Friday, June 1, 2012

Inspired to travel

I’m guest-posting today at HJ Underway to kick off Momma Expat’s Living in France series. HJ and family moved here less than a year ago, and HJ’s Momma’s posts often resonate with me as a relative newbie to France myself. I think this series will be a great resource for expats and future-expats alike, and I hope you’ll click over for a visit today as well as in the future to join in this expat forum.

HJ’s Momma also tagged me recently in the “Holidays Inspiration Initiative.” Although I’m not a resident of Great Britain and therefore not eligible for any of the Easy Jet prizes, I thought the topic was a great opportunity for reflection, as well as a break from blogging about our recent travels.

“Who, what, where and when” they ask. "My inspiration to travel, travel that has been inspirational." They might as well have added "insert ramble here..."

Who? My two sons. Mikus and Lauris have changed the world of travel for me. It used to be much simpler, I could pack my backpack and disappear into the woods for a week without a second thought. I dreamt of backcountry trips, some which I’ve experienced (Isle Royale and Pictured Rocks National Seashore), some that have been postponed (Boundary Waters and the Appalachian Trail). But now I have these two little guys with all these accessories and needs! The water filtration system has been replaced by sippy cups, the tent exchanged for gîtes and hotels, and mode of travel mostly consists of car instead of foot. I miss those days of freedom, but I also know there will be more once the boys grow a little. And I’m very busy enjoying traveling as a family, seeing our destinations through the eyes of a mother instead of “serial backpacker.” Traveling with kids is hard, but not impossible, and each age provides its own challenges. I hope to instill in Mikus and Lauris a love for travel and the outdoors, a respect for different cultures, and a thirst to experience the world that can never be sated. 

Isle Royale, MI, USA

What? My inspiration to travel comes from many sources. Sometimes I will read a book and find new places to add to my list, other times a picture or story from a friend will provide the encouragement. However, some of my favorite destinations have been a result of travel elsewhere. I like to plan having a start and finish in mind, constructing the trip within the frame of available time. A map, a book or two, a few phone calls and and our itinerary will be set. The best part about this method is that we find joy in travel whether it be to a world-famous destination or a nearby park. And part of the happiness comes from traveling itself, the excitement and anticipation of what the destination might have in store for us.

Oregon, 2006

Where? While working as a wildland firefighter my travels brought me to Puerto Rico, Texas, California, Florida and corners of the United States that were on fire. As a girl scout, and later girl scout leader I traveled to forests in Ontario, Massachusetts, New York and Michigan (plus quite a few more) that were not on fire. As a Latvian I traveled to various cultural festivals across the US, Canada and to Latvia. While in Germany I experienced travel abroad without my parents for the first time. It was on a road trip to a New Year’s party I met my husband, and on a day trip that we were engaged. While traveling with that fiancée in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria I saw Petra, the Dead Sea and Beirut but I truly believe I was thirsty the entire time. We traveled to our wedding as well; the destination was closer to all our relatives. And as a married couple traveling in Arizona and California we grew used to the idea that I was pregnant and our lives were about to change yet again. The best part about all this travel is that with each trip I take, with each city, state, country I cross off the list, I add two more.

Syria, 2009

When? This time spent as an expatriate has given me the gift of accessibility. The door to cities I had read about for years such as Paris, Venice, London and Barcelona have been opened. Even better, living here I’ve discovered places I might never have read/heard/seen had we not moved here, like Carcassonne or Bergen. On the other hand, my love of travel started long ago, with those hours spent in the car on my way to my grandparent’s farm in Wisconsin or on my way to summer camp in Michigan. With those flights to visit my other set of grandparents in New York, or family in Toronto and Seattle. Final answer though, is that the most important travel has yet to take place; I’ve so much to show my sons, so many destinations yet unseen.

Whether by plane, train or automobile: by kayak, canoe or yacht: by foot, by bus or by semi: to the corner, across the country or across the world: I wish each one of you safe travels and dreams of those places in the world you will one day visit. Bon voyage!

1 comment:

  1. The first time we took Nathan with us on a trip he was 4 months old and I thought we were insane. Now I love traveling with both kids and I hope that they will learn to love it as they keep growing and learning new things.


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