Some years ago, in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, I saw an elderly couple, both in wheelchairs, being pushed through the terminal. “Wow!” I thought. “How can they travel like that?!”
Indeed, how could they have the stamina, the where-with-all to enjoy what even in this day and age can be a rather strenuous endeavor?! But this is only one of the more obvious reasons not to wait until you are in your advanced years to travel.
For one, you really have no idea how long you have to live. Better not to put off an adventure, when you might not have the chance later. Okay, maybe travel isn’t really your cup of tea. And that’s fine. But there is no better way to experience life and grow, in my mind. Because when you encounter new lands, your mind is stimulated by multiple unique smells, sights, and sounds that photographs, videos or movies can merely simulate. This three dimensional exploration not only fills your senses but seeks to change your mind, expand it, let new thoughts in, and learn to see from new perspectives and solve problems in new ways.
When I studied in Moscow back in the late 80s, many of the modern hotels has multiple doors but only one would be unlocked. This seemed to make no sense to me, initially, but after some thought, I realized they wanted to have the option of making a grand impression with all the doors, should there be a big event happening in the building. Having just the one door available during normal hours created more control and security. At the institute, the elevators stopped only at every other floor – again, I discerned that the crowd of students waiting on the ground floor would have twice as long to get up to their classrooms, if it stopped at all 20 or more floors!
Just think, if you started at an early age to see other places in your own country or out in the world, you would have a greater understanding of life and the world. Because travel is a killer of prejudice – if you reach out and interact with the natives – even a smile or a nod – that connection is breaking down walls, barriers, and soon you will realize we are all the same – beings who care about family, friends, fun, freedom, enjoying life. There is nothing like sharing stories and hearing others’ stories. Imagine if everyone traveled, there would be no need for war, as everyone would know we are all just friends who have yet to have met.
So, don’t hesitate. Get out there and learn – about the world and ultimately about yourself!