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Thread: On Traveling

  1. #1
    Mamma said knock you out Array Mempy's Avatar
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    Jul 2007

    Default On Traveling

    What are some of the REAL benefits of traveling? Tell me some amazing stories you have. Tell me the places you've been. Tell me how you got there. Tell me every event that really led up to your going. If you think traveling is amazing, I want to know all you have to say.

  2. #2
    4x9 Array cascadeco's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    4 so/sp


    I don't think I have any amazing stories (a friend of mine would have many more, because she's MUCH more well-traveled than I and has been to some more remote locations -- but hey, I have to start somewhere!! :-), but I'll share what I've experienced so far.

    I enjoy traveling because it opens my eyes to the rest of the world. It's too easy to grow comfortable in your own ways, and to start assuming that the rest of the world functions the same as your neck of the woods - because it absolutely doesn't!! So I enjoy seeing and experiencing the different cultures, and it's a really sensory experience for me too. Just new sights, new tastes, new everything. I feel intensely alive when I'm traveling. It's an entirely selfish experience, but I hope on some level I'm gaining some insight into the world too, and coming home a bit more knowledgeable about things - or at least, with a wider lens for viewing events.

    The first time out of the country for me was at age 25. In hindsight I'm really not sure why I didn't do it earlier; I guess it just hadn't crossed my mind!! The first trip was to southern Spain. I had a friend living there at the time, so flying over there to meet him (and he spoke some spanish too) was an easy way to start traveling. It was just a 10 day trip, but wow, how time stretches out while you're travelling. One day of travelling equates to like a week of normal time....just the overload of new things. We spent 1/2 a day at Gilbraltar, than a couple of nights in Cadiz, a couple of nights in Sevilla, a couple of nights Granada, a couple in Almeria, and then I flew home. Highlights: the architecture; roaming the streets of the old sections of town; fabulous paella at a tiny little shop; touring Alhambra; and touring the old castle in Almeria, which was equally neat).

    The second time out I was bound and determined to really challenge myself. To test my abilities and try to push past some of my fears. I didn't want my ability to travel to be dependent on finding people to travel with. I didn't want my life to pass me by, with me 'waiting' for other people to want to or be able to travel with me, or me regretting I didn't travel when I had the opportunity. So, I did a 3-week solo trip to Greece. I was 26 at this time. I chose Greece because I'd always wanted to see Greece - the history mostly, I suppose. I had also always loved the photo images coming from Greece; specifically the Greek Isles - so I was dying to see it for myself. It was kind of terrifying, but at the same time, deep down I 'knew' I could do it. The first day there, in Athens, after a long flight (I can't sleep on planes AT ALL - it sucks) and then finding myself in a noisy city that I didn't care for at all -- I really regretted my decision to go solo, and dreaded that I had 20 more days of it. But by the next day, I was back to normal, refreshed, excited, and once I got on the ferry to Santorini, I was ready. I spent 4 nights on Santorini, 2 nights on Paros, 5 nights on Naxos (over the Orthodox Easter time), 3 nights on Mykonos, 2 nights on Tinos, and a couple of nights in Athens before heading home. Highlights: chatting with a woman from Amsterdam who had retired in Paros, on the balcony of the pension in Oia Santorini one afternoon, looking out at the bright blue water; taking a bus to a village in the center of the island of Paros and walking to the other side of the island along the 'Byzantine Road'; bussing to the center of the island of Naxos and hiking for about 10 miles with a french couple who had a guidebook and could actually locate the hiking 'trail' that I couldn't find on my own; walking around the beautiful sidewalks of Mykonos Town and watching the most gorgeous sunset I've ever seen in my life; overcoming my one day of intense loneliness and crabbiness and homesickness on day 10 of the trip, and being great for the remainder of it; the nice older greek man who chauferred me around Naxos for 1/2 day so I could see some of the sights that I wouldn't have been able to see without a car; the food!! And biggest highlight of all: Doing everything by myself, and seeing as much as I did, and roaming the streets on my own, and a few times not knowing where I'd be staying -- like, getting off the ferry, and having no idea where I'd be spending the night. Now THAT'S a very uncomfortable feeling for me. But I still conquered that, and 'survived'. So the whole trip just boosted my confidence.

    I then did a solo trip to Jasper National Park in Canada -- ah, food for the soul. My heart belongs in nature. Just lots of hiking, picnic lunches in beautiful locations surrounded by mountains....

    This is getting long so I'll have to summarize the rest!!

    I went to Mexico for about 5 days with a few friends to celebrate one of their 30th b-days in style.

    Then last x-mas (sniff) I went with my family and extended family to England and Ireland. I'm not a fan of cities in general, but London was wonderful. I loved it - loved the history, loved the bus tour, loved walking around Old London and knowing I was walking around some of the same areas that my favorite English author, Dickens, frequented. Then Ireland was amazing too. X-mas in Galway, a wonderful boat ride to Innishmore (Aran islands) and a local irishman driving us around the island in his van and giving us the personalized tour (although at times we could barely understand him due to his thick gaelic accent!!!:-), then Dingle. Ah, I loved Dingle. So quaint, so pretty, I loved the fishing boats...and the best seafood chowder ever. Actually, seafood chowder was fantastic in all the places, but...anyway.

    Then I went to Italy this past May with a couple of friends. It was such a different, and positive, experience traveling with two friends as opposed to being by myself, or with my family. So fun. Rome blew me away - again, I don't like cities, but Rome was awesome. I loved how walkable it was -- you could see pretty much everything if you were willing to walk 5-10 miles a day. Otherwise the metro was perfectly fine. So obviously the Colloseum area/Roman Forum/Palatine was my favorite -- just the history. Amazing. Also went to Siena, Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and Venice. LOTS of good food and good wine.

    So amazing stories or adventures (aside from miscellaneous mass transportation issues or mishaps ;-), just a lot of experiences that wouldn't mean anything to the reader, but that are engraved in my memories.

    (Oh, I should probably add that before I started traveling overseas, I took trips in the U.S., so have seen a fair amount of it. Also, growing up, I was fortunate in that my family was able to take 'family vacations' each year - and that's something I'm really thankful for)
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  3. #3
    Permabanned Array
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    May 2007
    5w6 sp/sx


    I get so damn jealous when I hear other people's travel stories.

    I hardly ever get to travel. The last time I traveled was to a cousin's wedding in Indianapolis back in 2004, and that's all the traveling was for, a stupid wedding. Because I was with my father and ex-stepmother, I was not able to explore the unknown territory as much as I wanted.

    I know the reality is that different cities are not all that much different (unlike how they are shown in the movies), but still, being in a new area far from home would have stimulated my creative spark. Goddamn elders.

  4. #4
    scourge Array miss fortune's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
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    I've traveled a bit on my own- usually by car since I'm typically broke! I've driven to Canada a few times (up around Lake Superior for hiking and such) and South to Georgia, East to Maryland, West to Colorado and such all for the purpose of hiking and visiting with friends who have moved away!

    I've been several other places around the US and Canada on family vacation as well.

    Probably the best travel experience is when I went to teach English for 3 months in Brazil though! I barely spoke the language and didn't really know anyone there- I was staying in a convent in a rural town and teaching english at the parochial school and an english school! People were very welcoming and would patiently listen while I pieced together sentences at first with my dictionary and knowlege of spanish- they helped me figure out the language and customs of the area quite well! I got invited over to people's houses on a regular basis, went to the local college's end of the year party and hung out backstage with the band, attended weddings and funerals, birthday parties and formal dinners. An old woman once made me a cheese for visiting her house! I even got to attend a wake!

    I did quite a bit of traveling while there as well, going to Argentina for a few days, and Paraguay for a few hours (it's apparently not a safe country so nobody would let me stay long ) went and got drenched by Iguazu Falls and saw a good bit of the Southern part of the country!

    All in all, my travel expierences have been very positive and I intend to travel more once I get a REAL job some day! (I have my world map with different places marked off that I MUST visit before dying!)
    Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom? -Terry Pratchett

  5. #5


    I apologize for the novel that this entry became.

    Traveling has been such a valuable experience for me. I think there are two main benefits. First, you get thrown out of your comfort zone and you find out more about yourself because you are reacting to entirely new surroundings. Kind of like how you find out more about a band's style when they play a cover know what it's supposed to sound like and you can pinpoint what the new version brings. The second benefit is that you get a different perspective on the world. Just as an example, you start to think of the food you eat as "American food" instead of just "food". The details of your life become just one of many lifestyles instead of being the default, "normal" lifestyle. I think this is especially valuable for Americans, as our country is so vast that it's too easy to forget that there is a whole other world out there. It's not like Europe, where if you drive for a couple of hours you're in a different country. We can drive for five days and still be in the USA.

    I started noticing the differences even as a child, when my family would drive from New Jersey to Florida. You started to see Waffle Houses instead of IHOPs, people said "pop" instead of "soda", and everyone spoke in a drawl. For an 11-year old, that's an eye-opening experience.

    It was more of the same when I took my first overseas trip in college. We hit London, Dublin, Brussels and Paris in a whirlwind 16 days. The trip was nominally a class about film and television in Europe. I learned a lot, but not about film and television. I just learned to look at things a little differently. I felt educated, even if the academic portion of my trip was a joke. For example, even though some Parisians were rude, we encountered a very friendly, enthusiastic university student in Paris who freely offered to show us the sights for the chance to practice his English with us. I learned not to judge people based on their nationality from this kid. I also found that it works in reverse...lots of people abroad aren't that savvy about America. When in a Dublin pub, the bartender checking IDs noticed that a girl in our group was from Freehold, NJ, the hometown of Bruce Springsteen. He asked if she knew him, and she lied and said she did, and proceeded to regale a few Dubliners with her fanciful tales of hanging out with The Boss. Funny.

    Recently I've had the chance to travel a few times for work. I spent 5 months in Canada last year, and it was wonderful. If you're only there for a day it's hard to tell the difference from the USA. But over time the character of the Canadians and their country revealed itself, and I fell in love with them. They assume the best from each other as opposed to the US, where we assume the worst. And their assumptions are often confirmed. On the same job I also got to go to Hong Kong for three days. It's the most foreign place I've ever been, and it was quite an experience. The food was amazing, and the city is beautiful, especially lit up at night. I also separated myself a little. I went off by myself to see the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas, which is up a winding path above the city and it was the only place in overcrowded Hong Kong where I felt relatively alone, looking over the city from a hilltop surrounded by ornate temples. I also took a rickety bus into the New Territories, which is a rural area between urban Hong Kong and mainland China. I was the only Caucasian in sight for half a day, and that experience is probably the most immersed I've ever felt in a foreign culture.

    These experiences have given me a serious travel bug. Italy is my dream destination, but Russia, Peru, Alaska and Spain are also on the list. I also strongly recommend that every American (or anyone else who wants to get to know us) take a cross-country drive. I've done it twice now, and it's an amazing thing.

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