WHAT TRAVEL MEANS TO ME.
Debbie Ross, founder of the Womens Travel Network
Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of travelling to far off places. Visiting the ancient pyramids of Egypt, seeing elephants in the wild, exploring Rome’s colosseum and India’s Taj Mahal. Travel has a different meaning to everyone – some do it to escape their everyday life, some do it to take the kids on vacation, some do it to find themselves, but not me.
I live to travel – I wanted to make a life of travel. So, I did. When I created the Womens Travel Network I never imagined just how amazing this experience was going to be.
I look back at the past 19 years and am in awe at the places I’ve seen, experiences I’ve had and most of all the amazing people I’ve met along the way.
Travel means freedom, excitement, learning and connecting with others.
Travel to me means getting up at 5 AM to head out on a game drive to view the animals as they awaken. It means getting lost in a city like Paris and learning how to get around on local transportation to find iconic sites and fabulous museums. It means trying to communicate in broken English and being thankful for the locals that are willing to try to understand you. It means learning patience and taking acceptance to a whole new level.
Travel to me means making friends with the locals and respecting their culture. It means trying out a restaurant because someone you met in passing recommended it to you. It means going places to truly explore, not just going places to say you’ve been there. It’s recognizing it’s better to visit one country at a time than try to jam in three.
Travel to me means building relationships with people you never would have met otherwise and treating them like family. It’s trusting people you barely know and putting your faith in the world that things will all work out. It’s having a burning urge to see as much as possible and really live in the moment. It’s helping when you see someone you don’t know struggling and sharing pieces of your heart with them.
Travel to me means getting lost in local markets, admiring the artisan’s handicrafts, and bravely trying new foods. Striking up conversation with those around you and appreciating the tiny treasures in the area you discover. It’s experiencing as many new things as you can. It’s not getting upset when the plane is delayed, or the bus is late and learning how to laugh at the situations you get into.
Travel to me means learning to live in the moment. Enjoying what you have, where you are and who you are with is what matters.
It’s realizing that that happiness comes from freedom.
Freedom to explore, to learn, to heal, to grow intellectually and spiritually. It’s seeing places you’ve always dreamed of with an open mind and heart and a willingness to learn and grow from the experience.
Travel means being happy with a little bit of everything. It’s thrilling and sad, it’s exciting and scary, it’s every emotion wrapped up into a sea of memories and experiences that you wouldn’t trade for the world.
All I want from travel is to bask in the bliss I feel and learn to appreciate every moment life brings me. I want to form relationships that are going to leave me in tears when I’m forced to say goodbye. I want to learn as much as I can from everyone I cross paths with about their culture and lifestyles.
I want to trust that where I am is exactly where I’m supposed to be. I want to look past what’s right in front of me and learn to love the world for all it truly is.
This is what travel means to me – to live fully, to accept others, to learn in every area you can and to allow the world to shape you into the best person you can truly be.
To me, travel is far more valuable than money will ever be.