Istanbul, Turkey 2009

Istanbul, Turkey 2009

What is travel? The dictionary says travel is to go from one place to the other. Sure, I can travel from my living room to my bedroom. Or from my house to the store. That is the basics of what the word travel means. But what does it mean to be a traveler?

When you are a traveler you are an ambassador. You represent where you come from. We can choose to represent where we come from well or we can choose to embarrass the hell out of where we come from. More often than not, I have experienced travelers of the latter variety. Those that don’t want to try anything unless it’s what they are used to. And they are usually very vocal about this. The rule of thumb when traveling and you don’t want to try something is to keep it to yourself. Better yet, how about just trying whatever it is?

To be a traveler also means that you are a student. You can and should learn new things. The ways that you are familiar with are not the only ways to do things. Open your mind and learn something. Maybe having more money or more things doesn’t bring happiness. Maybe someone with a lot less has found happiness. Observe what makes them happy.

A traveler is also a teacher. In addition to representing where you come from and learning from others, you are teaching the world about your culture. I have found that people around the world are eager to know about you. Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean they want to be you. So leave the superior attitude at home. Instead share what makes you the person you are.

As a traveler you will find that there are differences between us all, but they are small differences, they are things that make us unique. The things that make us the same are much bigger. We all smile, laugh, cry, fall in love and conduct our daily lives under the same sky.