We have talked to many people who have said they would love to travel to Europe but they just don’t have the money, or they simply don’t have the time, or their children are too young or their parents are too old. Believe me, we fully understand each of these very real and legitimate reasons to stay close to home. I believe there’s a time to remain near those around you and a time to see the world and your place in it with fresh eyes. It takes courage and commitment to travel outside your comfort zone. For some people this is not a difficult step. For others, it’s a leap beyond what they feel they can reach. Travel is a very real investment. An investment in time, in money and in one’s willingness to be open to developing fresh perspectives and understanding the world in a new way. Making travel a priority when our kids were young gave use great memories like those in the images below, and helped shape the people they are today.
When I was recruiting for study abroad programs I would go into a classroom and talk very specifically about our plans to travel to amazing places and visit extraordinary sites that are beyond what the students could experience at home. We can talk about developing cross cultural viewpoints but there is nothing like actually being immersed in another society to bring the message home. When I had that chance to talk with them about the opportunity to study abroad, many of them got hung up on the obstacles to travel. These included, but were not limited to: believing they couldn’t afford it, thinking their parents would never let them go that far away, and being afraid of violence in other parts of the world. I did my best to encourage them to think beyond what they thought they knew. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I wanted to plant a seed of desire to see the world in them so they would do what it took to take advantage of the opportunity. Many of them did! I had students who put all their waitressing tips in a jar for over a year so that they could travel to Ireland. One student held baseball tournaments to raise money to study abroad in Spain. Some did crowd funding to go to Australia. Others convinced their parents that studying abroad was important to their ability to compete in a global marketplace. Many had never flown before. Most had not been out of the country. Some had never been out of the state. All of them returned from the experience having grown in their understandings and perspectives of life outside their country’s borders. This experience was transformative for them – and for me.
I have never returned from a trip abroad thinking that I had enough. I want so much more! I want to live like a local in lots of different places. I want to share my love for other cultures with everyone I meet. I want other people to have the chance to see what I see when I travel – that there is beauty everywhere, other people do things differently and that’s OK…we can learn from each other, history and art are important to who we are as human beings, and most people are more alike than they are different, irrespective of where they were born. We love our families with every fabric of our being, we suffer and survive pain and loss only with the support of our communities and we want to make a difference in the world.
So, we are changing our lives in a profound way in order to continue our quest to experience the world in new ways. We sold our house and most of our belongings. Greg has retired and our comfortable way of living is in question. This is an open book. There’s lots we will have to figure out along the way. I really hope it all works out. No matter what, it will be an incredible learning experience. We anticipate that we will meet many new friends and learn a lot about humanity in the process.
The way to make travel a priority is basically to make that choice and intentionally work toward making your vision a reality. I really want to encourage each of you to think deeply on where you would like to go and how you will make it happen. You can do anything you set your mind to. Start planning now to go somewhere new and experience this incredible world in ways you never before imagined. Euro Travel Coach is here to help make it easy for you to travel where you want to go and get the most out of your travel experience. We will also make sure you have a lot of fun in the process!
Are you planning a trip somewhere in Europe? We can help with that! Remember that we are always available to you and your friends and family for custom trip planning to Italy, France, Ireland, England and all of Europe. We also still have spots available on our small group trip to Tuscany and our small group trip to Piedmont! We'd love for you to join us! You can always reach Betsy at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to help you make your travel dreams to Europe come true!