“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
– Augustine of Hippo
We travel not for the fame or the ‘Likes’ received for the photos from our last trip to Santorini we recently uploaded on Facebook, but for all the things we will discover — about these new hidden places and also about ourselves.
Traveling as a child under the guidance of my parents was no real adventure; there was no having to run with a massive backpack on my back to catch the train to the airport because the airport shuttle would’ve already been booked ahead of time, no need to sacrifice on certain luxuries when it comes to accommodation because the parents’ impeccable standard would take precedence over the price, and no prowling through the city for the cheapest place to eat because budget is not really the primary concern when traveling with my walking bank account.
But when I finally took off on my own I found that I’d actually been missing out on a lot. I never knew I actually had the physical strength to lug a 20kg backpack around half of Europe (for you big, athletic, and fit people out there this may not seem like much, but I am very petite in size and if you meet me in real life you might understand why this is such a big deal for me), and also the mental strength and motivation to carry me from one city to the next in our 12-city Eurotrip that summer. Sure, by the end of week three, I was starting to feel homesick already because I just felt it wasn’t right to be enjoying Europe without my family by my side, but considering this was my first independent backpacking trip, I thought this was quite a satisfying success.
I like to collect mementos from my travels — t-shirts, keychains, fridge magnets, mugs — but then I realized that these souvenirs don’t really last. In fact, the souvenirs that do last are actually ‘souvenirs’ in the original French sense of the word: memories. The ones that you can’t hold in your hand or showcase on your kitchen fridge or your Facebook profile because they’re in the photo albums you keep in your mind. And you’re the only one who can treasure them.
Indeed, who can refute Augustine in his quote above? Traveling is the only thing we spend on that opens our mind and makes us richer, so it is never a waste of time or money. And there is simply not enough time in this world to explore every single corner of this globe, so let’s not waste it.
[Thank you to Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge themed ‘Open’ for the inspiration for this post!]