Motivations for taking a trip—vacation if you prefer—and where to go, vary all over the map. Mostly they are related to the individual and to one’s desire to get away, to change the environment, or to ignore problems or conditions that exist. To escape the mundane world for a bit.
Ah, but where to go, what to do, what to see? Once again, this decision is personal. For some, just relaxing is the object of the exercise. Chase the sun to Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico – who cares. Just lie on a beach, eat well, and finish the novel. A more anxious person may assemble an educational trip; to the Louvre or the Hermitage, or maybe touring the splendid architecture of medieval castles and churches so predominant in Europe. We can’t rule out nature as a possibility. Wild beasts in Africa, mountain ranges in Switzerland and Argentina, as well as jungle creatures along the Amazon.
Cruise ships and river boats have been tossed into the mix as of late. These vacations reflect a number of motivations and afford the opportunity to shop, visit, and experience a variety of cultures. Here one can move into the lodging once and still visit a large number of cities.
I’ve probably been too general in my overview, so now it’s your turn. What is your motivation—your desire? What do you look forward to? What do you hope to bring back? What stories will you tell to friends on your return? Got yours? Now here is mine.
Barb and I enjoy the freedom of choice. We wander a great deal, spending more time in places and areas we find enjoyable and stopping only briefly in places where we feel uneasy or uncomfortable. Another very gratifying experience for me is communicating with the people who live and work in the areas we visit. Language is often a barrier, but it is human nature to talk, to share, and to explain, especially to visitors to your own area. We love to immerse ourselves in their culture and to hear their stories or observations. If we ask their opinion of Americans, we usually get interesting feed-back. Let me share a couple of my experiences with you.
One conversation which always makes me chuckle was with a Brit well outside of London. He spoke about Americans’ ability or desire to rearrange or adjust tings. This is a near quote.
“Should a group of five Brits enter a theater just as the feature started and see no seats together, they would disburse, sitting separately about the theater. If such an American group arrived they would readjust the entire seating capacity of the theater until they had five seats together in a good location.”
On another occasion we were touring China with a group. We visited the soldiers at Xian and were heading back. We passed through a tiny village, and I asked the tour guide if it was possible to see how the people lived. We stopped, and the guide politely asked the villagers if we could take a look. Overjoyed, they agreed, and we visited a tiny town. Looked in houses, saw where they purchased goods, watched them garden, all with smiles and nods from both visitors and residents.
Once I talked at length with a police officer in a medium-large German city. I spoke of crime and how it manifested itself in the United States, and he shared with me what it was like in his city as well. He spoke of drugs, of gangs, of petty theft, or major corruption. I was surprised how similar his stories were to the things I read here in the states.
I admit being captivated by the wild animals loose outside our safari vehicles in Africa. Also, by the magnificent structures of the medieval churches in Europe, and by their art and sculptures. The mysteries of the Asian continent and their milling throngs of people entrance me. But, it is the interaction with individuals I find the most exciting and interesting as I travel. We humans share characteristics regardless of where we are raised. Deep down we all share the same feelings, the same desires, and the same goals. These features become apparent as I collect Stamps In My Passport.