Monday, January 9, 2017

My Happy Place

I know that I have been absent for some time.  Life and family obligations can get in the way sometimes and make it hard to have time for anything else.  I missed writing about my passion and   it got me thinking about the reasons that I travel.   I don't have an instant or flippant response.  For me, it is as necessary as breathing, it fulfills a need that is deep and ever present.

It is impossible for me to understand people that look at me and say that they have no desire to travel. I don't understand a total lack of curiosity about this great, big, wonderful planet that we inhabit. Why wouldn't your ears want to hear the alien but magical, lyrical languages of the world?  How can you go through life without tasting and savoring new and exotic dishes from the far corners of this earth? Who doesn't want to feel the warm African sun on their face as the tall giraffes saunter by or the cold night air on your face as the Northern Lights dance across the sky?   Whose eyes don't want to turn upward to look for the highest peak in the Alps or view the unreal color of Lake Louise?   How can one go through life and not hear the ever present music on the streets of New Orleans or the sound of the Mediterranean waves as they meet the shore on the Amalfi Coast?    After all, it is what life is about, isn't it??

I know there are people that never want to leave the safe confines of the small town they grew up in. Others are only comfortable within the borders of their own countries but it is hard for me to imagine. Where do they go when the every day stresses start to get to them?  I close my eyes and see Crow's Foot Glacier in the Canadian Rockies, or maybe I can see myself on the rocky beach at the Cape of Good Hope with the waves crashing all around me.  Sometimes it is the Eiffel Tower that makes me smile or the chiming of Big Ben echoing in my mind.  These places make me smile and bring me peace and ease my every day troubles.  I suppose that is why, I always feel the need to explore somewhere new, I need an endless supply of "Happy Places" to go to when necessary.  Those places that evoke warm memories of fun times in distant lands.  It makes the day to day more manageable.

Every nation that I have visited has a distinct and different feel than any other.  Foods may be similar, Navajo flatbread tastes just like Yorkshire pudding and beignets are like Funnel cake but they are both native to their own cultures.  Languages may be similar like Italian and Spanish but they too are indigenous to their own lands.  Traffic may be the same in Paris and Philadelphia but despite Philly's reputation for being tough, the Parisian taxi drivers put them to shame (I still have not recovered from that cab ride, 20 years ago).

I think what I have come to understand over the years is that we have far more in common that we do different and we need to embrace our differences with curiosity and interest and get to know each other.  I have met so many wonderful people from all over the world and though our interactions were brief, each and every one of them taught me something that led to a greater understanding of their culture.  It is my fervent wish that everyone could have the opportunities that I have had because it may be our only hope of making the entire planet a "Happy Place".

Until next time, safe travels!

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