I travel because I don’t know how not to.
I grew up with a dad who traveled 250 days a year. I was probably in junior high before I realized spending weekends in different cities wasn’t the norm. As I grew up, I developed “itchy feet,” as my dad would say. A soul-deep craving to get up and just go. As I saw new cities through the eyes of essentially a traveling salesmen, I ached to see more, to enmesh myself, to learn.
I travel because every time I do, I learn something new. I live a lucky life and I know it. Each time I get on an airplane and leave my comfort zone to look for new experiences I change who I am, we all do. The world is big and full of so many wonders and places and personalities that staying in one place prevents you from understanding those who are different from you. I’ve learned the blue of the Gulf and the sounds of Broadway (both in New York and Nashville) and the taste of proper grits and greens. I’ve learned, and changed, from each experience I’ve had.
I travel because the world is too big to stay still. I live in New York, a melting pot of people and opinions and food and culture. But after my little 13 mile island ends, there is so much more. Whether it’s the mountains of the Rockies or camping in Big Sky, the bustling streets of a major metropolis or the soft sand and water on a new beach, it’s all a plane ride away. We often lose ourselves in our phones, our thoughts, our people, our jobs. Social media has opened doors and shown us places we didn’t know to want before. But a picture of San Juan doesn’t convey the sounds and smells of a pulsing street; a post of the Red Rocks doesn’t capture the silence and immense view that comes along with the feeling of your place in the world; a photo of a stadium doesn’t deafen your ears and pump your blood faster like sitting in the stands watching a team sweep their opponent. These things exist in a million little ways in a million little corners of our country and our world – how could I not chase them down?
I travel because I want to be better. You can’t change a world you don’t know. Staying still accepts the present as the norm and I want to bring change into the world. I want to know a different experience because I was there myself, not because a journalist or photographer or politician tells me it’s so. I want to know and share that knowledge with those I love and my future children. I want my kids to see things that blow them away and go on trips that maybe didn’t go as planned but you’re still better for it. I don’t want my opinion to end at the end of my reach.
I travel because I read. I read everything I can get my hands on. Fantasy, fiction, biographies. Stories of yesteryear and tomorrow. Tales of Hollywood and the Heartland. Cracking a book is the ultimate impetus to wanderlust. (Because each image in your mind of that view, that meal, that city, that love, that success, all of which is painted in a truly wonderful book, well I want it too.) And each time I go in search of it I get a little closer. Or I find another book to read to send me on my next adventure.
I travel because I can’t stop myself. I travel close and far, alone and in groups, expensive trips and barely able to pay for the ticket. I travel because the instant my curiosity or fear or routine get the best of me, I won’t be myself anymore. I don’t do my makeup for a trip, or pack a million perfect outfits. I don’t style my hair or miss a sunset because I want a perfect picture. I usually look sunburnt and tired and bundled and my backpack is old and my shoes are beat up. I never feel better about myself than then because I was able to get myself to this place to do this thing. And maybe I’ll be back a million times. Or maybe I’ll never find this little coffee shop again down this little street. Either way – whether it’s dinner from a cart or a multi course Michelin star meal I’ve saved for, that’s what travel is. It’s that beating heart of excitement that only slows long enough to savor what you’re doing so that you never forget a moment.
I started Whym because I travel. I built a travel company to encourage excitement. In today’s modern age of perpetual technology and the ability to cut out the middle man, no one wants an old fashioned travel agent that sends you to a place only because they get a commission. Access to everything comes with information overload and subsequent paralysis. How do you make a plan, choose a destination, when instagram and facebook and buzzfeed are showing you another list or picture or link to the place you absolutely HAVE to see. Sometimes just trusting the world around you, knowing that there is so much to see and do if we leave our comfort zones, that there may be more waiting for us than we’d have ever guessed.
I am a woman who travels. I believe women should feel strong and empowered and curious. I want to give women a leg up, a safety net, a sense of security. When you spread your wings and explore with Whym, we stay with you every step of the way. There is no greater souvenir than a story brought home from a trip. When we as women travel more and more, we find ourselves building bigger and stronger female networks spanning cities, states, countries. What could be more powerful than that?
This is why I travel. Why do you?