Why We Travel

Belize City Food Stalls

Food shacks in Belize City, and site of our first meal in-country


The bright colors of Belize City are dulled with age and the buildings show clear signs of neglect. Dogs and bicycles and cars jostle for position with no obvious adherence to any traffic laws. We hear a mixture of rustling palm trees and Creole conversation. Touts pester us as we pass. We’re not in Kansas anymore and it is wonderful.

So often we talk about travel only in terms of seeing and doing. We completely forget about being. There’s something invigorating about being someplace different; really different.

On one level there is simple joy in witnessing a world outside your experience. It’s the kind of feeling children must have all the time; where everything is fresh and exotic. The world is all new and every corner is a discovery.

Being in unfamiliar territory makes us like children in another respect, too. It forces us out of our heads and into the present. Children live their lives unburdened by the weight of the past and have little need to plan for the future. Adults, meanwhile, often sleepwalk through their daily activities constantly thinking of something else. Days fly by with little appreciation for the time that is gone, or how it was spent.

That simply isn’t possible when you don’t know where you are. You see, you hear, you feel. You have to. Suddenly neither past nor future are all that important. Your mind is completely focused on the here and now. It’s the way things are supposed to be, or at least should be; more often than they are.

We saw nothing beautiful or lovely in the streets of Belize City. Most tourists just pass through on their way to somewhere else. We are no exception. But what we found here put an end to all fears and doubts. We suddenly remembered why it is we leave our shores in the first place. How could we ever have forgotten?

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13 Comments on “Why We Travel”

  1. baidanbi February 13, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    So very true. That’s what hooked me on travel oh so many years ago. The simplest things don’t work as you would expect. Daily activities are no longer mindless tasks but international events. What am I going to eat, where am I going to sleep, where can I buy X all become much more conscious and interesting decisions. Funny I still love it, even crave it.


  2. Pat Bean February 13, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    More people should travel simply so could learn to be more thankful for the things they have. Great post to remind us all of that.


  3. www.travelwithkevinandruth.com February 13, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Yep, we set out on full time travel four and a half years ago. Still getting itchy feet if we stay in one spot for more than a month or so. And returning to somewhere we’ve been, even if it’s in a different country isn’t the same as going somewhere new. We want new AND different!


    • Brian February 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

      I hear ya. We’ve met people who’ve been going to the same exact vacation spot for decades. I don’t begrudge them doing what they want, but can’t say I really understand it either. Some places are evergreen, like Paris is for us. But even there, I need enough time between visits so I can forget all the things I find so wonderful about it. And besides, there are so many places I haven’t been it seems a shame to spend all my time covering the same old ground. But different strokes, I guess.


  4. Royce Howland February 13, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Right on. Travel is (or can be) an antidote for just moving along on autopilot. I pick up the camera for the same reason – a tactic to help focus on seeing and experiencing what is there in front if me right now.

    We are here for an all too brief time. We should be more in tune, living in the here & now… interacting and experiencing as deeply and fully as we can. Not just for the personal enrichment it brings, but also to live & act in a way that’s fully invested in what’s going on.


  5. Rev. Paul McKay February 13, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Reblogged this on Jitterbugging for Jesus and commented:
    From the blawg of the adventurous globetrotters Brian and Shannon comes this posting about being in a very different world.


    • Brian February 15, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

      Thanks Paul. I always say that sharing is the currency bloggers are paid in. Thanks for ringing the cash register for us. 😮


  6. Peter Anderson February 14, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    I travel to enjoy, listen, watch & learn. Also to enjoy my favourite pastime, photography. But most importantly respect the culturs and people we meet. Feel empathy when they are not so well off as we are. We are fortunate to be able to travel the world. Remember on your travels there are many people who are unable to travel – we are the fortunate few.


    • Brian February 15, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

      One of the things that travel does is open our eyes to the world; both it’s beauty and its sorrows. It is hard to do this and not be reminded of how fortunate we are. We’ll have a bit more to say on this topic in the coming weeks I think.

      Thanks for your thoughts.


  7. finola February 14, 2012 at 12:10 am #

    Just wrote a post on travelling and being in the now so this felt very intune with where I’m at. Enjoyed it – thanks.


  8. Madhu February 22, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    Beautifully written post! Absolutely identified with it!


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