The World is a Book

IMG_0065I was wasting my life scrolling Instagram again when I came across a picture of a quote painted on what I think was a sidewalk. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” Hmm.

Travel. It was about a week ago that I was walking on a beach, illuminated in gold from the setting sun. My husband and son were far off in the waves, flashing fears in my head of a rip tide or a shark attack. Though the ocean roared, and I could hear nothing else, I imagined the sounds of the laughter and delight my son seemed to be making as every wave hit his body. It’s a game he and his dad had always played here, they fight the ocean and the ocean fights back. But this time, instead of just packing our weekend clothes, a few bags of groceries, and hopping in the car for quick four-hour trip to the coast; we traveled by plane for three hours and then drove a rental car for another three hours to get there. We moved across the country less than three months ago but couldn’t miss this summer tradition.

This place is both travel and comfort. It’s one of several places that hold cherished memories I want my son to have when he thinks back to his childhood, long after his childhood and his dad and I are gone. The memories of simple pleasures such as cold ocean waves, warm soft sand between the toes, and discovering the treasures left behind when the ocean has retreated. The memories and love we created through the simplest of joys like chasing waves. But the quote isn’t about this. It’s about the discovery of new experiences. For my young son, still in the single digit years of age, going to this place adds to his own experience.

What is the beauty in experiencing someplace new? Something like nothing in your daily life? Somewhere that whispers to you, “You’re not nearly as important as you think you are.” You’re simply a speck of sand along the coastline.

Do you know anyone who is afraid to travel? They vacation at home, just burning up days off from work, getting projects done around the house. They feel that there is everything to offer in the area they live in, so why bother seeing anyplace else? They only vacation in the exact same spots every year, never trying – or even being open to – anywhere else. Know anyone like this? What it really is, isn’t the spot they always like to vacation, they’re just not open to anything they aren’t comfortable with. And that my friend, is tragedy.

The beauty of experience via travel is growth and a heightened awareness of the most mundane things that are different from your day-to-day existence. Travel enables you to gain a different perspective, expand your mind, and to be brave and bold. Some of my most meaningful experiences with travel involved historical sites that put me in my place and reminded me that I’m just a tiny speck of sand on an illuminated beach. Walking through the famous Colosseum in Rome. Seeing the Shrine of the Magi in Köln. Inspecting the Mayan ruins in Tulum. But as I write these tiny sentences of my own experiences, I’m excited to see my own life feels like more than a bulleted list on a page. It’s one of several pages of experiences that continue to mold me into something new. It’s funny though, every time I’ve traveled somewhere, I come back even hungrier for more of it.

Perhaps the late Anthony Bourdain, the sardonic and infamous chef, travel food show TV host, and author, said it best.

“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough – to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”

(Anthony Bourdain)


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