LSS: Take a trip

Settling in after our big trip to England hasn’t been difficult because life just kept right on going—like it does. However, my perspective was much improved.
At work, I was able to plug right back into the swing of things, with new and hopefully improved ideas. As I’ve written before, I love to go, but I also love to come home.
Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to bigotry, prejudice and narrow mindedness.”
He’s right. Travel forces us to do things in ways we’re not used to doing them. Basically, we have to think differently—maybe not much or maybe in mind-boggling ways. Thinking a little differently—even for a short while—is good for our brains and souls.
Sometimes traveling in England doesn’t feel nearly as foreign as other countries. But like all Americans who walk across a street there, every time my daughter Greer and I took that first step into a street, we were reminded that we were in a foreign place. We had to look right, not left.
Hence, since we’ve been home, I’ve been a much more deliberate driver. It’s a mundane example, but a reminder that looking at things through a different lens heightens awareness.
As much fun as taking a trip is for me, planning trips invigorates me even more—especially trips to places I’ve never been. I like to share that joy.
So, I want you to take a trip soon.
Take a trip to anywhere.
Pick a place and start planning.
It doesn’t have to be to a distant land, but try and make your journey include spots and activities you’ve never done before. If you need destination suggestions, I’m full of them! For example, have you been to Ship Island off the Mississippi Coast?
Sure, plan a big trip for down the road, but right now plan a trip to somewhere for June or July. Think of something you’re passionate about—the Red Sox, the space shuttle, Fourth of July fireworks over the Washington Monument. Think of something you’ve always wanted to see or do. Make it happen. Mark it off your list.
If you can’t come up with somewhere that rocks your world, settle for cooler weather.
Go somewhere you don’t know well. Stay a week. Stay a few days. Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, the lakes of Michigan, the mountains of Arkansas, the hills of Tennessee. Pick a National Park. The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Great Smokies, Acadia.
Head to the beach.
Take a cruise.
Consider this your clarion call.
If you don’t enjoy or aren’t good at researching, call a travel agent. Lafayette has dozens of knowledgeable travel agents.
Travel bargains are plentiful. Finding ways to travel on a shoestring can be fun. While Greer and I were in England, we made it a point to go to farmers’ markets and buy foods for picnics. Fresh bread, homemade cheddar and homegrown strawberries were delicious. The farmers’ food tasted better than most restaurants we tried. And, to top it off, it was cheaper.
If what makes travel exciting is doing new and exotic things, you don’t have to go to new and exotic places to experience new and exotic things. If necessary, go to easy-to-access places, just find something different to do once you’re there. Maybe you go to Houston all the time, but have you ever been to the Asian mall in Houston? Have you been to the art museum downtown?
Let go of expectations. Go with an open mind. Acknowledge and move on.
The day after I returned from England I spoke with a friend who said traveling of any form wears him out. I understand. Traveling is often uncomfortable. Maybe that’s what more of us need—to be uncomfortable and challenged more often. Maybe we wouldn’t be quite so quick to judge if we were a little less comfortable from time to time. Maybe we have to be forced occasionally to look at life from a different view.
I encourage my friend (and you) to go somewhere—preferably some place beautiful.
It all can be beautiful in one way or the other, can’t it?
Finding beauty in the foreign or the familiar rejuvenates our souls and makes us better people, which, in turn, makes the world a better place.

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