Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.Carol Burnett
I originally had planned to write a post about traveling to Richmond, but I was really moved by what happened in Paris April 15. I’m one of the lucky people who got to visit and tour Notre Dame Cathedral in its fully glory before the fire caused devastating damage.
While the fire was an accident, it is an absolute tragedy. One of the most iconic buildings, a piece of history, and a national treasure has been marred. Thanks to the heroic efforts of firefighters the fire is now under control but the damage extends to one of the spires and roof structure.
It Could Have Happened Anywhere
This got me thinking… Accidents happen. Deliberate attacks happen. New York City, among others, suffered at the hands of terrorists; Paris suffered an accidental fire, and ruins around the world are slowly picked apart by tourists and looters daily.
Historical and iconic sites experience an onslaught of weather, animals, people, and much more every single day. Old things fall apart. Natural disasters happen. Unfortunate events occur and all we can do is try to experience them while we can in a respectful manner that supports the preservation of these sites.
If You Can, Go
Why wait? What if that place you’ve been dreaming about visiting suddenly isn’t there anymore? What if you miss your chance to see that exhibit before it is retired? What if your favorite band breaks up?
These are unpleasant questions, but they are a sad truth. Instead of finding reasons you can’t get up and see those places, people, objects you’ve always want to see, why not find one tiny but significant reason to go? Find the means if it truly is significant to you. Make it happen.
It’s Worth It
It might be cheesy, but if it’s your dream, stop waiting for some extravagant sign. Don’t wait for disaster to strike to decide you want to finally buy that ticket. Whenever I find myself in a rut, I always ask “will I regret not doing this when I’m 95?”. The answer is usually yes.
Go see that monument. Climb that mountain. See the exhibit. Take the class. Even if the thing you want to travel to see most is several blocks away, make the time and effort to do so. Fill your life with moments that energize you.
It Might Not Be Perfect
Seeing the places you’ve built up for so long in your mind might not be as extravagant as the real experience but that doesn’t mean it’s not significant. The perfect place does not exist. There are near perfect places and spaces we make meaningful through our experiences and perceptions.
Keep an open mind. Remember that everything eventually changes. As travelers, we need to do our part to preserve and respect the places, objects, and events we see or visit so the next person can do the same.
It might not be perfect, but it will be special and sometimes that’s even better. You made it out of your comfort zone and did something for yourself or something that’s bigger than yourself. You got to see a new part of the world that might not be there tomorrow or even in an hour. You’ve experienced something the majority of people might never see, and that’s worth celebrating.
Go Make Memories Not Regrets
Yes, I’m well aware that is the cheesiest heading I could put..well almost… but it’s also true. I’m 1000% about living in the moment and doing what makes you happiest. To me, that’s the best way to live.
I’m betting that if you’re reading this, especially this far down, that travel also makes you ridiculously happy. My favorite memories are almost entirely travel related. I’ve never regretted traveling anywhere, especially to those that taught me something. I haven’t enjoyed every place I’ve visited, but I don’t regret going. I don’t regret experiencing something new and expanding my world view.
Do yourself a favor and make those plans you’ve been putting off for whatever reason. Go see it before it’s gone.
Take A Moment
Today we mourn the loss of an almost 1,000 year old masterpiece. If you feel inclined, take a moment to send Paris some good vibes. They lost a little bit of what made Paris Paris today and a huge chunk of masterfully created history. Luckily not a single person was hurt (as of my news updates right now) which rarely happens. That’s one positive we can take away from this.
Travel gives us a better understanding of who we are. It brings us to gather in a way that not much else can. As a result, the places we visit do the same. The next time you visit somewhere new, take an extra moment to appreciate it. You never know when it might disappear.
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.Victor Hugo