Day 1: Travelling

Author's Note: I have started the My 500 Words Challenge by Jeff Goins. Anything tagged as such will be part of this challenge, and often not edited or changed. It's just my stream of consciousness as I try and get the habit of writing going. Wish me luck, and hope I don't suck!

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Julia and I at our first stop in California, in Crescent City.

Julia and I at our first stop in California, in Crescent City.

I think travelling is one of the most important things someone can do. I grew up in a small town, where leaving Shelton meant going to the mall in Olympia that was a twenty minute drive away, or going to one of the casinos that was on either end of the city.

When I was growing up, I was constantly enchanted by works like Alice in Wonderland or The Chronicles of Narnia, or even this nineties’ movie called Magic Island where a tween falls into a magic book that has pirates and pizza growing on trees. There was something about ending up in a different world that always drew my attention. I can’t really say where my interest in fantasy came from; it’s something I’ve had ever since I was born.

As a kid, I would go to Seattle and spend weekends with my sister. I loved the city. That was the magic world that I got to travel to when real life was getting too dull. Since then, I have always considered travelling to a fantastic experience. My best friend and I recently drove down the California coast and these similar feelings welled up throughout the ride.

I don’t think we can fully understand each other as people if we don’t travel. Even if it’s just to another state, or the opposite coast. Experiencing somewhere different than what you’re used to, getting out of your comfort zone, is vital to the human experience.

Obviously, there are some people who do not travel. I don’t mean to put them down or anything, because sometimes the means to so are difficult to come by. I once knew a man from Shelton who had never ventured past Olympia until he was well into his forties!

Okay, that’s a little extreme, but you get my point.

With all of the talks of racism and homophobia going on in America right now, it makes me wonder how these people can find fault in others for something like appearance or preference. Part of that comes from the fear of the unknown, and I think being part of “the unknown” for most of my life, that’s something I’ve never fully grasped (but that’s a different blog post for a different time).

This fear of the unknown comes from a lack of experience. It makes sense. Doing anything we haven’t done before scares us, even if it’s perfectly safe. So when people have a limited experience of other people, it’s easy to dehumanize them and feel a need to protect against them.

Obviously, this is a very narrow-sighted view and only a small facet of the real issue. But in terms of experience, I think travel is the most helpful thing we can do. We should be going to other places and experiencing what life is like in places far from our own. Even somewhere like Canada which isn’t very far, is a massively different culture from our own. Having this experience, creating bonds with people, I think that’s something that everyone needs.