Many of times the journey is equally exciting as reaching the destination.
When I was in 2nd grade, my father traveled for practically one year throughout the nation. Back then, he worked for General Dynamics (aviation), in San Diego, and they were going to Air Force bases to upgrade a missile delivery system in jets they had built.
Of course, I missed him a great deal and I was thrilled each time I received a post card from him. I remember collecting a small stack of cards he mailed to me from places he visited. I imagined that they were on the other side of the world.
When my teacher would mention any of those places I had a card from, I became immediately engrossed in hearing what it was like there. I can still remember the bright and colorful cards I received from Minnesota, Florida, So. Dakota and Alaska.
I recall one day hearing my teacher discuss how the Eskimos built igloos. I had just received his card from Alaska a few days earlier so I started to wonder if my dad was staying in an igloo while he was there.
When he did come home for some days to rest he would sit with me and tell me about his many adventures of his travels. He would talk in great detail about the sights he had visited, the weather conditions (hot and cold regions), the rigors of travel and much more. I was always captivated by the adventures he told me. My imagination would run wild with his traveling stories and blended it with the stories I read in my literature, history and geography books.
My interest in learning about other parts of the world just kept growing. When I started high school, I had planned to be a pilot in order to see the world that I had heard so much about. I did not become a pilot but that is another story. Each day we had catechism classes so we were constantly immersed in the world of the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
After my father returned from his travels and as I was growing up we traveled to many sites throughout California and Mexico. He was excited about traveling and seeing new places and I "caught the bug" and have been traveling ever since.
I am captivated by a sense of curiosity of wanting to know what is over the horizon. It's very exciting to visit places one reads about or sees in movies. There is a great deal of enjoyment mixing and talking to persons from those countries. Life as a traveler is never boring. It can be challenging at times, but again, never boring.
Trini, my wife, also loves to travel. She is really great at doing research about where we are going. She also has a great perspective for taking beautiful pictures. Sometimes we wonder what we are going to do with the thousands of digital pictures we have taken over the years. We are constantly downloading pictures and moving forward to planning our next trip. Whenever possible, we travel together with our long-time friends Jesus and Rosemary Rhi.
One is planning to visit. A person is sharing what one visited. The person is planning where one is going to travel to next. It takes a great deal of time to research and gather background information on places one will visit.
I frequently meet persons who have also traveled to many distant lands. We sit together and enjoy each other's company. We enjoy comparing notes of what we have seen and experienced. We share and add to our sense of curiosity and imagination. Persons ask about our perspective given where we are from and they share from their background.
It's always interesting to find and discuss a common theme and we each share our views from the perspective that we are living in different parts of the nation and the world.
I am certain I have met persons from all the continents. I have had the pleasure of talking over a glass of wine with an individual who did research in Antarctica. Through one's travels, you meet very unique individuals that you might never have met and interact with in ones daily work and life. What I find in common with fellow travelers is that they are extroverts and have an insatiable desire to learn and explore. The following is a very short list of some of the unique individuals I have met on our travels.
- A couple on their honeymoon. She was 91, he was 89 and he was her third husband. The previous ones died.
- A woman, traveling by herself, was celebrating her 80th birthday. She had just completed a safari in Africa the month before. She still recalled her camel ride, in Egypt, when she was 10-years old.
- A couple who had traveled around the world in 18-months. Their stories about being in Nepal and the Amazon jungle was very entertaining. They were my guest on my podcast show (podcast available on-demand).
- A retired military officer who had served as a reconnaissance pilot (espionage).
- A technology patent lawyer who was on a 2-month cruise so that he could work on his case.
- A grandmother taking her granddaughter to Antarctica and Galap?ígos for her 15th birthday.
- An elderly couple who had completed cruises around the world. They had done the trip in both directions - westward and easterly - TWICE.
- A young women traveling around the world with her private tutor. She was resting before she would begin on her second doctorate program. She just completed her first one at MIT and was now going to attend University of Oxford for her doctorate in English Literature. She had just turned 14-years old.
On each trip, whether by land or sea, one's fellow travelers are from different parts of the nation and the world. Each one has their own background and experiences. What makes traveling with them so fascinating is that everyone was visiting the same place, on one day, but each of us saw differ things. It's wonderful to sit with fellow travelers and share with each other what we observed. One joins small or large groups made up of persons with diverse professions and cultural backgrounds (engineering, health, banking, education, the arts, entrepreneurs, e.g.) sharing their perspectives and views about what we visited, you can be sure it's going to be a vibrant and entertaining setting.
My personal favorite is to meet and talk with persons who have lived in the countries or cities we have visited. I am greatly intrigued to converse and listen to persons who have lived in places we have not gone to and are planning to visit. Our plans are to visit Australia and New Zealand in 2015 and practically on every trip we take we run into persons from that part of the world. Persons from "down under" are warm hearted people and are genuinely excited to share about what to see and do while one visits their country.
As we travel, we become unofficial ambassadors and representing the country we are from. We share with fellow travelers about our own living conditions, politics, economics, and of course our families. We show each other our photos and compare notes about what we saw. Thus we learn not only from our own personal adventures but we also educate each other.
The advice I can provide to fellow travelers is to leave behind one's opinions and assumptions of what one is going to see. Yes, gather facts about where you will visit but put aside any preconceived notions of what is there. Granted it's not easy to ignore popular stories on media or movies that relate to the area but it is necessary in order to make room to learn from one's adventures.
Travel to many new lands with an open mind, open ears and an open heart.
One seeks to understand how people are different and to understand how we are part of humanity and we need to appreciate and protect the one spaceship we all live on and MUST share.