The (Suit)Case For Travel

I love to travel!

It’s not a surprising sentence to most people, or so I thought.

What was surprising to learn is not everyone feels the same excitement for travel as I do. There is a population in this world that feel it’s overrated, a waste of money. They feel happier staying where they are and that the word wanderlust is just a fancy way to explain people running away from their lives. 

Yes, my dear friends, there are quite few people who actually feel this way. 

Now, before we get judgemental - I’ve become much wiser in my days, trying to understand what the thought process is, rather than crossing my arms and shaking my head - let’s see this through.

One of the big reasons is some people are terrified of flying, and some suffer travel anxiety.

Some just prefer doing a staycation.

The thought process, in theory, makes sense. Rather than surfing the web for the best flight deal, where to stay and finding the ideal vacation spot, (not to mention the actual financial savings by not going anywhere, leaving them to the creature comforts of home, and no hassle of unpacking, laundry, and jet lag from a long flight), sometimes keeping it more simple and easy ultimately makes you the happiest. 

And who am I stop you from that pursuit? 

However, I would argue that wanderlust is far from running from your life.

I feel, instead, with travelling you’re actually living life. I’ve heard many times that “we travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us.”

“We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us.”

I could’t agree more.

It’s about discovering differences in our world, not only learning new experiences, but most of all, meeting new people. And if you’re lucky enough, a chance at new friendships. 

You could be on top of a mountain or on a beach staring out into the blue sea and curling your toes in the warm sand - it’s always a humbling reminder of how small and insignificant your problems are. 

I get these feelings often while on the shores of Cuba.

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I still remind my grown children and my husband to always check the expiry dates on their passports. This always comes up when discussing our next adventure, but did you know that in the United States, just 42% of Americans have valid passports? You’d think Canadians, who are the darlings of world travel, with their reputation of kindness preceding them, would be close to max, but even they check in at just 66%. 

This is not a slight: everyone has their reasons, and there are many, though it’s hard to deny that these figures state that a large number of North Americans would rather stay within their borders. 

I wasn’t always able to travel. Having children at a young age meant those experiences weren’t readily available to me. 

It actually wasn’t until I turned 40 that I was really able to quench my wanderlust.

The last decade has fortunately been my time to explore the world. I’m thankful for every opportunity and memorable experience.

“It actually wasn’t until I turned 40 that I was really able to quench my wanderlust.”

I started off as a snowbird. From October to April, Winnipeg winters are fierce, with temperatures below zero, freezing all day long. In fact, Winnipeg averages 113 days a year below 0°C, dipping to anywhere from minus-30 and colder. Winnipegers, bless their hearts: they lock into a state of mind and usually refer to this stretch as ‘balmy’, or ‘Monday,’ or ‘any day that ends in y’. 

Personally? I would call it cold AF. Call me soft but as the temperatures dipped, that was my cue to bow out and find warmer weather. But hey, it’s still my hometown, and trust me, there’s a ton of cool stuff to keep you occupied in the winter.

If it wasn’t a stop in South Beach to catch a Miami Heat game, it was to soak up the sun in Mexico or Cuba.

At 16, I’d always had a dream of going to Europe, and most of all Italy. Credit romantic movies that made my heart melt, the stunning basilicas, picturesque gondola rides in Venice, and of course: Italian cuisine. 

I set a goal in my 30s on my vision board. By the time I turned 40, there I was, with a backpack about three times larger than me, trekking through Europe. 

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I was fortunate to do a solo trip for two and a half months throughout Europe, with stops in seven different countries: UK, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

Yes, there were the overcrowded museums, I didn’t know the languages and I would get lost from time to time. But rather than get frustrated, each turn was a chance to take in something new, stumbling into places you never would have seen. It was a chance to take it in, in all it’s entirety.

In my travels, I was told several times me how brave a girl I was to be on my own. But it wasn’t something that crossed my mind, as I came across many other solo adventurists.

It was so great to meet new people and to challenge myself to try new things. That was over nine years ago, and I am still connected to my fellow travellers.

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Not only did I learn about people and their different cultures, but I also learned so much about myself.

Had I just stayed back and kept the coin in my savings account, I’m sure there would be a lot of “what ifs” I’d be asking myself today.

This quote comes to mind: “Travel because money returns, time doesn’t.” I have never, ever regretted it.

I believe I’ve grown and appreciate my life even more and, this is a big reason why I live with intention. It was one of the the best investments of my life. 

While I enjoyed traveling solo, nothing beats sharing the experience with your best friend.

The Old Phuket Coffee Station

The Old Phuket Coffee Station

I’m so fortunate my husband’s love for travel is parallel to mine. Although we live in a great city with pockets of diverse neighbourhoods, nothing beats trying pad thai in Thailand, or walking up the stairs to a little blue house in Playa Del Carmen for hand-made gorditas, or finding quaint little coffee shops in sleepy old towns.

As cliche as it may sound, I never get tired of exploring the unbeaten path together. We love reminiscing, and that conversation suddenly leads to what the destination is being featured on YYZ deals.

One my favourite authors is Elizabeth Gilbert, most famously known for her book, Eat, Pray, Love. She explained her love for travel in a Facebook post:

If you are lucky enough or resourceful enough to find a way to break that chain of interchangeable days, try to do it. Try to ignite your years with something different, something that makes you jump the tracks of your daily life and pushes you to taste the new. Try to keep seeking out experiences that cannot be forgotten, even when it would be much easier and much more sensible at times to just stay home. I have filled my mind with stories and encounters and pictures that I get carry around with me to the end of my life.

I have given myself something to remember me by, when I am old. That's why I travel.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. 

If you haven’t travelled yet, here’s hoping you do find your wanderlust.

And if I’m already speaking your language, keep it up! Perhaps we can continue this conversation over sake in Tokyo. See you there.