Travel is all about experiences.
Avid travelers are looking for the next experience to build their memories. Whether that is sampling unusual food in Asia, cave diving in Belize or just renting a kayak in Hawaii, we travel to experience.
Most of my adult life I have traveled without the aid of a tour guide. I have planned and executed trips to Europe and the West Indies as well as multi-week road trips around our nation’s National Parks and historical landmarks.
My first trip to Europe was Great Britain and Ireland when I was 23. I traveled with a friend who was terrified of flying and accidentally put her return ticket into the VAT box instead of her receipts. This was an experience to get her re-ticketed, without penalties! It was also an experience to drive a standard transmission car on the left side of the road! But since then I have driven several times in Scotland and it gets easier with every experience.
In the last few years, we introduced our teenaged boys to Europe and decided to not only experience a country where we didn’t speak the language, Italy, but also to experience a guided tour. I might add that we decided on the tour because we didn’t speak the language. We were pleasantly surprised at our tour experience. I was worried that we would feel trapped on a bus and not have enough time to explore on our own, but the opposite was true. We found a wealth of knowledge in our tour guide, who educated us between stops on the history and culture of the area. We were able to have personalized experiences just for our tour group that we wouldn’t have had access to on our own. And since we weren’t driving, we ended the tour ready for more experiences.
Tourism today caters to experiences. Whether you are a foodie or a wine enthusiast, there is a product for you. We have toured many distilleries in Scotland, but there are always more to explore. If you like active travel there are hiking trips, biking trips and of course kayaking trips. Are you a birder? Maybe a trip to find your life bird. You name your interests, and I am sure that there is a tour, trip or hotel that will cater to the experience that you are seeking.
History is always high on my list when I travel. I love learning about the local history and seeing first hand the battle fields, buildings and monuments of the past. Italy is full of ancient history in the form of Roman ruins. It is awe-inspiring to stand in the coliseum or to look upon the ceiling of the Cistern Chapel. But it was just as interesting to tour a champagne cave that had been used by the French during World War II for a bomb shelter and resistance.
Travel can be anything that you make it. From the exotic cities of Thailand to the relaxing beaches of Jamaica, if you want to experience it, it is out there.
So how do you want to experience travel? Let me know by leaving a comment.