I'm bringing sexy back.......
I did not have a ton of inspiration today as I was just hammering down the road as fast as I could. At the end of the ride though, I did make a stop at a gas station to warm up my soaking wet feet. The clerk asked about my ride, so I explained the project and my goals to her. She kept asking "Why?" even after I repeatedly explained the project. I did my best, but I am not sure I ever connected with her. After my feet had sufficiently thawed, I hit the road again. I started to think about why I was unable to connect with the clerk. It hit me that although I value travel as an experience and a chance to meet new and different people, not everyone feels the same way. I thought about why travel means so much to some people and so little to others.
I came up with several ideas. Travel can be expensive, travel takes time and energy, and travel disrupts routines. These factors are compounded exponentially when children are involved. It is easy to understand how any or all of these factors act as deterrents to travel. However, I will discuss 2 additional observations that I think provide more insight into the American cultural psyche as it pertains to travel.
First, people don't park fancy 2014 travels in their driveways. People don't invite their friends over to watch their new 60" flat-screen travels. People don't propose with 2-carat travel rings (they do it with carbon instead). The sad point is that many people value material things ahead of personal experiences. In an America that puts such an inflated and ridiculous emphasis on material possessions, many people will never know how travel can enrich a person intellectually and emotionally. The benefits of travel come in forms that, sadly, many people do not recognize since they aren't included in Black Friday Blowout Sales. Maybe one day people will get trampled to death to buy tickets to visit Peru and learn about its history and culture (and birds!). Then again, maybe not.
Second travel is too often relegated to something that people will do when they have time; when they graduate, when they get jobs, when their kids are grown, when their house is paid off, or when they retire. Travel is continually put onto the back burner where it too often simmers, unattended, in perpetuity. I understand that life is hectic, but I think a person's most exciting trip should be to somewhere other than the morgue. We are fed from multiple angles the constructed image of the American dream that culminates with 2.3 kids, 1.8 cars, and a 30-year mortgage. Travel challenges us, and it makes us grow as human beings as we try to understand the perspectives and circumstances of humans from other parts of the country or the world. The sooner a person makes travel a part of his/her life, the sooner he/she can start reaping the rewards. Travel may represent a slight sidestep from the pursuit of the American dream, but it should come as a welcome diversion. It's never too early to travel, but sadly it's very often too late.