media (Facebook, Instagram, I rarely use Twitter), you might not realize that we’re just home from a jaunt off to merry old England, where we attended a wedding (lovely if a bit cold and wet), and did some sightseeing during the rest of the trip.

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I’m a frequent traveler – this trip was the fourth time in six months that I’ve traveled outside the US, and I’ve probably flown 50,000 miles since the start of the year.  I absolutely adore it.  If you ask me whether I would rather have a really nice car or take a years’ worth of trips, I’ll drive something modest and compact, leaving it parked at the airport without worry that it’s getting too much sun or rain on it.

I LOVE to go places!

I also find that I gravitate towards people who enjoy traveling, and who are happy to go to new places (and revisit old haunts) as often as possible.  There’s something absolutely magical about clearing security and heading down to the gate; it doesn’t matter how often I do it or where I might be heading.  The ability to go is the part that draws me in and generates insane amounts of excitement (and the inability to go to sleep the night before a morning departure, ugh), as if it were Christmas many times throughout the year.

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I’ve had the travel bug since I was a kid.  When I was younger, we took at least one trip to Myrtle Beach, SC, every year; when I was still an only child I think we went more often than that, if the family photos are any indication.  I was one of those march off to summer camp and not even think about coming home types, and I cried the night before our return flight from Paris on my high school trip to Europe.

Travelers, especially the more seasoned ones, are an incredibly tolerant lot.  I consider myself lucky to self certify into this group; we are the ones who don’t get our proverbial panties into a wad when something doesn’t go according to schedule or plan.  We are the type who step back, take another look around, and figure out what the options and alternatives are to reach our final (or daily) destination.

We’re quick to laugh, slow to panic, and overall an easy group to enjoy.  Unless, of course, you happen to be a non-traveler (more on this later in the article).  We need chocolate and vanilla ice cream – and it never hurts to have some pistachio, rocky road, or neopolitan thrown in for good measure; variety is a very important part of a healthy eco-system, at least in nature’s design.

Start early and go often.

If you are lucky enough to catch the travel bug when you are young, and if you are willing to adjust your lifestyle to accommodate it, that’s when the real magic kicks in, as far as I’m concerned.  I was too busy working when I was young enough to have appreciated grabbing a backpack and hostel schlepping it through the universe, but I can certainly see the appeal, and I think it’s a brilliant idea for many.

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I mentioned on a Facebook post about our UK trip that I thought it would be marvelous to get a small caravan (not that they are available in much bigger sizes there) and drive around the UK – and probably the EU while there’s still a single point of entry – stopping in places that are convenient to public transport so you could park up for a day or two and then venture into the city whilst it was still parked safely, then you would move on to the next spot, and do the same thing – this is such a great idea for a summer or longer trip, it would almost be worth buying a reasonable second hand caravan to use on the trip.

Back to the travelers vs the non-travelers situation – it’s kind of the same with sailors and non-sailors, at least of the successful sort.  Those that travel, especially those that travel well, are generally the laid back, problem solving, non panic prone, sorts.  We know that there will be delays, cancellations, screw ups, foul ups, missed connections, breakage, bad days, bad meals, and bad hotel rooms.  It’s a mission critical part of the situation – if you go out there enough times, you’ll see the cold underbelly of the beast.

Get out of your comfort zone.

But… you’ll also see all of the incredible variety that life has to offer, even if you aren’t completely comfortable with it.  Take the English, for example, these people eat beans on toast and call it breakfast.  And then they stick a tomato half that’s been run through the broiler next to it, even though tomatoes aren’t in season, are definitely not ripe, and don’t belong on a plate in that condition at any time of the day.  Enough of that, for sure.

But… they have black pudding for breakfast!  If you don’t know what that is, feel free to google it, when it’s properly cooked, it’s absolutely amazing, and I would eat it every day if I could.  French restaurants in the UK who serve breakfast called it boudin noir, which is such an elegant version of the name that it’s brilliant on the tongue.  Spending so much time in New Orleans when I was young means I’m naturally inclined to anything with the word boudin in the title.  I don’t like my black pudding dry and dessicated, however (Fairlawns Hotel, I hope you are reading this post!), that’s just wrong.

I’m suspicious of people who don’t have passports.

Seriously, stop laughing, it’s the truth.  When someone tells me they don’t have a passport, it sets off a little frisson of alarm in my spine.  My first question is, “oh, when did it expire?”, and if the answer isn’t something like “last week, why?”, then the back of my neck starts to tingle, and my spidey senses kick into play.

If you tell me that you’ve never had a passport, and you are more than 7 years old, I am going to think that you are deficient in some way, even if it’s just that you are so bad on car trips as to make it impossible for your parents to contemplate taking you to a foreign country by automobile, airplane, or boat.  As an adult, you will be judged (harshly, let me add) as a complete dolt if you tell me that you have never had a passport.  I would much rather that you were forced to turn it in due to a felony conviction or similar than to realize you are one of those unimaginative types who has no desire to go out and see how the rest of the world lives.  Really, I spit on your grave, or whatever it is the French say to people they find detestable.

When I speak to people who have never owned a passport, much less used one, it becomes readily apparent that such a person is a loser.  I’m not saying that if you don’t take a fantastic European vacation or South American glamping trip yearly that you suck, no; I am saying that if it never entered your vacant head to find out more about those who are not like you (and probably have passports unless they live in some third world shithole type of country where they make $4 a month and can’t afford shoes), then you simply suck.  It’s not a matter for deliberation or negotiation, you are a terrible person and we are about as likely to be friends as that frog and the scorpion in the river at the end of the parable.  Clue for you – I’m not the frog.

In closing, three points that were hammered home to me on our trip –

  • English weddings come in the civil or the church variety.  The customs and requirements are very different for each one, even though the same end is served.
  • English weather hasn’t changed much with all this global climate change.  You’re still just as likely to need a parka and an umbrella in May as you are to need shorts and a battery operated fan.
  • English houses, as usual, are furnished in a haphazard way for the most part.  I’m actually inclined to believe that while the Greeks invented the word eclectic, the English have perfected it.


Make sure to follow me on Instagram if you want to see my travel pics! 

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