Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 4: Learn About a Place You Want to Go

So I am slightly obsessed with travelling.  I have jumped at every opportunity to go to a new place.  I love the new sights, sounds, smells, and experiences found in a foreign place.  I learn so much about the world and myself when I step out of my life and into a world of new possibilities and faces.  My wanderlust is only occasionally satiated by an actual journey.  The rest of the time, I must be content to read, watch movies, listen to music, try food, or meet someone who can teach me about other places and cultures.
Lately I have been feeling very restless.  And who should sweep in to spirit me away but one of my best friends, Bethany from Australia.  There is a lot of preparation to do before I leave, and I am trying to portion it all out into manageable but progressive installments of work.  However one preparatory project is to learn more about this fascinating country.  I was talking to her today about the travel guide I got, last year, I think.  Australia was a far-off dream to me then, a shadowy possibility.  Now it is only 27 days away, and I can hardly believe it!  Anyway, I told her I am such a dorky tourist, with my maps and photos and child-like wonder.  She said "No, you're not an regular tourist, you'll have your very own aussie guide family!"  So I told her I'd talk silly and slather vegemite all over my face so I could blend in.  "Um... not quite."
Learning about a place you want to go not only educates and encourages, it can really help adjust our priorities.  Travelling to upstate New York, riding my bike through beautiful Selkirk Shores State Park, I learned to appreciate natural beauty and quiet.  Travelling to England, walking in the footsteps of Jane Austen, I learned to appreciate literary history.  Travelling to Guatemala, bathing in streams and seeing extreme poverty, I learned to be less demanding and more appreciative of my pampered American life.  So take some time to learn about a place, any place that interests you.  Get lost for a few hours in a completely new place, even if it's only in your mind, and see what you find.

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