Thursday, August 8, 2013

Travel is a value

"To travel is to live." Hans Christian Andersen

 A bold statement that I find completely true. I love to travel. I desire it in a way that motivates and focuses me like nothing else. The adventure, the unknown, the anticipation of new,of excitement, the deep need to explore a world with as much curiosity as I explore the people in it, the senses so unfamiliar, I love everything about it.

I married a man who shares my joys. Joel and I both want to travel. We enjoy traveling. We love traveling. Most of all we hold travel as a personal value in our daily lives.

We have both done a good deal of travel in our lives. Since we began dating we have visited the UK, Italy, Malawi, Chile, Maine, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Chez Republic, France, California, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alabama, Gerogia, DC, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Vermont, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, New Jeresey, New York. 

Before we were together we both ignited this love to travel. Joel visited Jamaica, Guatemala, Australia, and Mexico. I went on a backpacking trip in Spain and Portugal, another one in Eastern Europe hitting Hungry, Slovakia, Poland. I took a pirate ship sailing tour of Greece. I visited Scotland, Ireland, Mexico, Canada, Lichtenstein, Belgium, Sicily. I visited New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and so on and so on.

Whenever there is an opportunity to visit somewhere new, you will find one of us leaping "yes!"

We have had friends who ask where we have traveled over the years. These questions always makes me hesitate. Sometimes I feel like I am bragging or showing off in some way that I have had such vast and worldly experiences. I used to provide a couple of countries or towns as an answer and then leave it at that.

Anyone who has visited our apartment is familiar with our world map. We have marked every city we have visited with a red dot. The dots pour over the continents that we have touched down on. Returning from the bathroom, our friends will come back into the living room with an awe-struck look on their faces. Then they will ask if those are places we want to see or if they are places we have seen. Other times, our friends will come back in, skeptical, and ask how in the world we afford to take so many trips around the world. 
Arches National Park

The second question is the one I would like to answer today. 

Joel and I value travel. This is a personal value that we keep and honor. When we plan out our budget, our calendars and our time, we calculate traveling into all of that because it is very important to us. I feeds our souls. Travel is a value, this is something that we invest in. We have a savings account that we add money into every single month for travel only. We do not touch it until we have saved up enough for the next planned adventure. 

 Since travel is a value for us and we want to invest our time and money into it for our own joy and wholeness, we don't spend that money in other places. We could buy really nice cars and pay a car payment but we'd rather travel. We could buy a house and have a mortgage, but we like to travel. We could buy clothing and go shopping all the time, instead we like to travel. We could go out to eat every night, but we like to travel. We could have beers everyday after work, but we like to travel. We could buy lavish gifts for all our friends (instead we make them), but we like to travel. We live in a (cute) small, older, lower rent apartment because we like to travel. We make most of our daily decesions to support our love for traveling.

Rome, Italy
I have a lot of loved ones and friends who love the idea of traveling. They dream about amazing locations they'd like to visit someday. Many of them hang their heads and sigh that they don't have enough money and some of them don't. But then again, I look at that new watch, the brand new car, the $100 bill from the bar tab the night before and wonder if that they mean is: I don't value travel. It is totally OK with me if you don't value travel.

If you do value travel and you make a paycheck, chances are that you can put a little money away each month to add up to your dream trip. What if you went a whole month without buying any alcohol and just put that money in a travel account? What if you didn't buy any cigarettes? What if you cooked at home and didn't eat out for a month? 

If traveling is a dream you hold dear and you haven't made it come true yet, how can you create some minor changes for a couple of months to open the door to incredible transformation through travel? 

For me, Andersen is right. Traveling is living and I will invest in life any day. I will no longer shy away from telling the truth. Joel and I value travel and we invest in it. We are not bragging, we are not rolling in dough, we save for each epic adventure because we love it.