Travel for the Smell of It

Travel For The Smell Of It

Travel is such a useful learning tool, and the best part about it is that it’s a fun and exciting learning tool! You don’t have to sit in a classroom, sift through gigantic tomes, or take medication for Attention Deficit Disorder in order to gain insight, understanding, or fantastic experiences from travel.* The education just happens in the process of doing those things that you already enjoy, such as exploring a novel destination, interacting with locals, or making new friends. I find that travelers tend to be people who are naturally very curious about the world. They want to know what is around the next bend. Or, for more obsessive types, they absolutely have to know what is around the next bend. Travelers want to see things for themselves, up close and personal. No television special, travel article, or blog write-up is going to take the place of experiencing a country, city, or site firsthand. Why is that? Well, any traveler knows that there are things that just cannot be captured by broadcasting, digital, or print media.

Don’t get me wrong. As a traveler, I love reading about far-off lands or watching travel-related programming. I love learning in general and find that I get a lot of motivation and plenty of great ideas from these sources. For instance, such sources might teach me about new and intriguing places to add to my ever-growing “must-visit” list. In fact, just the other day I was reading a blog post [link to:] that prompted me to add Kurdistan to my travel list. Reading and researching is a great way to plan or get ideas and inspiration, but actually immersing yourself in a new setting is really what travel is all about. Watching a screen, no matter how large, is not going to bring you the smells, tastes, live thrills, and social interactions that travel will bring you. Once, while bike-riding through a valley in Norway [Link to Article 4] with some friends, we made a scenic stop to say hello to a herd of bleating Norwegian goats. They were the most beautiful goats we had ever seen! Have you ever looked into a goat’s mysterious eyes? They are incredible. While frolicking with the friendly goats and listening to their goat-bell concerto, a girl from our group—who just happens to be from the cheese capital of the world, France, excitedly exclaimed, “Zat smell! It is fantastique!” She inhaled euphorically and continued, “Eet smells like fresh goat cheese! Aaaah, I wish zey would invent a camera zat could capture zat smell!” Her comment had us bent over with laughter. It also illustrates the point that some things must be experienced firsthand and require actually packing your bags and hitting the road versus merely imagining travel from afar.

By all means read about travel. By all means watch travel programs that you enjoy. Subscribe to your favorite travel blogs or magazines. However, make sure you also get out there and take a trip yourself! Make it a priority. Travel will enrich your life with wonderful memories and stories. It will help you see life through a new lens. I have never ever heard of an elderly person who, upon facing the great unknown, regretfully declared, “Gosh, I really wish I hadn’t traveled so much.”


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