I bet it’s not hard to remember the best vacation you have ever been on? If you could book today where would you go next? What was your favorite part of the last truly terrific meal you ate? Do you wish that you could eat like that more often? I love to travel because you get to visit great places, eat awesome food & just take the culture in! We always come home ready to travel more, right? Me too! While I am fortunate to travel full-time now, traveling often is definitely not how I was raised (you know, we weren’t traversing the country in a sparkly, colorful gypsy family caravan). No, we were actually quite stationary. We didn’t even take many family vacations, though I remember vividly the ones we did. Travel, especially with families, can be hard to swing financially but often coordinating schedules is difficult too. So, we just concede. Next year, right? I think that was the case with my family growing up and when I had my own kids I know we had the same obstacles.
Today I won’t be addressing the “how to’s” of traveling on a budget, but it can be done. Many people make it happen. My message today is -it’s all about our priorities. So much of what we do in life really is about our priorities. We are our choices. I know that living in a motor home & traveling the country isn’t for everyone, but I want to give you my top five reasons to make travel more of a priority now, even if you haven’t in the past. Whether you just travel on weekends, for vacation, or if it IS your dream to travel full-time like we do, I hope that you will follow our journey & be inspired to just get out there & travel as much as you possibly can!
1. Travel is FUN …Right?
This may seem kind of obvious at first. The idea, the anticipation, the planning, the packing & finally GOING! It’s all fun, right? Well, okay, I will give you that depending on the situation ALL of these elements are not always fun. I mean I have taken business trips that were just inconvenient for my life at the time & I have planned the “perfect family vacation” with three children under ten! I know that there is a lot of work, money, & stress involved. . . but I also know that once we are there & we are removed from what we see & do every day, inevitably, fun starts to creep in! It’s fun to eat at a new restaurant, it’s fun to pitch a tent by a campfire with s’mores. It’s fun to ‘click-click’ our way to the top of Magic Mountain only to hold our breath as we whiz down & burst out laughing. It’s fun to hike through the badlands with your kids. It’s all FUN. I know your version of fun is out there too & I believe we all need to travel as much as we possibly can as often as we possibly can. Fun WILL happen.
2. Travel Frees our Minds & Relieves Stress
Who doesn’t need more of these two things. Right? When I think of the first thing people usually say when they are just on stress overload it seems to be, “I really need a vacation!” When we travel we typically get more rest or are at least more relaxed. The health benefits of taking a trip for our physical & mental health are exponential. According to an online article (on Lifehack written by David K William) two of the five reasons he gives for travel benefiting our health are
Traveling helps you manage stress and negative emotions… by removing us from environments and activities that are the sources of our stress. We are more compassionate with ourselves and others vacationing—especially when we escape near the water. He explains: “Often associated with feelings of awe and wonder, water can boost our empathy and compassion, our connection to ourselves and those we are with, and for many … it’s a steady source of creativity and insight”.
ALSO he states that
Traveling reduces the chance of depression. Our modern lifestyles, characterized by ‘constant busyness’ lead to the stress, irritability and negative effects on our productivity, efficiency and well-being many of us lament. Dr. Margaret J. King writes ” …Humans thrive on novelty, she adds, and travel offers the complete package with new faces, sounds and sights. We feel happier, well-rested and more energized when we get back from a vacation”.
So, there you go! It’s kind of like doctor’s orders, my friend!
3. Smart People Crave Knowledge
Now, this one is a little more me & less science, but I still think it’s a theory that has merit. Since we started traveling full-time, I feel like my quest for knowledge is renewed! I have always liked school & reading & learning but let’s face it, we all get in ruts & feel like we are in robot mode where we just have data fed in & then we spit it back out! We go through daily life in a routine rut. It dulls our senses a bit.
We all have a natural thirst for knowledge. I know we also all thirst to know more about different things; things that are interesting to us as an individual unique persons. Travel feeds this! My husband enjoys watching sports, learning about world history & historical discoveries and he loves finding
really upbeat social settings that have good music to just hang out at & soak in the culture. I enjoy finding farmers markets, local art & a good small ‘joint or dive’ to have a good bite to eat & local beer! I could also get lost in a good book store, (you know, the rare ones that aren’t chains) that happens to be next door to a good coffee shop. I would be golden… ALL day. My husband would not be there with me.
G.R. & I have many similar interests but also many different ones. I am sure as you read this, you can think of ways that travel lends itself to our these interests & active ways we can learn so much when we follow our interests!
What things do you LOVE that you just don’t get enough of? Where would you travel to get more of those things? Lately, I am enamored with finding out as much as possible about the areas we are in. I know a lot ties into my “Chefy-ness” because it’s things like the crops that are grown in the region we are in, the types of cuisine & attitudes about it that I want to know more about, and the food! The food people eat & the how’s ‘n why’s of it’s preparation can tell us so much. I also love historic downtown areas because they are charming & tell a story. I love the connected-differences that exist with many the multi-generation run businesses, old architecture & the marrying of yesteryear with today. There’s always history & stories! Collecting knowledge just happens when you travel. You get to have fun & be smarter; Win-Win!
4. Our World is Changing Daily … So, Don’t Miss Out!
This is so very true. Our planet changes as fires , floods & erosion take place. Cities & towns change as old buildings are replaced by sleek new ones. Important people in our history die & the next generation of movers ‘n shakers are born. We are here for just a ‘blink’ & I think we should soak in as much as we can while we are here.
For us, a big part of our travel is to see parks & be out in nature but I think we often take for granted that these sights will always be there. This isn’t necessarily true. Glacier National Park for one, is one of the most breathtaking places on earth, but in 10 years ALL of the living glaciers will be GONE. Big Sur, California is filled with stunning scenery & epic highway drives, but it is vulnerable to droughts, landslides, and forest fires that are destroying its beautiful landscape. It truly is changing right before our eyes. And Everglades National Park, Florida is among a very small portion of natural sites that are in critical danger…due to water pollution and climate change. These are only a few. What are you waiting for?
5. Travel Helps us Connect
We all want to spend more time together – with our spouse, our kids, our friends & family (well, some of them anyway, right?). As a natural extension of all of the reasons I have already listed, we also get to connect more with people we love. Whether you are with family or friends, traveling together will help you make memories that will last a lifetime. As a child, some of my best memories involve traveling to my grandparents houses every year and traveling to Maine by car one summer. THAT was an awesome experience. When we travel we get to just kick back & relax. We get to know each other in a way that we wouldn’t otherwise. Prior to selling it all to live (& work) from the road, my husband G.R. & I have traveled to the Oregon coast, taken a Halloween cruise with friends. We dressed up as a beekeeper & bees…it was so much fun! I have been to the Ozarks, the Caribbean, Washington & Montana with my kids. We drove to Montana – my two young adult sons, a special dog & us – & I will tell you that the car rides & shared hotel rooms alone gave us moments we still laugh about today! We have great memories that we can cherish forever. We want more. We want more for us & our kids & our friends.
And then, It’s all Because YOLO
As I start Cultivated Journey, some of my biggest hopes are tied to sharing this great country (& its food) with as many people as possible. It all started by the decision to travel. That is perhaps why my first post is about travel. For me, one of the reasons I chose to “get out there” is I had the great fortune of a position as an Executive Chef for BNSF Railways private fleet of business cars for six years. I traveled the country feeding high end meals to executives & VIP’s on vintage rail cars. I often was able to source the ingredients locally in places like Seattle & New Orleans & Galveston. That job was transforming for me because it opened my eyes to this country, all of the wonderful food out there & how many adventures there still are to experience. While I left the job four years ago, (I don’t miss it per se) the desire to travel has never left me. Neither did being a Chef. Cultivated Journey is a expression of not only who I am but of where I have been, and now, where I am going from here. I truly hope that you come with me on this journey.
So, yes, I will leave you with one last (bonus) reason – YOLO!!! If you don’t have the privilege of having had teens a few years ago when this was all of the rage to say, I will help you here. YOLO means quite simply “You Only Live Once”. As it happens historically with every generation, the very things the young people say & do that annoy us ‘older folks’ also are the very things that tend to ring with much more truth & relevance than we want to admit. I used to hear my sons say “YOLO” almost daily, in a sing-song happy but yet factual way. I was often annoyed. Ha! But how youth carries the gift of being carefree & believing that life will be full of grand adventures for them. Some people never lose that zest. That belief guides their life. However, many of us lose that zest but I think it can still be for us – even if it takes us some time to figure it out. So, just choose to do it!!
As one late, great traveling rogue gourmand puts it “Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life – and travel – leaves marks on you. “ – Anthony Bourdain