This is “us”.
We really love to travel and there really is a “travel bug” that you can catch because once you have it, it’s hard to ignore. Visiting different countries, cultures, and people has changed the prism of how we view the world we live in and greatly expanded our perception of people. The insights that we have gained by traveling internationally and seeing places that we had only previously seen on the news has been eye-opening. In many cases there is a huge difference between what we hold as the common perception of other countries and the reality on the ground.
In most ways, we’re average Americans. We’re a happily married with two wonderful teenage daughters and a small dog. The one way we are probably not average is that we have made travel experiences a priority in our lives. We have made trade-offs so that we can travel as much as we do and we believe our lives are much richer for that decision. Traveling can be expensive so we try to maximize our use of frequent flyer miles and points to increase how often and how well we can travel.
We started with short domestic trips, later added in cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico, then overseas cruises, and now we’ve been flying directly to different countries for longer stays. It’s been such a satisfying learning and growth experience for us and it’s been amazing traveling both as a couple as well as when our daughters join us.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain
The more we travel, the more we realize how true Mark Twain was. We have personally grown so much by traveling and it has helped our understanding of this planet and it’s dizzying variety of people and cultures. Visiting other countries, seeing their cultures, trying their food, and interacting with the local people has been so amazing. Watching the news about events that happen around the world gives a person a very narrow perspective on the world. As Americans, experiencing (even on a limited basis) other places and people has expanded our horizons and given us a much wider frame of reference for current events and what other people and countries are struggling through.
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener
On occasion, traveling in foreign countries has been scary and uncomfortable but it’s always been very memorable. One of the true joys of traveling is sampling the local cuisine and exploring the wide variety of foods that most Americans have never heard of. If you let yourself be adventuresome enough to try new “exotic” foods, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Keeping an open mind to new experiences isn’t always easy but but when we have taken the plunge, we have found it to be extremely rewarding.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
It’s a big planet and we think it’s important to push beyond our comfort zones and step out of what you have known your entire life and go somewhere completely new, which is both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Even if international travel is not financially possible or mildly interesting to you, there are numerous places within the US that are definitely worth the effort. Travel experiences have been a priority for our family and has made a positive impact on us by opening our eyes to different perspectives while creating life-long memories.
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag