Most of us have a choice when we decide to leave home and go somewhere new. We have choice on where we go and what we do, how we get there and where we stay when we are there. I usually try not to place people in categories or create opposition where there doesn’t need to be, but we do get different versions of the same question a lot: Is there a difference between going on a vacation/holiday and traveling? I don’t want to get into when someone is a tourist or a traveler or right and wrong ways to move around. I want to avoid classing people or creating unnecessary boundaries that we can then argue over.
All that being said, there are different types of trips, and within those different styles there tend to be certain types of people who share some commonality. Some travel and some opt to go on holidays and some choose to do both. It is always good to be able to understand what works for you and what type of travel you like to partake in. It also is worth while to decipher what each of those words mean. Keep in mind there are many different ways to define them, this is just our way of looking at it and how we speak about ourselves and to others.
In general if you are looking for relaxation, comfort, and not have to do too much thinking about what you are doing then you are looking for a holiday. It is not meant to be emotionally, physically, or spiritually challenging. It is meant to help you unwind. You probably pick one or two places you want to visit and do very little moving around, which is exactly the point of this type of trip. Maybe this means sitting under an umbrella on a beach, cold umbrella drink in hand, catching up on a good book and some sunshine. Maybe this means renting a beach house in Bali or Thailand and enjoying some peace and quiet in a beautiful setting. Beaches are not the only place to holiday. You can do this in cities as well. Perhaps you spend your holiday strolling leisurely through the streets, enjoying good food and checking out the historic sites. Something low stress, low effort, but enjoyable all the same.There is great value in this type of trip, something that everyone needs from time to time to get a reprieve from our busy lives. The holiday is a great way to recharge and catch up on that elusive rest we all don’t get enough of.
To us, travel is something different. When we choose to travel we are choosing to push ourselves outside of what is comfortable and familiar. We are purposefully placing ourselves in spaces and situations that will challenge our bodies, our minds, and our points of view. What that means is different for every person and we each have to assess what that is for us. It is about what works for you personally and what is going to create an opportunity for personal growth and transformation through travel. For Tanner and I we tend to push ourselves pretty hard. Whether that means visiting Mongolia in the dead of winter, trekking for weeks through the mountains of Nepal without showers, immersing ourselves in the land and people in the Patagonian backcountry, or singing and dancing with the Maasai in a remote village in Kenya. For us these experiences push our boundaries and in turn alter our sense of self and our sense of the world around us. For you this may look different, and that is ok. The goal is to dive deep into the place you are visiting and immerse yourself in the culture, food, language and life. It is to walk away with feeling connected to those around you, the place you visited and possibly having a new outlook of the world around you. This form of travel is not for everyone and we get that, but what we hope is that everyone gives it a try at least once. Our hope is that you will take the leap and do something outside your comfort zone, because beyond that imaginary boundary is a whole new world of possibilities and understanding.
It also doesn’t happen overnight, so be patient with yourself. For Tanner and I our first trip out of the country was to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, a beautiful place but not the most rugged trip we have ever done. We had fun, but I definitely remember feeling somewhat empty. That desire for more lead us to our next trip shortly thereafter. We went to East Africa for a few weeks to volunteer and that is when the tides turned. Looking back we made some mistakes for sure on that trip, but we left that experience seeing the world in a different way, understanding that imaginary lines on a map or just that, imaginary. That when we put ourselves out there and push ourselves, that the world is really a beautiful place with amazing people.
The thing to remember most is that when you leave behind comfort, leisure, and familiarity sometimes that people all over the world want to share their stories, love opening their homes and want to know about you as well. What is home like for you? What do you think about your president? What are your dreams for your children or family? You come to find that we share hopes and desires, that we all want the same thing for our loved ones and our communities. Let me tell you, once you have this type of experience you can’t really go back to another way of traveling. What you can gain from this is too enriching in ways you could never imagine. So I ask this? What are you seeking? Are you open to what you might find?