If you’re like most Americans, you work a lot. If you’re like me, you work all the time. Whether it’s the 9-5 grind or our special projects, we often put a lot of time into doing “things.”
I loved Costa Rica! Visiting the small Central American country for my birthday was absolutely fantastic. However, it wasn’t all fun and games. Well, for me it was, but for the Costa Ricans running the farm I stayed at, it was work, work, work.
While on the flight back to Austin, I caught myself planning out the “things” for the coming week. Instead of enjoying the last few hours of my hard-earned vacation, I was thinking about all of the meetings, chores, conference calls, etc., that I had coming up.
Feeling slightly depressed and frustrated at how easily I fell back into my routine, I asked myself, What is the point of taking a vacation? Why do we travel?
The Chachagua Rainforest Hotel in Costa Rica is a working and functional farm. With pigs, chickens, cows, ducks, and horses, it was the ideal place to get away. Honestly, it was one of the best vacations that I’ve ever had.
The awesomeness of my vacation seemed to fade fast as our plane descended into Austin’s airport. As the ground below changed from jungle into dead or dying grass, I wondered,
If I can slip so easily back into the life before my vacation, why did we travel at all?
I thought about it for several hours, and this is what I came up with.
We travel to learn there are other ways of doing things.
I’m surrounded by technology every day. Our house has multiple TVs, more than one computer, and is always connected and “alive” with the buzz of electricity. At the office, it’s the same way.
While in Costa Rica, we went stretches without using any electricity whatsoever. No lights, no fans, no A/C.
Traveling allows us to see that our way of doing things isn’t the only way. Traveling permits us to see how other people have chosen to live their lives and they’re enjoying it! I can live surrounded by computers, video games and technology, but I don’t require it.
If, like me, you live surrounded by technology and toys, I encourage you to get out of the house and go outside. Go camping. Try white-water rafting. Zip-line through the jungle!
We travel to step away.
Whenever you get into a heated argument, the best dissolution is often to step away. Stepping away allows us to de-stress and unwind. Traveling gives us an avenue to do that both physically and mentally.
However, you have to do just that, you have to step away. You have to unplug and leave the world behind. The stressors that wound you up in the first place cannot be taken with you. If you bring your reality with you, you’re not really stepping away, you’re shifting work spaces.
Sometimes we need a break. Put the computer down, turn the phone to vibrate, grab your family and loved-ones, and step away.
We travel to see a different side of our world.
It’s fascinating to me how many different cultures we have on our planet. I’ve only been to a handful of countries, but I’ve seen enough to know how rich these various cultures are.
If we never left our hometowns, we’d never get to experience the variety of life that our world holds. In Costa Rica, I saw birds I’d never seen, insects that creeped me out, and plant-life that would entertain even the most critical of biologists.
We need to travel to see what God has created. Our perspective isn’t the only one. The culture we grew up with isn’t the only one worth learning about.
To get a taste of a different culture on the cheap, try this out.
Find local restaurants in your area that are owned/operated by people of a different culture. Add them to your rotation of places to eat and go there for a change. You might be surprised by what you find!
These are some of the reasons that I travel. I really needed a break. A huge thank you to my wife, Ashley, for planning just about everything so that I could relax.
Question: Why do you travel? Where is your vacation spot? Please share your favorite travel experience with me in the comments below. I’d love to read them!