Why is it so many are interested in where we went on vacation and how it was? They, too, want to escape. Will this escape be better than their last one, assuming they had a last one? What are the pros and cons?
Wherever we stay, we often want new experiences – different people, food, streets, trees and bodies of water. But we also need a feeling of safety, a retreat within our retreat where we can hang out while we absorb our new location.
A protected balcony or courtyard, a quiet, shady spot for relaxing and enjoying a meal, a morning muffin with coffee, a lunch of local cheeses and fruit, a casual dinner of freshly caught fish and harvested vegetables.
Before I went on my first long trip to Europe with my sons, my boss had some words of advice. He was excited for me and happy to recount his trip with his wife, but he also added: “Remember, the word travel originates from the old French word travail.”
Travel is work. It is pleasant and liberating, but it also requires vigilance, thinking about everything we do, from where to walk and eat to how to pay for goods and services in foreign currency. Even listening to a tour guide or walking around a museum requires more attention and thinking than our daily drives to work or the grocery store on auto pilot.
And, as with any challenge met, any task successfully completed, a trip to a new location, new travels, new travails, can leave us feeling upbeat. We’ve accomplished something and feel as good as after exercising, but with better scenery.
If we’re lucky or wise, we can also bring some scenes and retreats home to become part of our regular lives, indoors and out.