Travel Top 7 November 5th, 2010
I’ve spent quite a bit of time this week thinking about travel. Throughout our visit to Washington, DC last weekend I was reminded of why I love to travel as much as I do. And as I’ve reflected back on the trip over the course of the past few days I have been further energized about other trips that are on our horizon. In that vein, I’ve compiled a brief list of the things I love most about traveling that I felt compelled to share.
- Getting away. This sounds obvious, but I think it’s worth stating anyway. There is something so cathartic about being away from your normal routine; leaving behind to-do lists, chores, schedules, and other obligations. When a friend of mine returned from her honeymoon a couple of years ago she had become so mentally disengaged from her regular life that upon returning she couldn’t remember any of her computer passwords at work and they all had to be reset. That is getting away!
- Going with the flow. Travel requires flexibility of all stripes and being thrust into sometimes-unpredictable circumstances is really good for me. I also like traveling with IEP for this reason. When we are home I am intensely protective of his schedule and routine, but I also think it’s important that he is, from time to time, forced to adapt to something different.
- The locals. During our trip we chatted with a cabbie who landed in DC after the Korean War, worked for the Labor Department for a number of years, and now drives around the city waxing philosophic about the location of the bike lanes. You really get the flavor of a place by talking to the people who live there.
- Walking, walking, walking. GAP and I are big walkers. We take subways when it makes sense, but only rarely take taxis (#3 notwithstanding). By walking we’ve found churches that weren’t on Rome’s maps, funky bodegas in Brooklyn, and made an inadvertent trip through the GWU campus in DC. (This also enables a great deal of eating, eating, eating, which leads me to…)
- Regional food. I ate more lobster, crab, and oysters last weekend than I have in ages. In Italy I ate almost nothing besides pasta, gnocchi, and gelato (with the odd salad thrown in) for two weeks. In Switzerland we dipped things into melted cheese over and over and over. What a treat it is to eat authentic food in its original home.
- Different points of view. This one is most notable overseas. I’m always fascinated to find out what people’s perception of America is. I love learning what people think of their own countries, what they like and what they don’t. And of course cultural differences are fascinating to me as well.
- Coming home. My own bed. My dogs. My kitchen. My friends. And (if he wasn’t with us) my son! Home is a wonderful thing, and, I believe, becomes even more so when we’ve seen other corners of the world and after a time are ready to return to the comforts of the familiar.