12 Reasons It’s Good To Travel
1. Taste new things.
The eggs in England look better and taste richer than U.S. eggs. Our American eggs come from chickens stacked in cages so tiny they can’t move. Or smooshed together in processing factories. Did you know it’s actually illegal to take eggs from the United States to England? Don’t ever be caught smuggling our tasteless eggs to Great Britain. It’s probably a felony. If I were a U.S. chicken crammed into a tiny cage, would I want to produce flavorful eggs with bright orange yolks? I think not. I’d be angry that I’m not running wild and free on someone’s farm like British chickens do. Travel not only brings new tastes, but sorrowful thoughts of oppressed chickens back in the states.
2. Go on tours of places you’d never bother to see if you lived a block from it.
I’ve seen so many interesting sights during travel, such as the Winchester Mystery Mansion with stairs that go nowhere, except to a ceiling. But even more than climbing stairs to nowhere, we, (that is Jerry and me), got to grumble about the rip-off of the attraction. Well, only one of us grumbled. I just said “we” to be polite and not point fingers at the true grumbler. The Fern Grotto in Kauai gave us a disappointment as well when we learned the grotto is just what it states: ferns in a grotto. We could see hundreds of ferns in our backyard in Washington, but for some reason we thought Hawaiian ferns would be more thrilling. But no thrill. Nor did the hired singer standing in the grotto warbling a Hawaiian love song and sounding like a person in agonizing pain give us a thrill. I don’t know who would feel love upon hearing the grotto-singer. Jerry and I felt only regret we didn’t bring earplugs as putting our hands over our ears got tiring. We wished we had skipped the tour and remained at our hotel eating coconuts. That was some time ago, to be fair. Maybe it has improved. And to be fair to Jerry, the Winchester Mystery House didn’t offer much when we were there. But there are many other tours you don’t see everyday unless you travel, like the treehouse tour in Issaquah, Washington. You must sign a waiver that you won’t hold the treehouse resort owners liable if you fall out of one of their treehouses. Then as the tour starts, you are invited to climb up a high ladder to get into the treehouse situated way up in the trees. What! No elevator? It’s okay with the proprietors, I guess, if you fall off the ladder and break your neck because you’ve signed the waiver. You can’t sue them, so they’re covered. Thankfully, I got out of that tour alive.
3. Meet new people.
While waiting to board a plane, I chatted with a Realtor from Scottsdale. “I hate cold,” she told me, “that’s why I moved to Arizona.” When the call came to board my flight, the Realtor handed me her business card. So I handed her mine. She glanced at it, then gave me a fake smile. I’m sure she deposited it in the nearest trash bin when she thought I wasn’t looking. Once seated on the plane, I noticed the Scottsdale Realtor coming down the aisle. When she saw me, she waved passionately and shot a 747-wide smile as if we were old friends seeing each again after a long time. In truth, it had been only 10 minutes since we had chatted. Ahh, but making new friends, who become like almost good friends, and then friends you never see again is one of the joys of travel.
4. Opportunity for free back massage.
On that same flight, a 3-year-old boy named Oscar sat behind me. When the flight attendant instructed the parents to strap the child in and not let him wander between seats, Oscar stated his disapproval. No sooner had his seat belt clicked than he began to wail like a banshee, “MOM-MEEEE, MOM-MEEEE!” Thank goodness for my Bose headphones, which I could put on to salvage any hearing I had left. After wailing and screeching for five minutes with no results, Oscar decided he needed to make his point with more intensity. He repeatedly kicked the back of my seat with fury. “Bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk.” His kicking revved up to, “bonkity, bonnka, ba-bonk, ba-bonk.” My teeth clattered with each kicking bonk and my back felt abused in a slightly therapeutic way. The parents said and did nothing as Oscar’s tantrum reached new levels of fury with louder screeching and harder kicking. There really wasn’t anything they could do short of giving the kid a large dose of ZzzQuil. Toward the end of the flight, Oscar finally stopped, perhaps realizing his tantrum wouldn’t give him the benefit he hoped for and sensing the plane would soon land and he would be free from his confinement. When we landed, I stood to get my luggage out of the overhead bin. Oscar’s mother says to her son, “Oscar, you tell this lady you’re sorry.” Oscar looked at me with the bottom lip protruding a mile out and a tear in his eye as he muttered, “Sorrr-ree.” I wished I had said, “No you aren’t, Kid, but that’s okay because my back strangely feels better.”
5. Enjoy snobbery.
Yesterday, as Jerry and I drove through green pastures, which I never knew existed in Arizona until I moved here, Jerry said, “I love all this green.” This gave me a wonderful chance to exert snobbery. Jerry didn’t go with me to Ireland, therefore I said snobbily, “If all those brown hills over there were green and these pastures had sheep with black faces, it would almost be like Ireland.” Jerry remained quietly in thought, then asked, “Why doesn’t Ireland have cows in the pastures?” And I realized that he didn’t get the gist of my comment. Jerry, it doesn’t matter if the pastures have sheep or cows or kangaroos. What matters is I saw the green in Ireland and I tasted the delicious eggs in England. Really frustrating that he didn’t pick up on that!
6. Expand your horizon.
If you go on the Boeing Tour in Everett, Washington–which is something for you to do if you’re ever there, you’ll learn things you would never learn if you hadn’t traveled. You’ll learn the aluminum body of a Boeing jet is the width of a quarter’s edge. This is not very comforting to know. Think of it. All that’s keeping you in the air is aluminum the width of a quarter’s edge. At least it’s not the width of a dollar’s edge, which is like paper-thin. That would be even less comforting. And you’ll also learn the Boeing building is so huge that Disneyland park plus 52 acres of Disney’s covered parking could fit inside one building. My son works at Boeing and I think he needs a GPS just to find the break room.
7. State your hometown loyalty.
When you’re in another town, let’s say Minneapolis, and you hear someone say, “Go Vikings!”~ you can state your hometown loyalty and call out, “Boo!” Just saying “boo” reaffirms your love of your own hometown and gives you reason to return to it, because you certainly need a reason. Going home to change the cat’s litter box is not one.
8. Appreciate the little things.
While at home, do you ever say to yourself, “I love my curling iron! I love my contact lens case”? I know I don’t. But if you travel and the airlines loses your luggage, you can’t believe how much you love your curling iron and your contact lens case because you need it and it’s gone. You appreciate how the curling iron kept you from having flyaway-hair that sticks out in every direction. So you feel the need to justify your bad hair and tell complete strangers, “The airlines lost my luggage, and I don’t have a curling iron.” Or when you have no place to put your contact lenses except in hotel drinking glasses, one glass for left and one for right. “Hey, don’t drink out of that glass it has my contact lens…oh, too late.” Travel makes you so appreciative of the little things.
9. Not-your-everyday experiences.
How often do you get the opportunity to walk in your socks on dirty, germy floors with strangers in their socks or in bare feet? Travel gives you a connectedness at security check points that you just don’t get when you stay at home.
10. Get frisked like a real criminal.
You’re given a pre-check, which means only your carry-on luggage goes through the screening process. But wait! The TSA notices a sharp object in your carry-on luggage. “Step aside,” TSA barks as an agent searches your luggage, opening everything inside. “What’s in here?” the agent asks peering at you suspiciously. “My headphones,” you say. He carefully unzips the pouch and finds headphones. “I think your zipper looked sharp when x-rayed, that’s all.” On your return flight, you don’t get a pre-check pass and are scanned in the machine. “Step aside,” a TSA agent barks. This is when they frisk you like a real criminal. As they touch your body they state out loud what they are touching (as if you don’t know?), “Touching your legs, touching your tummy…” I’m not sure if real criminals get this courtesy of being told the body part being touched. “I guess your necklace set the machine off, you’re good to go,” the TSA agent says. Remember, travel gives you the taste of a criminal’s life without having to wear an ankle monitor.
11. Buy souvenirs.
I have a red English telephone booth about six-inches tall and it has a slot to put coins in it. This is what is called a souvenir, meaning something you buy to remember your visit to a certain place. I bought this coin bank in Liverpool as my only other choice there was t-shirts with pictures of the Beatles emblazoned on them. I chose the bank since the Beatles said “all you need is love” and that’s not correct. I needed more than love to get to the British Isles. That’s why I chose the coin bank as the Beatles were not truthful. Love doesn’t help buy your airfare. At least not that I’m aware of. Now, if I had spotted this phone booth coin bank in the drugstore down the street from where I live, I would probably not buy it. Why would I want a red telephone booth bank from Maricopa, Arizona? You see the importance travel makes?
12. Learn the value of money.
After having a delicious breakfast of Bubbles and Squeak at the Heathrow Airport, I asked for the bill. Our server had gone on her break and so another server brought me the bill. I gave her a tip of 5 pounds. “Oh my gosh!” said the British waiter who didn’t serve me but was doing a favor for his co-worker. “Do you know how much 5 pounds in U.S. money is?” he asked. “Well, no,” I said. “It’s like close to 10 dollars. Do you really want to give her a $10 tip?” I thought about it and realized that although the service was good, a $10 tip for my breakfast seemed like a lot. I changed it to 3 pounds. The waiter seemed satisfied as he certainly didn’t want to see his co-worker get a big, fat tip due to American ignorance. Travel made me more familiar about pounds, and Euros. England has a lot of coins and I didn’t know what to do with them all when I returned home. I was told my local bank would only exchange paper money. I put the British coins in my red telephone booth bank. Thank goodness I found a use for it.
the end. ♥