There’s nothing like that feeling of stepping off the plane, off the train, out of the car. You take a second to breathe in your surroundings. You’re in a new place. Even if it’s somewhere you’ve been dozens of times. The place has changed. You’ve changed. You’re on your way to new adventures. To meet new friends. To meet up with old friends. To explore things you’ve dreamed of but never seen. To return once again to your favorite spots in the world.
It’s that feeling that keeps us traveling. Locals welcome us into their homes. They show us where they’ve invested their hopes and dreams, the places they’ve built their lives. We escape our own for a bit, but we connect with others; we experience a different way of life if only for a brief time. It helps us understand both how different our lives are and how similar they are. We break bread with strangers and in that moment we become family.
Those moments stick with us the rest of our lives. Other moments that take our breath away do too. Majestic creatures in their natural habitats dash or waddle past us, barely paying us any mind as they go in search of their next meal. Mountain peaks rise above the mist, greeting the first rays of a new day. These things occur as they have every day from time immemorial. They remind us how much there is to see and how fleeting our opportunities to see it all are.
We witness traditions that have been passed from one generation to the next, forming a bridge to the past. We stand in the same room as the most celebrated works of art and see them up close, for ourselves. We are changed again. We come home full of wonder and memories and we can’t wait to chase that feeling once more. To go back out, to see something new.
Travel might be complicated these days, but we love it just as much as we always have. We appreciate it more because we realize we had been taking it for granted. We strive to preserve the places we love so our descendants can enjoy them as we have, so the people who live in those places can lead happy and prosperous lives, so that we all can take part in our shared human heritage. Travel makes us better people. It makes us part of a community much greater than ourselves. It makes our big occasions memorable and the littlest moments indelible. It doesn’t even have to be to the ends of the earth. It can be the next city, the next state over.
Travel transforms us again and again. That’s why we still love it. That’s why we always will.