Travel can bring forth so much emotion. It can fill you with excitement at the possibility of what lies ahead or dread at the unknown. At various times of my life and for various trips, I've fallen into each camp.
When I was 21, T and I went to Europe for the first time. It was thrilling. New cultures, new countries, new languages. Everything was unknown and I loved it. At the time, I was finishing up college and he was already working. So, we went together for 2 weeks and then he had to return to work. I stayed on for 2 more weeks by myself. I didn't mind roaming alone or the seven hour flight by myself home. I was elated at the sense of how much of the world there was to discover.
However, a mere 6 years later, it was a completely different story. T and I were to fly to New York City to check things out for our upcoming move. The flights were booked. The hotel was reserved. This was going to be our first trip alone since we had B and A. It was a tumultuous time in our lives. T was wrapping up graduate school. He was in process of changing careers and things were uncertain as to where we would be living. He was originally hired for the Chicago office, but things changed and we had to go to New York instead. The babies were just a year and we sold our house in four days. I was stressed and facing uncertainty. So, the night before the trip, I had a panic attack and was unable to make myself go. We ended up driving out east with our two babies a few weeks later. Not very rational. Not of sound mind at the time. My sense of adventure was all but quashed. I longed for stability.
Bike riding down the Blue Mountain and through the rain forest in Jamaica was thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. Snorkeling out in the Molokini Crater in Hawaii was breathtaking in it's beauty. Frightening was the mode of transportation that my husband chose for us to get out there. Picture a large inflatable tube boat with a super fast motor. We rode out to the crater straddling the inflated tube, holding onto a strap to keep us on at speeds of 40 mi/hour. We did stop to see that whale a mere 20 feet away. Two emotions-fear and exhilaration all at the same time.
Perhaps, that's what travel does for us. It takes us out of our comfort zones and shows us something new. Something we weren't aware of before that trip. It opens up the world. It introduces us to people and places we didn't even know we would fall in love with. It shows us that if we can get over our fears of the unknown, we may discover something that we were meant to experience. Something that will change who we are and what we can do. Our travels. Our experiences. They make up who we are once we return home.