I love to travel. Anyone who knows me, knows this to be true. If I am in a position where I am unable to travel, I travel around my city. Plain and simple. I am also working on making my lifelong dream of taking an RTW (round-the-world) trip. That is one reason that I am not currently travelling as I am saving my pennies to do this trip. So it with this in mind that I pose this question: Is travelling tangible? I ask this because of a conversation I had with my friend A. Now A doesn’t care to travel. She’s quite happy to go about her day without thinking of what far reaches of the world would be cool to explore or find adventure in. Nor is she akin to flying great distances to relax on a white sand beach to listen to mariachi music while sipping on rum punch. If she wants to go to the beach a visit to the local ones here in Vancouver
will suffice. Perhaps because we share these differing ideas regarding travel that she often asks me “Why do you want to go around the world?” Now I could give a list a mile long of reasons why but the simplest answer would be that I love the world and want to see all that it.
Regardless of how many times I am asked this question from A, she will inevitably ask it again. However, it was after one particular conversation that started with her infamous question that got me thinking. We had decided to go to a cultural festival in Surrey
, just across the river from Vancouver, called “Surrey Fusion Festival”.
A veritable feast of all things foreign, especially food, with over 25 countries and regions represented, live music and environmentally friendly businesses spread out over Surrey’s Holland Park. It was A, myself and our new friend Cynthia, whom we had met early that day. Cynthia was visiting the Vancouver area from Jakarta, Indonesia
and agreed to join us as we went globe-trotting, at least figuratively. I also was able to glean some information about Indonesia from Cynthia as it’s islands are on my RTW itinerary (Java, Flores, Sulawesi to name a few). So after stuffing our faces with tasty ethnic delights, watching a First Nations Pow-Wow, and listening to Indian bangra music, Cynthia parted ways with us to go meet some friends. A and I took a break from the hot summer sun in a shaded area and lounged on the grass. In an attempt to impress A with the joys of travel I told her she now had a friend in Indonesia that she could go visit.
“Yeah, I suppose.” She replied. “I’m sure you’ll be taking her up on her offer to visit.”
“Absolutely! Indonesia is on my list,” I said with a smile as I picked at a blade of grass. “Even better when a local can show me around. So you have no desire whatsoever to go off and see a place you’ve never been?”
“Maybe to visit someone, but that’s about it. I had an interesting conversation with a friend a while ago. She asked me is if I could chose between a trip to, say….Disneyland or a computer, which would I chose? I picked the computer. Because it’s tangible. I can see it, feel it. I can use it. But a trip you can’t. Once it’s over, it’s over.” She shrugged her shoulders and took a sip of her Coke. “That’s how I see it.”
“Though trips give you experiences.” I countered, “And memories.” We both paused for a moment. “I guess I shouldn’t expect that you’d come visit me at one of my exotic locations then?” I inquired.
“Just send me a postcard or two.” she said with a grin while standing up. “Now let’s go see what’s going on at the International Stage.”
Canada & Indonesia
Later that day, as I head home on the Skytrain and gazed out the window to the city below me, I started to think about our previous conversation. Sure materials things are tangible, can be measured for value but aren’t experiences valuable as well? Aren’t they actually invaluable? For all my travels I have memories tied to them. I have experiences, good and bad, that I have taken something from them. I have strengthened friendships through travels. I have had my breath taken away by travels. I have been scared. I have laughed. I have been brave. I can recall an entire range of emotions that I have had on travels. Something, that I am certain most material, tangible items can not provide me with. Sure, I love my creature comforts. I won’t deny it. But when I think of times when I have had to step out of my comfort zone, learn a life lesson or grow closer to someone, it was not a TV, handbag or bedroom suite that did it for me. It was the experience, travel related or not. Experiences become a part of you. They help shape and mold who we become. They become a part of the fabric of our soul. And for me, travelling is one way to gain those experiences. To weave it intricately into my soul. And I love it for that.