Why Travel Matters

Why Travel Matters

travel-matter-tuscany-the-overseas-escape-1Last week I was asked to speak at a Women’s Travel Alliance event here in Charlottesville. It was Thursday night, two days after the election, and I was still short of words and understanding. I was asked to speak about travel blogging and why it’s important. But, why blog? Why write, why share stories, pictures and videos? I struggled coming up with an answer. All the hours and thought that goes into each post, why does it matter?

I thought back to what had actually brought me the most joy from it all. If I were operating in a naive little box perhaps I’d say the clout – I recently got recognized at a bar in Copenhagen (crazy, right!?), and have a media kit chock full of partnerships I’ve done with brands. But is it worth it? No.

Before moving forward though – here’s my question to YOU: what makes travel so enjoyable and perhaps addictive? I thought about this for awhile and concluded that what I love is learning about people, places, and cultures that I’d otherwise be oblivious to.

I love wandering bustling markets, observing old grandpas playing chess on park benches, and trying squid ink pasta because the waiter told me it’s his favorite. Travel for me isn’t about stepping away from my home, but about stepping towards a destination and realizing that it’s someone else’s home. Travel is important because it brings perspective.

Sharing these stories and experiences, whether it’s blogging or otherwise, matters because it encourages others to gain their own perspective.

It prompts others to go and explore beyond their comfort zone – only to realize that despite the miles and hours from their ‘normal’ we are in fact all the same. We have our families, our friends, our favorite restaurant and our dreams.

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We meet people like Beppe (sounds like Pepe), a baker I befriended in Tuscany. He appreciates good food and is well-loved by his family and friends. One month ago today I did a day hike with Beppe through the misty Tuscan vineyards. At one point we stopped in the middle of an olive grove and Beppe unveiled a hot loaf of bread he’d made that morning at his shop, then poured olive oil – from the grove which we stood  – on to slices for all of us to try. Safe to say, Beppe is incredibly thoughtful and proud of his homeland.

Perhaps just as memorable – despite the language barrier, each of my interactions with Beppe confirmed that he was a true jokester. While toasting a couple’s wedding anniversary at dinner one evening the husband stepped away to take a picture of the group – Beppe, spotting his opportunity, quickly stepped in and embraced the wife for the shot. Our entire group rolled with laughter (the husband too!).travel-matter-tuscany-the-overseas-escape-6travel-matter-tuscany-the-overseas-escape-7It’s people like Beppe that give me perspective on what it’s like to be Tuscan or Italian. After the recent earthquake in central Italy I thought of Beppe and the other friends we’d encountered there – was Beppe affected? was he alright? Suddenly, what happens outside of my own political borders matters.

Travel isn’t just a fun pastime or hobby, it’s a vital element to society. The more we can all grow in our understanding and empathy for the rest of the world, the better we’ll all be. Share your stories, share the perspective you gained, or simply encourage others to go. No matter if it’s grabbing your keys or your passport, we all have something to learn.
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  • Karine Frigon

    It’s all about the people we meet, right? I am grateful for traveling. It makes me learn a lot of things just because I am stepping out of my comfort zone. 😀

  • What a beautiful post! I think those people who I come across as the most xenophobic are those who havent travelled out of their country or have only ever been to countries very similar to theirs and havent manage to burst their private bubble yet!

    Abigail Alice x

  • I absolutely love this! “Suddenly, what happens outside of my own political borders matters.” This is such an important statement. I think we all need more of these realizations and connections more than ever right now.

  • Well said Margo! I concur! I’m so thankful for the lessons travel has thought me. Love your photos, as always. I can almost taste the olive oil. 🙂

  • Taste of France

    There’s travel and there’s tourism. Tourism is about jetting in, eating at THE Restaurants, visiting THE Museums, staying at THE Hotels, and doing it all in a comfortable cocoon of translated guides and fixers.
    Travel is about meeting the locals, and experiencing the local life. Restaurants, museums and hotels may be part of that, but the essential ingredient is PEOPLE.
    With tourism, there’s a checklist or bucket list to be accomplished. With travel, the surprises and serendipity are what matter.

  • I miss Beppe and all the other amazing and kind Tuscans we met along the way!

    Best,
    Sarah

  • LOVE this post and totally agree with you – hence my blog name 😉

    http://travelmatters.co

  • great post!

  • Kari Guastella

    I love this post! So true!
    Kari
    http://www.sweetteasweetie.com

  • Such true words!

  • I loveeee this post. I completely agree, the more you travel the more you get to understand the world around you. There is always something to learn.

  • I don’t travel to see new places, I do it to meet new people and to challenge my own views on things. It’s so important that when we travel, we engage in our surroundings like you did with Bebe.

  • Great post! I definitely agree that its experiences that make it all worth it. I love to share mine and inspire others to do the same. My travel is all about people, often people I’ve met in passing and friends I’m visiting. Always makes me feel like we’re all the same and yet so different. Opens the horizon.

  • Mima Isono

    Love this post. I echo the same feeling towards travel.
    I travel to have a different taste of food, a closer look to different cultures and expand tolerance towards the difference.

    — Mima from Japan
    http://tiptoeingworld.com

  • Love your post! We couldn’t agree more, to travel is to expand your horizons and cherish your senses! Also, it is great that you got to meet Arianna and Alessio from Km Zero Tours, they are such great hosts!

  • Perfectly said 🙂 I think that this is analogous to living as an expat too. When the terrorist attack happened at the Christmas market in Berlin, my heart hurt for my other home. What’s even scarier is that I have a friend who was there earlier that night, drinking Gluehwein with his friends. Traveling and experiencing new people and new places becomes a part of you and I can’t imagine how expanding your personal boundries that could ever be considered a bad thing.

  • Paige Cassandra Flamm

    So true! I love how traveling gives me a different perspective to see life through, its amazing.

    Paige Flamm
    The Happy Flammily
    http://bit.ly/2jEd6V2 (latest post)