LESSONS LEARNED FROM TRAVELING – Road Trips 101
I love to travel. Big trips, little trips, backyard trips ... they all can be wonderful experiences. And the best thing about it is that often the best times are the simpler trips, you don’t always have to go to exotic locations or on grand cruises. Road trips are my very favorite thing – just packing up your car, and bringing your dog (it’s amazing how many pet-friendly hotels there are now) and hitting the road. You can choose your destination, and change your mind if you want, stay longer or shorter times, and be on your own timetable.
But I also hate to travel. It can be exhausting. You can get tired of living out of a suitcase. Air travel is frustrating, crowded and expensive. The good news about living in this area is the wealth of amazing places to see in our own backyard that are all relatively short drives.
We are so fortunate to live in America, where the open road still beckons and the things to see boggle the mind. I love to meet Europeans who are traveling here and watch their disbelief at just how much open country there is. They don’t have these endless skies and landscapes void of population, just sheer beauty and wildness. Our National Park Systems and the wonderful job they have done of protecting our wild places, and yet making them very comfortable and educational to visit, is one of the greatest gifts we have as Americans. It’s why we have to continue to fight to protect these pristine places, because once they are gone, they are truly lost.
This brings me to another reason I love to travel. As beautiful as it is here, it is good to get out of Dodge sometimes. Just to be around different mindsets, politics, cultures, etc. As many changes that are happening in our communities, there seems to be some things that just don’t change. Politics, public policies, and general support for progressive ideas are some of those things. It’s as if we are living behind the “Zion Curtain”, that irrational Utah law that demands a partition be in a restaurant so that customers can’t see their cocktails poured. Like we couldn’t handle the sight of it even though we have ordered the drink, are going to drink the drink, we are not allowed to see the drink being made. What would be the worst thing that could happen be if we peeked around this proverbial curtain, and saw what other possibilities are out there? We shouldn’t be afraid to enjoy more artistic freedom and explore new ideas.
Travel used to be a part of young people’s education. In some countries, such as England it still is, with their “gap year” where young students take a year off to go somewhere else and live. Even in the 1800’s, it was considered a part of a young woman’s education to go to Europe and spend some time there. In the 1960’s flocks of young people headed to Europe with a backpack and a copy of “Europe on $5.00 a Day.” Of course, those days are long gone. But they can still do road trips!
Traveling, near or far, gives you a chance to see new things and explore new cultures, and often discover that whatever stereotypical notion you might have about people or an area is often incorrect. And it’s fun to have no agenda, or interest in learning anything, and grab a friend and head out on the road just for the pure freedom and camaraderie. It’s always fascinating how different we all are, but still surprisingly similar. And it’s always wonderful to come home to Southern Utah.
The opinions presented in Just Sayin’ are that of its author.