What Traveling Has Taught Me

By Joanna Grey Talbot

This gigantic, magnificent, overwhelming world is full of wonder and beauty and mystery and I will never be able to see it all. Yet, that will not deter me from trying my hardest to do so. Traveling has taught me so much about myself, the people around me, and the world that we all share.

1. If you don’t feel like traveling alone, you can always find a travel buddy.

My trips have been a variety of solo, pair, and group, but I am grateful that I have never had to look far for someone to experience it with me. We all need our alone time but so many trips have been made sweeter by the people I was with.

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2. We all have a lot more in common than we think we do.

Everyone who loves to travel is looking for the same things: adventure, rest, beauty, escape, and new experiences. We may find them in different ways or in different places but at the heart of it we are all the same.

 

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My weekend retreat at the Old Waterstreet Inn in Winchester, Virginia

 

3. Beauty is all around you. You just have to look for it.

No matter where you are, we are surrounded by beauty. Maybe you don’t like the architecture of the city you’re in, but the couple holding hands on the subway platform brings a smile to your face. Maybe the small town you stopped in to fill up for gas does not have a coffee shop (my #1 nightmare) but the attendant who rings up your bottled water and Combos (my #1 travel snack – don’t knock ’em ’til you try ’em) asks you where you’re headed and strikes up a conversation. Always take at least a few minutes to step outside of yourself and your wishes/needs and see what or who is around you.

 

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Wisconsin countryside

 

4. You can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it.

As cliché as it sounds, Wayne Gretzky was right – “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” How can you say you will fail at something if you don’t try? In high school I was given the opportunity to travel to Italy with my school but I knew my parents couldn’t afford it. They had sacrificed so much for me and my brothers already but I still wanted to see if I could make it work. I participated in the fruit sale at school and got a part-time job to earn my spending money. By some miracle I was able to travel to Italy and in spite of rampant anxiety, which set in when we arrived, it was the trip of a lifetime.

 

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Awkward, anxious 16-year-old me throwing my coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome

 

5. Don’t let your fears and anxieties keep you from amazing experiences.

Most people who know me well know that I get nervous about talking to strangers and can get anxiety from the smallest things. I have been known to pick a check-out line at the grocery store by seeing which cashier is the least talkative. I’m horrible. Needless to say, my anxious, introverted side can get uncomfortable when I’m traveling but I do my best to ignore it because too many times in my past I have let myself miss some amazing experiences because of fear or anxiety. Those situations are when I have to remind myself of points number two and four.

 

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The only solo traveler on the harbor tour of Milwaukee but what a fun experience it was! Windy, but fun.

 

6. Trying something new may seem scary but it could change your life.

That scary, new thing could be traveling solo for the first time or singing karaoke or not booking your hotel ahead of time and picking one when you arrive or eating at a restaurant you may not typically choose. Every time you travel try to experience something new at least once. Trust me, it’s worth it!

 

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Hiking the La Chua Trail in the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in Gainesville, Florida. Yep, those are alligators and no, I did not zoom in.

 

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5 thoughts on “What Traveling Has Taught Me

  1. Lovely, insightful story, Sweetie. Hope you get to travel everywhere you want. James loved his trip to Cuba.

    Love, Aunt Kathi

    Like

  2. This is a wonderful post! It was such a revelation when someone showed me that making sure to stop at random places along the way and taking scenic routes was kind of the point in life. Traveling alone is also wonderful because you wander at your own pace, which I have come to love.

    It was fun traveling to small towns and roadside attractions in Florida with you and I hope that now that I’m moving to Virginia we could meet up and explore someplace between Charlotte and Blacksburg. Anyway, happy trails!

    Liked by 1 person

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