Travel is more than the seeing of sights. It’s more than walking the streets, eating the food, doing the activities that brings tourists to a place.
In the case of my most recent trip to Boston, Massachusetts that would be strolling through Boston Commons, eating clam “chowd-ah”, seeing a Red Sox game at Fenway, and navigating American history at Bunker Hill or another stop along The Freedom Trail.
More than all that, what is the importance of travel? Why do we travel? What can we learn from traveling?
On the surface, travel breaks routine.
Travel is a brief escape from the day-to-day monotony of work, family, household chores, and the business of being a human.
But diving deeper, travel questions routine.
And, therefore, travel changes everything; our perceptions, our worldview, our habits and behaviors.
As we see life being lived differently in other parts of the world (near and far) there’s no doubt that we can peel back the layers on our own programming from society, and make more conscious decisions about what we want from our lives.
I went to Boston to visit my brother, his girlfriend, and his dog. You’ll see (below) two of them hiking just outside of Boston in what looks like FernGully! You remember the 1992 flick about the last rainforest, right?
Historically, Boston Massachusetts is the birthplace of the American Revolution and the spirit of independence.
Personally, this same spirit of independent thinking came full circle for me during this recent trip to Boston.
While I am always immensely grateful for the opportunity to be housed and shown around by locals, and their generosity in doing so (gratitude over everything, right?), I believe it is just as important to have some solo time to wander, to reflect, and to be fully present in the place.
It’s easy to get lost in conversation with friends and family when traveling together. While the laughter and company is memorable, making time for quiet reflection is just as integral to traveling.
You don’t have to travel solo to do this, you do just have to create some space for this by making time for yourself when traveling with friends and family.
You can do this by staying an extra couple of nights. Or by breaking away for a morning to walk aimlessly, leisurely sip a coffee at a café, or visit a museum where you don’t feel the pull to keep up with someone else.
My personal favorite activity is to find a lush little bar or restaurant with an outdoor patio (plants and nature is crucial for me) where I can savor a glass of wine… or two, journal, and people watch for hours.
They key here is to remove distractions by removing outside influences like our phones and other people. This way you can be present in the place and the moment.
Look around. Observe the buildings, architecture, types of food and restaurants. What street art is happening, is there someone painted in metal or someone playing the violin to a 50 Cent song. Watch families play and couples hold hands, and reflect on what feels true to you.
When you are not consuming content from emails, social media, or conversations you will have some really interesting thoughts. Guaranteed.
In addition to these flashes of insight, for me personally, I know at some point, my heart swell with overwhelming gratitude for the ability to travel to experience life in this new place.
By removing the distractions - of other people and technology - and instead focusing on your own awareness, true growth can occur. And dare I say it… revolutionary revelations leading to a more independent life, free from the ideals imposed on you from external sources.
Here are some pictures of my trip to Boston, most of which were taken on my solo day delightfully meandering around the city - all by myself.
A staircase inside the Boston Public Library. Casual…
My brother and his dog (pictured above) while hiking in just the average little forest trail… which blew my mind being from California and living in the desert of San Diego for a decade!
GLOW Public Art Exhibit on the Greenway, Boston, Massachusetts (above).
Old meets new in Boston. Trinity Church founded in 1733 (pictured above) surrounded by modern buildings and a farmers market.
Again old meets new (pictured below) at The Old State House built in 1713 which once housed government offices of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and today is home to museum and interactive tour. It is where “Independence was Born” and is located on the Freedom Trail.
So, how can you harness some of the revolutionary essence into your own life?
Don’t be afraid to make room for a little “you” time.
In those moments of solitude, choose to be open to new experiences and new conversations with new people that inevitably arise while traveling.
Let the newness be a thought trigger, allowing you to fully dive deep and question the nature of your own reality.
I won’t tell you what I got out of my trip, specifically, that’s not the point here.
The point here on Sapphire & Elm Travel is to encourage you to break routine, to question routine, and get out of your comfort zone in order to learn a little more about the world and about yourself.
Want to visit Boston or another area of the U.S. (or the world) but not sure where to start?
Contact us to help you plan an unforgettable and personal trip anywhere in the world.