One of the first things people mentioned when I announcement my retirement was travel. “You’ll be able to travel and take advantage of the lower rates off-season,” they said. (As a teacher, we have to travel during peak times when it’s most expensive and most crowded.) I’ve done a fair bit of travelling over the years in Canada and in Europe, but I was in no rush to start travelling now.
Perhaps it was the overwhelming fear of the chaos that kept me from considering booking plane tickets? I listened to those news reports of all the lost luggage, the cancelled flights and the folks sleeping on the airport floor for days. No, thank you. I don’t need to travel. It’s safer and less chaotic at home.
In the early months of my retirement, I’m certain that the idea of sitting in a stuffy airplane cabin with folks who might have Covid, also discouraged me from flying. I didn’t need to travel anywhere to de-stress or escape from my work. I’d already done that by retiring.
Reasons Why I Travelled
Recently, I realized that I had forgotten about the benefits of travel. I was only focusing on the bumps. When I looked back on the trips that we’ve gone on, they contain some of my most significant memories. They are times when I’ve challenged myself to do new things that I would never have done if I’d stayed at home. In Nanaimo, B.C. I faced my fear of heights and went treetop walking and zip-lining with my family. In Newfoundland’s Gros Morne park*, I hiked to the top of a mountain and had a lovely chat with another hiker about the state of world politics. I’ve been to archeological sites in Crete and museums all over the place. My travels rarely involve a beach, unless I’m combing through the tide pools for shells. Why would I deny myself more memories like these?
It Will Not Go Smoothly, But That’s Ok
I’m preparing myself for the bumps of travel. I know that they are inevitable, and as with all of life, it’s important to work on accepting reality. I know there will be delayed flights, hotel mix-ups and things will get lost. But if my husband hadn’t lost his phone in a taxi in Crete, we would never have experienced how strangers can come together to help one another. My life is full of stories like that, thanks to travel. I need to travel now. It’s time.