Let me start by saying that I don't gravitate towards sayings. If something has been made into a poster, it usually makes me cringe a little. I feel like I am grateful without needing to have a sign that always reminds me to "Be grateful". My family infrequently gets cards from me because I have a hard time delivering a card with a heartfelt sentiment that was written by someone that I've never met in a "voice" that I would never use.
The quotes that follow are ones that I had previously jotted down in a notebook and I was reminded of why they resonated with me. Today, I am sharing them and why I love them.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
Every trip changes me in ways that I could not have imagined. Throughout my travels, I have learned that while our country is often respected for its power, many in other first world countries have little desire to live here. It goes beyond politics to our general culture around work / life balance and more. I, too, have learned that the idea of what it means to be rich and successful in our culture is fairly different from what I believe. I believe everyone should take a gap year and/or work sabbatical and find out who they really are and what they want to be.
Bill and I once met a man named Mauricio at a hostel in Patagonia. Mauricio was a jack-of-all-trades: driver, cook, rugged concierge. He told me one morning that he was working for three months until he had earned enough money for a watch. And then he would travel on and then he would work again to get whatever it was that he needed or wanted. Before Bill and I were dropped off at Torres del Paine national park by Mauricio (never to see him again) he told me to "sort out my life" among the mountains because "it's different out there alone." I rarely hike without that thought popping into my head. And happily, it comes to me after I've just figured something out for myself.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
I do not excel at small talk. I'm generally ambivalent about things although admittedly, my closest friends would say that is a flat out lie. I have several passions that I could go on for hours about but they don't usually come up in day-to-day chitchat. But travel is one of those things where I get lost in the moment and have to reel myself in. When people talk, I often make connections from my travel experiences. A family member once pointed out that starting "So I was at a bar in Brussels" is a completely obnoxious way to start a story. Point taken.
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark
That fluttery feeling of excitement that seems ever-present as a teenager and into the twenties is few and far between as we get older. But when I travel, I have that feeling constantly. Not knowing where I am, where to go that day and how to communicate with the locals, is strangely exhilarating. I love decoding all of it. Every morning feels like Christmas when I'm on the road. I once went to India for work and my Indian boss was concerned for my well-being there. He assigned some poor guy that worked at the local office to drive me wherever I wanted and wait for me to come out. I had him take me to a cafe and told him that I would be there for a few hours and he could come back and get me later. I immediately left out the backdoor. I came back a couple of hours later having explored on my own. Sidebar: that day at the cafe, I ran into Gregory David Roberts, the author of one of my favorite books, Shantaram.
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn
If you buy the Costco trip to France, you will likely have a wonderful trip with little hassle. The cost will be fair, the sites will be those that you expect to see and the likelihood (and ability) to get lost will be close to nil. You'll never miss a bus or a train because they will wait for you and you will likely be fed a mostly-familiar menu.
But if you show up on an overnight train in 2nd or 3rd class, have a backpack but nowhere to stay and a loose itinerary based on what some new friend at the last hostel told you about.... well you are in for an adventure. One of the best meals that I ever ate was on a small boat in Peru made by some lady that passed it to us as we got onto the boat. On another occasion, my friend, Katherine, made a few us travel all the way through Berlin to find a Schlotsky's that we had passed at the beginning of a three-hour tour. Though we were initially irritated to be there, we ended up meeting someone there that randomly suggested a town named Wittenberg (where Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses). We hopped on a local train and walked into town where they were getting ready to celebrate Luther's wedding anniversary by throwing a huge party. Kegs and sausage smokers were being rolled down the street by the dozens. It's a festival that I'll never forget.
What travel quotes inspire you and why?