I met my husband in November 2002 when his family relocated from Simi Valley, California to Texas. They had finally found employment after being laid off from work for several months. Jason and I met, fell in love, and began dating 3 months later. However, I must admit that it took me a few months to warm to his family. They were such nice people, but at times their point of view was so different from mine that I felt like they had moved from a foreign country, not California! They didn’t like the food, thought Texans were friendly but odd, hated the selection of the grocery stores, and complained that there was no scenery in Texas. It made no sense to me at all. I let it go and decided that some people are just like that.
Six months after we were married, Jason took me “back home” to Simi Valley, California for his friend’s wedding. I was 25 years old and taking my very first plane ride. You can image my child-like glee of the clouds, my nervousness when we landed, and my awe of seeing real mountains for the very first time. The California weather astounded me. During our Texas summers, the heat radiates off the buildings and roads causing the nights to stay warm. It doesn’t get cold. While in California the day was warm, but the nights were so cold, at least to me! I couldn’t get over how green and beautiful everything was in southern California, even with the threat of grass fires and earthquakes. Jason took me through the Malibu Mountains, taking the Topanga Canyon Road from Simi Valley west to the Pacific Coast Highway. I was speechless at it’s beauty! We ate fresh fruit from the Farmer’s Market in Santa Monica, walked the 3rd Street Promenade, and rode the ferris wheels on the Santa Monica Pier. Jason’s Californian friends accepted me with open arms, showering us newlyweds with love and attention. I had never experienced such kindness from strangers.
Right before leaving California, Jason took me to see his family’s old neighborhood, and suddenly everything clicked. Looking at his mother’s beautiful landscaped garden, meeting their loving friends, roaming their old stomping grounds- I realized Jason’s family had left their Paradise, and not by choice. I now understood their feelings so much better. All of their complaints were suddenly validated. There was nothing anyone could have said to make me understand this lesson. I had to experience it for myself.
So why should you travel?
- Travel helps you to be more open minded about others points of view, feelings, and lives. You realize there is more than one way of doing things.
- Travelers learn to appreciate the differences of climate, terrain, and culture.
- You gain life experiences, make memories, and learn something new about yourself each time you leave.
- You’re more easily able to understand how things are interconnected.
What I’ve learned from Our Travels
1. I loved people watching in Europe. I saw no sagging pants, no house shoes in the grocery store, and no athleisure. Just people wearing clothing. Nothing glamarous, but nice. Many of the homes were smaller than American homes, but they have everything they need. No clutter. I came home and immediately began to declutter my home. I realized that I don’t need more stuff; but stylish, timeless pieces of good quality. 2. In New York and Paris, we relied on walking and public transportation- subways, trains, Uber, buses, etc. With no car to quickly run back home, we had to plan our day the night before. We checked the weather and packed a backpack or crossbody bag with everything. With not having to run back home we were free to roam and explore both great cities at a leisurely pace. I’ve always given thought to the next day, but not like this! I never realized just how much time I’ve wasted by not throughly planning out the next day. Once we arrived home, I immediately began to pay more attention to my night-time routine, incorporating skincare and planning out the next day. Early to bed and early to rise. I’ve been amazed by my productivity level. Everything flows so much smoother! 3. From the warm jungles of Costa Rica, the stunning black sand beaches of Iceland, to the serene giant Sequoia Forest in California- we’ve realized the need to just simply enjoy life. No cellphones, no appointments, the commercial world left behind. There was nothing to buy or sell, just the nature around us and each other for entertainment. It was wonderful! I’ve never felt so relaxed or at peace. It’s so important to spend time as a family. We’ve passed on a love of nature and experiences not stuff, to our little girl.4. Traveling has, surprisingly, made us content and more appreciative of our home and where we live. Far too often, we wished we lived somewhere else, especially Jason. Travel has shown us that although there are prettier places in the world, those places are also more expensive! We realize that by living here in Fort Worth we can afford to travel. This may not be the case if we lived somewhere else. Those places are also missing a few important people- our parents. (Or “Grandmas and Grandpas”, as Jocelyn says.) So no matter where we roam, this will always be our home. It took a few trips, but now we happily go “exploring” and then return home, satisfied, with new memories and new lessons learned. Together we’ve taken more interest in our home, decorating and copying things we love from our trips. Indeed, travel has benefited us both! So what about you? Do you wish to travel more. Here are a few useful tips:
10 Useful Travel Tips
- Travel in the shoulder season, or off season, to avoid crowds and spend less money.
- Instead of taking 2 weeks away, budget a 4-5 day vacations to just one destination. It’s easier to take off work. You can get to know the area very well, and may be able to travel more frequently because it costs less. We often leave Wednesday nights right after work and return Sunday/Monday night. This way, we only take 2-3 days off work. Plus it’s so much easier to pack for 4-5 days in a carry on bag than to pack for 9 days!
- Sign up for frequent fly miles with one airline. Those points add up over time!
- Try using the same hotel or airbnb to get travel points. Once again it adds us.
- Split travel cost by traveling with friends. By going with another couple we can split the cost of our room and car rental, this making travel cheaper.
- Eat out less. Create a savings account just for travel! Have $30 (or more) go directly into that account each month. You’ll have $360 at the end of the year, the average cost for a round trip ticket within the United States.
- Travel with only a carry on bag and personal item. You’ll skip the cost of checking your bag, and save time moving through the airport.
- Or travel on an airline that allows for 1 free bag, like Southwest, to cut expenses and stress when packing your luggage.
- Do you have a child under the age of 2? TRAVEL while they are free! Children must be taught to travel. By taking them when they’re young they get used to travel, and you’ll get used to accommodating your child while on vacations. This keeps things less stressful for everyone.
- If you good at budgeting, consider signing up for a credit card that will give you airline miles based on your purchases. Determine in advance just how much you’ll put on that card. Make sure to pay off the balance each month so that you don’t pay interest on the card, or even worse carry a month to month balance.
I hope you’re able to get away and rediscover yourself sometime soon. Happy travels to you!