Choosing Travel, Some Background
I grew up with a little exposure to travel - a couple summer visits to relatives out west, a winter vacation somewhere in the Caribbean at an age too young to really remember, road trips along the east coast. My husband, too, had some experience of travel as a child - spring breaks in Mexico, winter skiing in Utah, a father/son tour in Italy.
We both chose a college that required some hours of effort to get home, and there we jumped further into exploring new places. Domestic spring break service trips (me), road trips throughout New England for cycling races (him), a summer language program in Mexico (him), winter break service trips in Belize (me), a semester abroad in Ecuador (him), a summer abroad in Europe (me). Looking back at it, I can see there was a thrill in both the activity and the destination; each adventure stretched us and changed us in different ways.
A year and half after graduation, two more trips to Ecuador complete, we soaked up Mexico's November sun, hoping it would carry us through the snow and wind of the coming winter. Our honeymoon conversation landed on travel and dreams of more adventures.
Where could we go? How long could we go for? Could we ever live abroad? I honestly don't remember the specifics of that conversation, but I left it knowing there was so much more we wanted to see and experience.
That was almost 9 years ago. The files of pictures, many of them still waiting to be turned into albums, show a young marriage that followed through on the honeymoon conversation. There have been plenty of hiccups along the way: countless hours of work to save money and accumulate time off, many more hours plotting and planning, an agonizing stomach virus in Vienna followed by a ruptured eardrum on the way home, debilitating tendonitis on a hiking trip in Spain, inexplicable tears at a cruise port in Croatia, a broken camera in Nice, mechanical delays and weather delays and missed connections and rerouted flights. Yet, we want nothing more than to continue on and to share this love of adventure with our daughter.
For my husband, the planning process is a huge part of the fun. He works in numbers and travels for work, so the game of airline points and hotel points and transferrable credit card points have morphed into a sort of hobby for him. He manages to take our existing expenses and arrange them to earn travel points back for us. Then, the dreaming begins. How can we maximize those earnings? What is the most exciting, perhaps indirect, route we can take to a destination?
I participate in the dreaming, I answer questions about preferences, I pack and run the last minute errands, I start home projects that are too big in the 24 hours leading up to our flight (i.e. complete overhauls of both our closets, cleaning the house we moved out of the day before).
This year I've been scrolling through pictures of past trips - purging, sorting, tidying, saving - which immediately makes me both grateful for the experience and desperate to go somewhere again. Today I'll make meals, run to Target, and play in the sandbox. I'll also be looking forward to a big trip in a few short weeks and imagining the everyday adventures that will unfold between now and then.
And so, whether it's travel or something else, dream it, plan it, do it. I can't figure out the downside to any part of that.