I know that most of us tend to focus on the big things when we plan our trips; visiting Westminster Abbey, seeing the Eiffel Tower, hiking the Grand Canyon, these are the things that trips and adventures are planned around. While these are exciting and fun and worth the Instagram stories and Facebook posts, the small moments from travel are really what stay with us long after we are back at home and in our normal routine. The little things are what is important and meaningful and today I’m chatting about why!
You Can Connect With the Locals
I find that there can be huge disconnect with local experiences on both ends of the spectrum- some people are unwilling to deal with anything outside of their comfort zone, and some people go to outrageous lengths to try and experience what locals do. Well, locals work and raise their family and pay taxes and generally live every day life there and it’s not going to look like your brief trip. However, taking the scenic route, putting down your phone, and opening your eyes can go a long way. This is a cottage that we passed on the way to the Cliffs of Moher- the other side of this house had the cutest older couple enjoying tea in the morning together, complete with warm wool scarves. Now, I’m a Canadian weirdo and I always wonder how people spend their time outside in a regular climate where people don’t regularly die from hypothermia and frostbite- I spotted people all along the way enjoying time outside. Albeit with scarves and wraps, but just taking a few moments to enjoy the fresh air. Had my eyes been glued to my phone, I would have missed that!
You Find New Perspectives
As a historian, I am a big researcher. I typically visit places that I am interested in, that I’ve read one, if not several books and articles on before I actually set foot in. While I find that it does enhance my own experiences, it can also mean that I get a lot of repeat information when I’m there. However, it’s very much in the quieter moments that I find I will find a new perspective and a new way of thinking that hadn’t occurred to me before! In Kensington Palace, the exhibition in the Queen’s Apartments was on court life in the late Stuart period. I am fascinated with the Stuart and Georgian periods, particularly in regards to court life, and I tend to focus on the excitement rather than the personal aspects. However, this small, small part of the exhibition really stuck out to me- a simple house of cards. Yes, court life would have been exciting. It also would have been unstable and precarious and a simple breeze could have sent everything tumbling to the ground. A new perspective is always welcome, and you never know what might change for you!
You Can Learn Something New
I know, I know, after what I just said about the research and everything, learning something new seems like it might not be the most common thing for me when I travel. I tend to learn more “small but interesting facts” rather than entirely new subjects to research and learn about. (Yes, that is fun for me….) However, every once in a while I’m suddenly sparked by something that I see that makes me want to bury my head in the books and learn something entirely new! Another Kensington Palace find- a map of the history of tea. Obviously I’m a huge tea drinker, but I actually knew very little about the history of tea itself. (I’ve got to hand it to the Historic Royal Palaces curators, they are incredibly creative and effective in their exhibitions.) Being given a new topic to explore and get excited about is a big deal for me, and it makes me want to travel for my mind. There will be trips for pure relaxation where thinking is exactly the opposite of your goal, but there will also be trips where it’s all about what’s happening up top!
You Can Rediscover Your True Love
I love Christmas for everything that it can be- warm and cosy and time with loved ones and great food and busy happiness. While I absolutely loved my year living in Dublin and it came to be my second home, I still struggled with homesickness and everything that goes with it. When I’m stressed or tired, I tend to curl up into what is familiar and comfortable (as I think most of us do). Although I had a good amount of time at home for Christmas holidays that year, the lead up to the holidays was very different- no snow to get in the feeling, different traditions, and none of my family there. So, when my mom and I visited Edinburgh together, it was great to travel with her and have someone familiar. And it was even better when we walked by a Nutcracker Christmas shop and it reminded me of everything I love about Christmas. Even though you may be far from home and possibly even feeling a little overwhelmed, you just might spot the one thing to put the wind back in your sails!
How do you find quiet moments alone when you travel?