People who know me, know I love to travel. I have been fortunate to have traveled several times to Europe, and Jeff and I often take a trip to Mexico or an island in the winter time. But I wasn’t always a traveler.
When we first married, we were savers. We had taken one trip together, on our honeymoon, to Jeff’s brother’s Florida condo. We were encouraged to go with his brother, who was also honeymooning. It was great. But we felt like we could not afford to do it again for a very long time. There was guilt at spending that money which we could be saving for our retirement. I was 21 years old. Yeesh!
I insisted that we take a few weekend trips to cabins. At the time, my mom had a cabin at Litchfield, so we would drive there. Basically, it didn’t dig deep into our pocketbooks, and we always enjoyed ourselves a lot. But all my dreams of traveling seemed to go out the window, knowing that I was on a teacher’s salary and Jeff was a union man. How could we AFFORD to travel?
When the kids got to be around 3-4, I decided it was time for family vacations. I had fond memories of taking family vacations as a kid, and I wanted my kids to experience that first hand. Our first trip was to Wisconsin Dells. We stayed at a resort (this was before the big hotel extravaganzas at the Dells). We went for a long weekend and had a ball. The following year, we borrowed a friend’s pop-up camper and took a trip out to South Dakota’s Black Hills. The following year, we bought our own pop-up, and the camping life began. Many summers, we would be gone more weekends than we were home.
For our ninth anniversary, Jeff and I took a week long cruise through the Western Caribbean. That was a treat of a lifetime for us, and we realized how nice it is to get away in the middle of winter.
Through Jeff’s work, some vacations started to come up in Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Costa Rica, and Jamaica. We really enjoyed getting away for a week and being catered to, as the companies were always really generous with us.
A friend of mine started inviting me to go sailing with her through the Apostle Islands during the month of July. I try to attend every other year, working around my other travel plans. We spend anywhere from 3-5 days living on a sailboat. It is one of the most relaxing and spiritually lifting trips I take.
Meanwhile, when I was 34 years old, I had the opportunity to travel to Ireland with my mom and sisters. Our homestead still stands there, and it was a dream of my mom’s to go back once more. It was such a great trip, and I caught the Europe bug. An opportunity came up to visit with a girlfriend living in Frankfurt when I was 41, and thus began my European adventure through Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, and France. Two years later, a trip to Italy with girlfriends. Another couple years, and I traveled to Paris and Barcelona with girlfriends. And I managed to convince my husband to travel to England and Scotland for our 25th anniversary last year. He loved it!
In three weeks, I am planning a trip of a lifetime. I am taking some women to Jamaica for a week long yoga and meditation retreat! I have been spending my weekends planning for this event, and it will be wonderful! Not only do we get some fun in the sun, but we will eat great food and enjoy yoga every morning and evening!
I am a traveler. I have learned a lot about other cultures in my travels, but most of all, I have learned an awful lot about me. I have learned to pay attention to the words of others. I have learned to appreciate things that are very different than my experiences at home. I have learned that Americans do not always have the correct perspective, but I have also learned that we enjoy the most freedoms.
Traveling provides opportunities for us. It allows us to step outside our lives for more perspective. When was the last time you changed your perspective on life?