Travel

“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, 1857


My Posts about Travel

DSC08541 Lion face closeup sooc  Africa

    DSC07041 London Royal Guard  Europe

        DSC01501 Galapagos tortoise  South America

        DSC01229 Golden Gate Bridge vista point United States of America



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        The following is a guest post I wrote for Relyn back in March 2009:

        A Passion for Travel


        IMG_1885 Piazza San Marco cropped
        Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
        - Mark Twain
        I am passionate about many things, but I live to travel.

        I would give up many things before I would give up the opportunity to travel. When I worked in corporate America, I was allotted measly two or three weeks of vacation per year. I often tried to barter extra days of vacation from my employers, either before accepting a new job, or during salary review time. Even when I was fresh out of college as a baby computer programmer and my salary was very modest, I would offer to swap salary for vacation days.

        I once wrote down criteria for my Prince Charming on a sheet of paper. Near the top of the list was "Loves to travel". When I met my husband a few months later, he matched all the criteria except he had never been out of the country and his father had never owned a passport. I was in the middle of planning a trip to Europe, so I invited him along. This was an acid test and I was thrilled to learn that he was, and still is, my Prince Charming to the Nth degree. Since then we have travelled to many places as a couple and as a family.

        La nascita di Venere (The Birth of Venus)
        Sandro Botticelli 
        (1445–1510)

        Traveling is a perfect vehicle to quench my thirst to see great works of art. I am transformed when I am in the presence of a great work. I understand my friend’s daughter when she had to sit down the first time saw Botticelli’s paintings in Florence. She explained to her mother, “It’s almost too much!” I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw the frescos in one of the side rooms of the Sienna Cathedral. I didn’t do much research beforehand and the surprise of this room was pure joy.

        Libreria Piccolomini, Siena, Tuscany, Italy, Wikipedia
        Great architecture can have the same effect on me. I love America and I wouldn’t live anywhere else, but every few years I just have a need to touch a 700-year-old building, to be engulfed by its history, and to try and imagine the stories it can tell.

        Travel carries the excitement of the unknown. The unknown carries a certain amount of built-in stress, but richly rewards you when you overcome it and make it familiar. Before long, I find myself planning the trip to return.

        I like to plan my trips loosely. I like to leave some air in the itinerary because I may want to change my mind or circumstances may change my mind for me. Would I have enjoyed finding those frescos in Sienna as much if I had anticipated them? On the other hand, I like to make sure I don’t miss anything major. Yet I’ve learned to never get attached to any particular item on the itinerary because deep disappointment can alter the tone of a trip. Flexibility is friend when you travel.

        I see travel as a string of serendipitous moments. One minute I may taste a brand new ice cream flavor, like the black sesame seed or Guinness gelatos I had in New York last summer, and the next minute I may stumble upon the perfect artwork to hang in my dining room, like the two prints of architectural details I bought in San Gimignano, Italy. I see many opportunities to see beauty all around, witness people's way of life. If I’m lucky, I'll see things from their point of view, even for just a glimpse; it may be the key to a deeper understanding of their culture.
        IMG_1895 Grand Canal


        Travel sharpens my senses and has a way of crystallizing moments because everything is new and foreign. I'll never forget how we wandered the dark streets of Venice after dinner on our first night there, hearing only footsteps and voices, when suddenly Piazza San Marco opened up before us and romantic Italian violin music filled our ears. My 24-year-old niece spontaneously grabbed each one of us to dance a few twirls, setting off a chain reaction in the plaza until dozens of couples danced to the end of the song and beyond. When I recalled this moment with my sister recently, she remembered it just as vividly as I did.

        I know I can’t plan my special memories, but if I keep my eyes, ears, and heart open, I will collect many.
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