This week I've been preparing for an interview with my new friend Zanny, owner of Zanur Travel and the Fearless Female Traveller Facebook Group. I'll be sharing about How Traveling Makes It Real based on the five points below.
1. Visiting a place makes it real!
No matter how many photos or documentaries I'd seen, nothing prepared me for the vastness and beauty of the Grand Canyon. I was completely awed at the sheer magnitude of this natural wonder. After spending a day hiking along the South Rim Trail, this place is much more real to me than it was when I'd only read about it or seen photos taken by someone else.
While we can learn a lot by reading and studying history, actually visiting historical sites helps us remember and understand even more about the past. Before we visited Gettysburg a few years ago, I read The Killer Angels, a well-researched fictionalized account of the Battle of Gettysburg, and we watched the Gettysburg movie. However, when I stood on the actual battlefield, it seemed so much more real and it was easier to comprehend how that battle became one of the bloodiest engagements of the Civil War.
2. Traveling increases the real enjoyment we get from reading or watching movies or TV shows.
For example, after we visited New York in 2007, there were a slew of end-of-the-world movies set in New York City. It was so FUN to see the camera pan by places we'd just visited. And when Tony Stark sat down by the box of pizza Obadiah brought him from New York (in the Iron Man movie), we both recognized the box and our mouths watered wishing for a slice of Famous Ray's pizza.
3. Real experiences give us better understanding.
After visiting large cities like New York and London, I have a greater appreciation of the challenges and conveniences of public transportation. Before those trips, it was difficult for me to imagine not owning and driving my own vehicle wherever I lived. However, having mastered the intricacies of subway and bus and train schedules in several cities and countries, I now have a real understanding of how others live and get around in those areas. (Well, maybe saying that I "mastered" public transportation is taking it a bit far . . . since there was that time that I got on the right subway train in New York . . . but it was going in the wrong direction!)
4. Visiting other countries (and even other states!) gives us a FRESH perspective on different cultures.
When I accompanied Robbie on a business trip several years ago, we visited a small town in Italy and discovered that all the restaurants close after lunch and don't reopen until dinner time! This was quite an unfortunate predicament when we arrived at our hotel tired and hungry at 2:30 in the the afternoon. (Fortunately, the hotel chef whipped up a few sandwiches to tide us over and the manager had a complimentary fruit tray sent up to our room.) Earlier on that same trip, we spent a week in Moscow, Russia, where I entered a whole new world for me - one where English was not the predominant language. Luckily, our pastor here in Texas knew a pastor in Moscow and they arranged for one of the English-speaking Moscow church members to be our tour guide the day Robbie was not working.
5. Traveling develops real friendships!
In the digital always-connected world we live in, we often develop friendships with people we've never met in person. Over my eight years of blogging, I have come to know other bloggers from around the world. We read about each other's lives and leave comments and send emails and even exchange (often handmade) Christmas cards. But it's even more FUN when we finally get to meet in person. Over the years I've met up with Cheri (in Texas and Pennsylvania) and Karen (in New York) and Ginger (in Edmonton). And on our Europe trip a few months ago, I finally met four of my overseas blog friends (Ruth, Becky, Jacky & Missus Wookie) in person for lunch in London! We had a fabulous time - it was just like sitting down with old friends for a long overdue get-together.
I also got to meet-up with a group of ladies from The Sheerah Network Facebook group! A huge thank you goes out to Naomi Aidoo, coach & teacher for purpose-driven female Christian leaders & entrepreneurs, who specially coordinated this event with our travel schedule! (In fact, Zanny met up with Robbie and I earlier that day and we enjoyed lunch and several hours of sightseeing, which I'll share about in a future post.)
Yes, you see, traveling really does make it FRESH and real!