A departure flight from Nuremberg, Germany to Istanbul, and then on to Tel Aviv, with an arrival of 5:30 a.m. Hit the ground, collect the baggage, head to customs, and then onto a taxi, hopefully getting to a bed sooner than later. Sleep sounds more than ideal, but the sun is already up and the body is fading towards shutdown mode, while the mind is becoming active with every passing minute into the day. Wanting desperately to get some shuteye, the Airbnb flat can’t be checked into for another five hours, so then the choice to grab a hotel room–just to be able to nap–is what happens.
There’s no fear, no regret, and no hesitation to step into a reality other than the one they are most comfortable with.
This was the introduction into one of my travel experiences, in the not so distant past. It was a stressful trip initially, but the thought to avoid travelling again never once came to mind.
Christmas time, 2017, hit the road later in the day, bound for Quebec City (QC), Canada. Traffic thins, temperatures are dropping, the roads of upstate New York are becoming more saturated in snow and ice; something virtually non-existent in the Philadelphia area at that point. Close to crossing the Canadian border and still no word from the Airbnb host, and knowing that cellular service will soon be lost, a decision is demanded in that situation, and once again–just to be able to sleep–a hotel room gets booked. An overnight stay on the outskirts of Montreal, then onto QC to haggle over the first day’s booking cost for a flat unoccupied the night before. Again, the thought of travelling does not become discouraged.
Travelling is–and always will be–an addiction for many. It’s a sensory experience that rarely goes as planned. Unless you are on a business trip and following a schedule, your time is yours and its subject to the extensive list of experiences that one can add to their individualistic bag. The things that stun and thrill travelers equally–an inability to speak the language, no knowledge of and discovering the hot (less touristy) spots, authentic cuisine, and getting to talk to people from a completely different walk of life–are what keeps them coming back for more.
Like many things in this world, the experience offers a number of stressors, likely to question the less adventurous why travelers do it as often as they do. But the simple, and yet strangely complex, answer…they don’t know. Travelers are special breed; a specific type of individual wired for and geared towards a love for the unknown. They love being out of their element and know that every experience gained in a far away place is just another notch in their adventured personalities. There’s no fear, no regret, and no hesitation to step into a reality other than the one they are most comfortable with. Being a traveler means being adaptive; someone who makes necessary split second decisions, has a sharp sense for independence, and a heightened posture of survivability.
Every traveler knows and can identify many people in and around their circle, who are less than willing to put themselves out of the comfort zone, and yet the traveler cannot seem to mentally identify with that concept. I alone know more than ten people who have never traveled farther than the neighboring state or set foot on an airplane. The traveler, he or she isn’t wired for limitations, for permanence in the comfort zone, or for letting a fear of the unknown trump the feeling of experiences. Being a traveler says a lot about a person, more so than it does to speak against them. They may be a lot of other things in their lives, and in some areas they may be much less. But one thing they will not be in the end is a person who regrets not living to learn and to experience the unknown.
All this is the reason why a traveler is much more than they appear to be on the surface; it’s just not something for everyone.