Although travel is often arduous, it has the capability to be really invigorating. Travel is meant to refresh both the body and the spirit.
I travel seldom. Often, when I do, it is for a specific reason such as a conference. Nonetheless, it gives me perspective on the destination and on home. I also learn things about myself. Here is a sampling of my insights from a recent trip to Stanford Medx.
- I worry before a trip and invariably come to find that my worries were largely unfounded.
- Every time I travel, especially the day I’m supposed to depart, I'm reluctant to leave home and have strong feelings of missing home. However, by the time I change planes, I am very glad I went and I get excited for the destination. Toward the end of the trip, I'm anxious to depart, and love arriving at home.
- I romanticize my destinations yet ultimately find that they, like all places, have advantages and disadvantages.
- I sleep more when I am not at home since I do not engage in the endless list of things to do at home.
- I feel better when I sleep more as many people have told me I would.
- I am becoming increasingly selective about what I eat. I am therefore becoming more careful about bringing food, especially snack foods, with me.
- I am more determined than before about finding new ways to keep up on my workout while I travel.
- I drink more and hydrate better when I am away and I feel better because of it.
- I am still reserved at the beginning of a big interactive conference. I then realize partway through the conference that there is no reason not to approach anybody, including the main speaker, that I find interesting. When I do approach people with reasonable points or questions, they are uniformly receptive and share generously.
- I never bring enough business cards. And in a related vein, my business cards are boring. I need some new ones.
- I sometimes get the “ I am not worthy“ feeing when I meet people of towering brilliance and accomplishment. It does not take me too long to realize that this is a waste of energy. However, it still happens. Thankfully, this feeling does not paralyze me, and it makes me want to do more. These negative feelings are eclipsed by my gratefulness at getting to meet such people.
- I am afraid of “ losing” the cool people I meet on my trips, so I have become more thorough about getting their complete contact information, often including pictures. The funny thing is, everyone else seems to be doing the same thing.
- I used to disdain Twitter, but now I get it. I don’t know if this was one of the original intended uses, but I quickly learned to do as others were doing and tweet out key points from the lectures, including helpful hashtags and relevant twitter handles. The twitter stream from the sometimes concurrent presentations in one conference could thus be shared by all who were interested, regardless of what presentation they attended or, regardless of whether they were present at the conference at all. I was enthralled by the idea that we were creating a crowdsourced collective impression of the conference available live in the twitter sphere.
- When I travel to places where I have lived before, I feel a pleasant sense of continuity from past to the present. I also get a sense of longevity, as though life is reasonably long, and that you are free to do many different things over the decades.
Traveling inspires me to do more and be more. It makes me appreciate both home and the destination better. If I go back in time by going back to a place I’ve lived before, I gain understanding and compassion for my younger self.
Traveling can be expensive and challenging to arrange. However, I believe that it is worth it.
Here are some older posts I wrote about travel: