Travel is...

This is subscriber only post.
Get one year of online-only access — only $15!
Below is a sample of the article.
Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

ITN asked its readers to write essays on the subject “Travel is. . .” in 250 words or less. Originally, we were going to print only the top five, but your words were so inspiring that we decided to print the top 10 essays. We featured half of them in the February issue. The remaining essays, as before in no particular order, we present below. Thanks to everyone who entered, reflecting on the whole subject of travel and putting such thought and heart into your writing. Again proving ITN readers are the “true” travelers.

— Armond Noble, Publisher, ITN

Travel is one of the best things to happen in my life. It is tastes, sounds, smells, textures; a time and place unlike home. It’s meeting new people, forging new friendships, experiencing new ways of seeing and learning. Travel takes us farther than our private corner of the world and opens up our lives and senses. Without travel we tend to relive sameness every day.

Some people live their entire lives in one place, not only physically but emotionally. Their block becomes their world. Travel offers choices and opens doors to history, culture and understanding. Reading about the pyramids of Egypt is not the same as standing before one. We can buy lace in any department store, but seeing it made in Geneva is quite another experience. Walking through the Vatican or sitting surrounded by the beauty of a temple, synagogue or mosque is thrilling regardless of your religious ideals.

Travel helps us overcome our preconceived ideas about other people and other cultures. It helps us understand how varied the human condition can be and the infinite ways in which people use their imagination and resources to create a life that sustains them.

I travel to see differences and enjoy them. I travel to experience the kaleidoscope of images that make up our world; the peppers, spices and curries of our world. We live in a country of possibilities and have opportunities for travel that many would envy. I travel because without it I would be less than I am.

Daniel T. Brooking, Washington, D.C.

Travel is a mystical experience that spirals you into new dimensions of awe and wonder.

Travel is going there only to discover with amazement that what you see there is often so startlingly different from what your mind imagined.

Travel is getting to a new place and experiencing it with all your senses. Why go there unless you yearn to touch it, hear it, taste it, smell it and see it in its infinite dimensions?

Travel changes you and helps you discover that you can do things you never thought you could do.

Travel compels you to pause in life’s sameness, to venture out beyond life’s familiar boundaries and begin a journey of discovery.

Travel is an experience in perseverance, stretching you in ways you could not have envisioned before you started out.

When you travel, you return home with a changed and renewed vision of the world and its people.

Travel is a celebration of life’s exuberance and of the mind’s wild dreams to leap beyond the ordinary and into a world full of surprises and amazement.

Barbara Butt, Annapolis, MD

Travel is the experience of connecting with the world beyond my community. By traveling, I interact with others and learn about their lifestyles, values and concerns. My mind leaps parochial barriers to greater awareness and tolerance. I am awed and humbled by humanity.

The beauty of landscapes, from cragged waterfalls in the mountains to the silent curves of dunes in the desert, fills me with deep satisfaction. I’m delighted and inspired by people’s creativity in ever so many art forms, by their music and their dance.

I’m energized and motivated by the ways other people approach their political and economic issues, and by their practical, common-sense solutions to life’s problems.

All of these things I could learn just by going to my library, but the impact of place, people and experience profoundly changes me. By being there, I have expanded my knowledge and deepened my appreciation of the world.

Returning home and reflecting on my journeys, I realize that I’m stronger and more confident because I faced and handled the unexpected events, the anxious encounters and the thwarted plans that often happen when traveling.

For me, travel is. . . the yeast in the bread of life.

Carol Horner, Lacey, WA

Travel is. . . three giggling Spanish schoolgirls framed in a 15th-century, bougainvillea-smothered stone archway in Toledo, Spain.

Travel is. . . a late September afternoon in a Mosel vineyard, sunlight filtered as though through bridal netting, crushing late Riesling grapes in our mouths, delighting at their sweet, syrupy texture.

Travel is. . . standing in absolute, arm-pinching awe at a famous European cathedral, Mayan ruin or African natural wonder repeatedly chanting, “Am I really here?”

Travel is. . . marveling at the skills of Swedish glassblowers, dressed in shorts and sandals, magically conjuring their fragile wonders without being burned or gashed. Where’s OSHA?

Travel is. . . the “I Love Lucy” scene in a small Abruzzi inn, translating the menu from English to German to Italian so everyone could eat.

Travel is. . . the intense concentration of a 7-year-old daughter, only her nose, brown eyes and forehead peering over a Giza papyrus-making demonstration table while a young man performs the transformation of reed to paper in front of her amazed eyes. Twenty-three years later she still recites the litany of the process.

Travel is. . . a high, desolate Norwegian mountain plateau where ancient gods flood your every cell with foreboding hostility. “Get out, mere mortal. This is not your place.”

Travel is. . . a Parisian shopkeeper cheerfully opening her hairstyle business for an 8-year-old “lady” who has daily, for an entire week, gazed longingly into the window coveting the latest chic hair accessories.

Travel is. . . coming home with eternal photos in your memory.

Sari Oosta, Gurnee, IL

Be a traveler, not a tourist. Travel to see, not to have seen. There is a difference. When abroad, go as often as you can where curiosity beckons, not where the tourism industry decrees you should go. Serendipity is a valuable travel companion. Unanticipated experiences are often the most memorable. Trips that go exactly as planned aren’t necessarily good trips. Invite adventure.

Gain the full value of travel with intellectual curiosity and inquiry for its own sake. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Sharpen your sense of humility as you come to realize your country does not necessarily set the standard for the rest of the world. Be aware of the fine line between pride and arrogance. Often, formality rather than informality welds lasting social relationships.

Ironically, the American friendly style is not necessarily international. You’ll observe, as Flaubert did, “Traveling makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

Abroad, you’ll come in contact with national pasts much deeper than your own. Make a concerted effort to bond and exchange information with fellow travelers and locals. Tourists often fail to capture the foreign moment because they are busy with dials on a camera, worrying about tipping, being shy of a foreign tongue or, perhaps, insulated by tour guides.

Travel can be anything you want it to be as it broadens your life’s horizon. It keeps your world from narrowing, as you grow older.

Louis R. Bechtel, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

ITN asked its readers to write essays on the subject “Travel is. . .” in 250 words or less. Originally, we were going to print only the top five, but your words were so inspiring that we decided to print the top 10 essays. We featured half of them in the February issue. The remaining essays, as before in no particular order, we present below. Thanks to everyone who entered, reflecting on the whole subject of travel and putting such thought and heart into your writing. Again proving ITN readers are the “true” travelers.

— Armond Noble, Publisher, ITN

Travel is one of the best things to happen in my life. It is tastes, sounds, smells, textures; a time and place unlike home. It’s meeting new people, forging new friendships, experiencing new ways of seeing and learning. Travel takes us farther than our private corner of the world and opens up our lives and senses. Without travel we tend to relive sameness every day.

Some people live their entire lives in one place, not only physically but emotionally. Their block becomes their world. Travel offers choices and opens doors to history, culture and understanding. Reading about the pyramids of Egypt is not the same as standing before one. We can buy lace in any department store, but seeing it made in Geneva is quite another experience. Walking through the Vatican or sitting surrounded by the beauty of a temple, synagogue or mosque is thrilling regardless of your religious ideals.

Travel helps us overcome our preconceived ideas about other people and other cultures. It helps us understand how varied the human condition can be and the infinite ways in which people use their imagination and resources to create a life that sustains them.

I travel to see differences and enjoy them. I travel to experience the kaleidoscope of images that make up our world; the peppers, spices and curries of our world. We live in a country of possibilities and have opportunities for travel that many would envy. I travel because without it I would be less than I am.

Daniel T. Brooking, Washington, D.C.

Travel is a mystical experience that spirals you into new dimensions of awe and wonder.

Travel is going there only to discover with amazement that what you see there is often so startlingly different from what your mind imagined.

Travel is getting to a new place and experiencing it with all your senses. Why go there unless you yearn to touch it, hear it, taste it, smell it and see it in its infinite dimensions?

Travel changes you and helps you discover that you can do things you never thought you could do.

Travel compels you to pause in life’s sameness, to venture out beyond life’s familiar boundaries and begin a journey of discovery.

Travel is an experience in perseverance, stretching you in ways you could not have envisioned before you started out.

When you travel, you return home with a changed and renewed vision of the world and its people.

Travel is a celebration of life’s exuberance and of the mind’s wild dreams to leap beyond the ordinary and into a world full of surprises and amazement.

Barbara Butt, Annapolis, MD

Travel is the experience of connecting with the world beyond my community. By traveling, I interact with others and learn about their lifestyles, values and concerns. My mind leaps parochial barriers to greater awareness and tolerance. I am awed and humbled by humanity.

The beauty of landscapes, from cragged waterfalls in the mountains to the silent curves of dunes in the desert, fills me with deep satisfaction. I’m delighted and inspired by people’s creativity in ever so many art forms, by their music and their dance.

I’m energized and motivated by the ways other people approach their political and economic issues, and by their practical, common-sense solutions to life’s problems.

All of these things I could learn just by going to my library, but the impact of place, people and experience profoundly changes me. By being there, I have expanded my knowledge and deepened my appreciation of the world.

Returning home and reflecting on my journeys, I realize that I’m stronger and more confident because I faced and handled the unexpected events, the anxious encounters and the thwarted plans that often happen when traveling.

For me, travel is. . . the yeast in the bread of life.

Carol Horner, Lacey, WA

Travel is. . . three giggling Spanish schoolgirls framed in a 15th-century, bougainvillea-smothered stone archway in Toledo, Spain.

Travel is. . . a late September afternoon in a Mosel vineyard, sunlight filtered as though through bridal netting, crushing late Riesling grapes in our mouths, delighting at their sweet, syrupy texture.

Travel is. . . standing in absolute, arm-pinching awe at a famous European cathedral, Mayan ruin or African natural wonder repeatedly chanting, “Am I really here?”

Travel is. . . marveling at the skills of Swedish glassblowers, dressed in shorts and sandals, magically conjuring their fragile wonders without being burned or gashed. Where’s OSHA?

Travel is. . . the “I Love Lucy” scene in a small Abruzzi inn, translating the menu from English to German to Italian so everyone could eat.

Travel is. . . the intense concentration of a 7-year-old daughter, only her nose, brown eyes and forehead peering over a Giza papyrus-making demonstration table while a young man performs the transformation of reed to paper in front of her amazed eyes. Twenty-three years later she still recites the litany of the process.

Travel is. . . a high, desolate Norwegian mountain plateau where ancient gods flood your every cell with foreboding hostility. “Get out, mere mortal. This is not your place.”

Travel is. . . a Parisian shopkeeper cheerfully opening her hairstyle business for an 8-year-old “lady” who has daily, for an entire week, gazed longingly into the window coveting the latest chic hair accessories.

Travel is. . . coming home with eternal photos in your memory.

Sari Oosta, Gurnee, IL

Be a traveler, not a tourist. Travel to see, not to have seen. There is a difference. When abroad, go as often as you can where curiosity beckons, not where the tourism industry decrees you should go. Serendipity is a valuable travel companion. Unanticipated experiences are often the most memorable. Trips that go exactly as planned aren’t necessarily good trips. Invite adventure.

Gain the full value of travel with intellectual curiosity and inquiry for its own sake. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Sharpen your sense of humility as you come to realize your country does not necessarily set the standard for the rest of the world. Be aware of the fine line between pride and arrogance. Often, formality rather than informality welds lasting social relationships.

Ironically, the American friendly style is not necessarily international. You’ll observe, as Flaubert did, “Traveling makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

Abroad, you’ll come in contact with national pasts much deeper than your own. Make a concerted effort to bond and exchange information with fellow travelers and locals. Tourists often fail to capture the foreign moment because they are busy with dials on a camera, worrying about tipping, being shy of a foreign tongue or, perhaps, insulated by tour guides.

Travel can be anything you want it to be as it broadens your life’s horizon. It keeps your world from narrowing, as you grow older.

Louis R. Bechtel, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA