So, the World did not end. And although I feel a little bit wobbly from the excesses of Christmas, I’m still standing.
The start of a year is a good time to reflect on the past year, clear the slate and plan for the coming year. So what have I got planned? But before I start thinking of destinations, ticking things off my list, I’ve been thinking about trying to answer the question: “What is travel and adventure?”
My immediate reaction would be to say it’s about climbing every mountain, fording every stream, following every rainbow… Hang on. I think I’ve just had a Christmas movie flashback. Truthfully though, I am the type of person to tick off lists. Just ask my husband. But I’m also the type of person who likes to challenge myself, not to be better than anyone else, just to see if I can do it and build confidence. So let’s take that as a starting point.
Answer no 1: Travel and adventure help you to build confidence.
I’ve visited 48 countries in four decades. In case you’re wondering there are around 200 countries. It’s almost impossible to say how many exactly – as soon I research the number, someone declares independence, or the United Nations ratifies another application. The point is that borders change, but patriotism doesn’t, and that’s why borders change. The only constant in this is that borders will continue to change. How people respond to their environment is an investigation in itself. Why do people live where they do? This is a question that can only be answered by overlaying different perspectives and asking questions. The answer may be historical, geographic or political. But is always fascinating. In one trip I’ll learn about how the Kiribatis survive on the remote Pacific islands, and on another excursion I’ll learn why the Hisatsinom homes cling to the Mesa Verde cliffs in the US.
Answer no 2: If the World is a jigsaw, travel and adventure help you to understand how to put the jigsaw together.
That seems to be a pleasing balance. One answer is about the traveller and the other is about the destination. The Yin and Yang of travel: complementary and interconnected.
I didn’t have to travel far to have this theory tested though. My two little girls don’t travel and explore with the predetermined agenda of an adult. We drag them around with us. But adventure is another matter. The meaning was reflected in my three year-old’s face as she casually cruised by me on her scooter (a little bit cocky for my liking, which is probably why she crashed). It was also reiterated in the face of my five year old as she wobbled on her new bike without stabilisers. For my children, these experiences were about what they could do in their surroundings. So maybe that’s the final answer that ties these musings together:
Answer no 3: Travel and adventure is about learning something new – about you and your environment.
Happy New Year and happy travelling. This year I’m looking forwards to country cottages in the UK, remote tropical island beaches, an African adventure – and a reinforced bank balance.