I travel to experience difference.
I want my heart to pound with exhilaration. To swell and beat against my body. I want to instinctively hold my breath. I want to feel fear.
On the Big Mountain in Whitefish, Montana, I held my breath and pushed off the 6,817 ft. summit. My skis foreign under me. It had been years since I had downhill skied. I worked to tilt my skis onto their edge, providing the resistance I needed to slow down. Juan Jose’ and Crystel’s ski lessons from when they were four rose in my memory, “Pizza, Mama. Pizza.” I pizzaed and french fried down the mountain.
My first step off the summit, had the same feeling as jumping off a cliff the height of a 3-story house into Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
Ultra Extreme zip- lining, flying over and through the jungle of Guatemala, jumping out of a plane in Wisconsin, and bungee jumping off the historic suspension bridge in New Zealand, where bungee jumping began are not things I need to do again. Nor is parasailing.
Never say never. I can imagine the kids wanting me to join them and there I’ll go again.
I travel to experience awe. Awe-inspiring landscape, whether it be in Montana, Guatemala, or the ocean is a feeling I want to hold onto forever. I want to breathe in what I’m seeing so deeply that I never lose my sense of wonder. I experience a connection with something greater.
Hiking along ancient paths in Sedona, the Upper Mayan Trail in Guatemala, and the Badlands provides a profound sense of being with the ancients whether it is the Yavapai of Sedona, the Kachekel Mayans of Guatemala, or the paleo-Indians of the Badlands. I can envision the singular, winding, upwards path of those who came before us, shouldering their belongings, carrying their infants, moving towards shelter.
When I travel, I often learn something new about myself or come to a deeper understanding.
It was in Destin, Florida strolling towards sunrise on the fine soft white sand, that it came to me: I feel most alive walking into the wind. That I create the world I live in. That right now, this moment, came to be because of all the choices that I have made before.
Family travel, sharing adventures, having others hold their breath in awe and fear are joys. The best thing Jody and I can give our children is the world in their palm and a passion for new experiences. Then, they too, can cultivate new and lasting relationships with the world and those around them.
We are planning a family trip to Japan in 2020. Crystel is organizing our travel plans. She is teaching herself Japanese. Juan Jose’ will also be traveling to Germany with his German class.
Travel is fulfilling. Rejuvenating. A time to take stock. Stretch boundaries. And, if you plan it right, to hold your breath.