Whenever we return from a long RVing adventure, it takes us a little bit to get back into the routine of life. (Please tell me it’s not just us! :)) I suppose some of the “adjustment period” stems from a sense of melancholy as we leave behind the fun and adventure and exchange it for everyday life routines. But I also know it’s more than that.
As the odometer clicks away each mile and moves us closer to home, I find myself reflecting back on the trip—what we’ve seen, learned, and discovered during three weeks on the road. My mind is a jumble of snapshots, from beautiful moments to frustrating reminders of what life is really like with five people and one big dog in about 250-square feet of space. (Because let’s be honest: It’s not always all fun and games!) But as time passes, the difficulties of traveling will dim as the magic of the memorable moments grows in our mind’s eye. And like a siren call, we won’t be able to resist a return to the road.
Traveling around the country, though, isn’t just about having a fun family vacation. Ask anyone who has traveled extensively and they will tell you that their travels, whether stateside or beyond, have changed them. Travel starts a transformation … and it will wreck you. Here’s how.
Travel will broaden your world
In our day-to-day life it’s easy to get caught up in our own little worlds. We buzz about from the office to the grocery store. To home and the ball field. To the dentist and then the oil change. We watch the news, but the latest crisis here or overseas seems so far off and remote it doesn’t strike a chord. We have no personal connection that makes it tangible.
When we travel, though, those far off places become the regions we pass along the road or fly over in the sky. We see populaces different from our own: from big city life to small-town farming communities. We drive through prairie lands, deserts, and forests—ecosystems as diverse as the many ethnicities, skin colors, and religions we encounter. And through it all, we start to comprehend the magnitude of how big this land (and world) is, and how small our personal realm really is. When we travel, we develop an affinity with what was once foreign to us. And as travel broadens our world, it broadens our connections with the bigger world around us. Which then leads to another transformation.
Travel will ignite your love of learning
Walking in the footsteps of history has birthed in our whole family the desire to learn more about the people and places we discover on our journeys. What once were just entries in the history books have now become fascinating encounters.
During our recent visit to the Lincoln home, for instance, we watched a National Park Service video that drew upon Lincoln’s many writings, and that little taste created a thirst to read more of his writings. The same thirst to know more has occurred at other places, too, including Gettysburg, Independence Hall, the Johnson ranch, and Johnstown.
In the lull between our travels we have the perfect opportunity to cultivate this love of learning in our entire family. From family-friendly audiobooks to picture books, we seek out resources that will capitalize upon our newfound interests. And as travel ignites a deeper love of learning it inspires us to create an environment where this thirst for knowledge is nurtured daily.
Travel will spill over into your home life
Our travels have spilled into our home life by helping us see how few material possessions we really need. When you spend three weeks on the road with a limited wardrobe, just the basic household wares, and a small cupboard of toys, you quickly realize that much of what you have at home is purely extraneous. In our consumeristic society, we are bombarded daily by advertisements that tell us more is better. But abundance is not necessary for an abundant life.
This realization accomplishes two things: It spurs us to declutter and clean out, passing on our excess to bless others who truly need it. But it also curbs our spending, which in turn creates more savings to apply to the travel budget—and even better, to use for helping make a difference in the broader world we are now connected with.
So I suppose in the end travel is a great motivator. It motivates us to think beyond our small worlds. It motivates us to never stop learning. And it motivates us to learn contentment with less. When travel wrecks our previous ways of thinking, that’s when the transformation begins.
Has travel wrecked you yet?