This one is a no-brainer, especially when you consider what I do for a living.
Well, truth be told, the line should be, “What I do for barely-a-living”, but you get the point, right?
Personally, I feel travel is about both the journey and the destination, as both can change you irrevocably. Though let’s be honest, they probably won’t; a weekend in Niagara Falls isn’t likely to upgrade your entire existence, even if I’m your bellman. But then again, it doesn’t have to.
Just getting off your couch and interacting with some of this planet’s other denizens will help give you perspective. I always find it helpful to meet people who are more screwed up than I am. And yes, these people actually exist, thank you very much. Granted, budgetary concerns may be keeping you home but that’s nothing that can’t be solved with some spending scrutiny or maybe a simple trip within your own city rather than a global excursion. The key here is to travel anywhere, okay?
From the pyramids of Egypt to the cobblestone streets of Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England, to the gleaming glass towers of Dubai, this world is loaded to capacity with points of interest for individuals of all tastes and backgrounds. It doesn’t matter what you’re into or where you’re form originally, you can travel to a point of the globe where like-minded people reside. Yes, the internet allows us to “travel” anywhere for the cost of a wi-fi connection, but there’s no substitute for the open road. Or a plane. Or a sea-faring vessel.
Of course, I remember the few family vacations we took back in the day – but only because I’m not willing to block the memory out with government-sanctioned weed, other drugs or good ole Canadian beer. In fact I have a theory that most alcoholics are just trying to drown out the sound of one their parent’s screaming:
“I swear, if you kids don’t knock it off back there I’ll not only turn this car around, I’ll run it into the next tractor trailer we cross paths with! And the debris will spread for miles and miles!”
That, by the way, was an actual quote from my old man during one of the two long-distance trips we took as a family. In true Hookey tradition my daughter has already decided she’d rather walk than get in a vehicle with my wife and I for longer than a half-hour.
But this doesn’t have to be you. Maybe you’re single or maybe you and your spouse aren’t nuts (though I doubt it; true love just has that effect on people) but either way, it’s still worth leaving your comfort zone to see what the world has to offer. You can start by checking out any of the millions of travel blogs/sites out on the web. (Yeah, I know I told you to leave the web behind but you should consult it before you go outside, Poindexter!) There are some pretty amazing individuals out there who can provide dozens of options and first-hand accounts that will prove invaluable.
I know several and I don’t want to play favorites, but Susie Lindau and Dave Ply are both exceptional travel writers, though as I’ve said, there are more out there than you could ever hope to read in one lifetime. In my case, as a bellman I see travel from the destination end, especially since I rarely travel myself.
But I can tell you this: most people are so stressed out from their journey and their inability to disconnect from their devices that they never fully embrace the experience they’re paying thousands of over-priced dollars to enjoy. And so they walk around Niagara Falls while staring into their phones and complaining about the “funny money Canadians use”, or the legally blind valet driver (trust me, we actually had one) or the runny eggs at the breakfast buffet.
Don’t be one of these people. Get out of your house and see, and most importantly, enjoy the world around you. Traveling can help us forget our problems for a precious moment or two and those moments can be all we need to embrace life over death. Plus, think of all the stuff you can swipe from the hotel room.
See you in the lobby, kids…