Being Stuck Inside Ignited My True Passion For Traveling

Traveling isn’t about the destination — it’s about the journey and the experiences you have while doing so

Photo by Dino Reichmuth

I used to claim wanderlust. Traveling endlessly sounded good, but in reality, all I ever really liked was being new places rather than do all of the work it took to get there and stay there. What I really meant was that I wanted to be catered to and have a revolving door of money to support my traveling habit without ever having to think about it or be “inconvenienced” having to plan and execute it.

I will say, I’m relatively adventurous. I go on hikes, I hang out around lakes and rivers, and I like to go to big cities and just kind of be there. But in hindsight, I can’t say that I was ever really into the whole grind of preparing or having to use my brain to make trips enjoyable for more than just me.

Then the pandemic hit and as my brain was being rewired to get used to staying at home, I started realizing that I was never quite maximizing the time I spent in new environments. I got lazy, plain and simple, and I never went out of my comfort zone to really enjoy traveling how I could have been.

Sure, I’ve been to over half of the United States, but my memories can be a little fuzzy and when talking to other people who had been in the same spaces as me, my stories just didn’t measure up. I felt left out and I was the blame for that.

My stories sounded a lot like this: Yeah so we landed, did a ghost tour, got dinner at a nice place, did something that we do everywhere, shopped, came home. It was just cool being there.

Then I’d be asked if I did x, y, or z. I’d obviously say no and then I’d go on to realize that I missed out on something that would have been really special for me. I went somewhere and didn’t get the most out of it.

I was visiting places, but I wasn’t leaving with imprints that would last the rest of my life. Traveling is a gift. Not everyone is capable of doing it and I wasn’t taking full advantage of some of the once in a lifetime opportunities that I was being presented with.

I had always been a destination person. All of the people attached to me have been journey people. I never understood that. Who wants to sit in a car or a plane all day and see the same objects pass you by or the same trees or look at the same landscapes 30,000 feet up in the air?

Who wants to see creation at it’s finest or have deep conversations about life or dance and sing to music that they haven’t heard in years or be somewhere totally and completely different than what they’re used to with people that they love…..oh wait? I do. Or at least I do now and my honeymoon reminded me of the joys of all of those things.

Traveling isn’t about the destination. It never has been. It’s about the deep impressions the journey leaves with you and I get that now. For my honeymoon, I immersed myself in the fact that I was experiencing something that was new. I wanted to blend in with the locals. I wanted to do things I haven’t done before. I wanted to eat new food and try things that I used to decline because I was okay with staying in my hotel room. A bad habit I’m never going back to.

After being stuck inside for so long, I had a longing to never waste one second after I left my home because life is so short and is so fleeting. Now I can truly say I love travel. I love packing up to go to the airport. I love landing. I love finding the hotel. I love checking in. I love going right back out and spending time with my loved ones. I love seeing and feeling the newness that comes with unique experiences. I love it all.

I will never look at travel the same way again. I’m much more grateful and I know that I’m not alone in this feeling. What I don’t want the most is for things to go back to normal. I love the cleanliness and care everyone is taking. I love the emphasis on social issues. I love how talking about important things isn’t dismissed anymore and people are more inclined to speak up at their jobs, to their families, and to anyone willing to have a conversation.

More than anything, I love the fire that’s been lit to in me and hopefully others, to appreciate the ability to travel freely. I want to encourage people to do more than what makes them comfortable and be willing to be uncomfortable for the sake of not letting precious moments slip by.

We were given a big would with lots of things. It’s special to see as many of those “things” as we can with an open mind and a determined willingness. Like I said before, traveling is a gift.

And even though there are so many precautions these days, if it can be done safely, I say go for it.

It’s truly one of our biggest blessings.