Inspiration motivates. Inspiration helps create. Inspiration facilitates progress toward goals. But where does it come from? Sometimes inspiration will come out of the blue like a gift. More often, you have to be intentional about finding your inspiration. It can come from a variety of sources and can look very different from person to person. Some find inspiration from words, and have quotes framed and hanging where they can read them daily. Others are inspired by people, and so they find time to connect with those people who inspire them. It can be anything from friends, family, culture or even a walk down the block. Wherever it comes from, it takes you to where you need to go and places you didn’t even know you needed to go. Traveling to somewhere new inspires me, empowers me and transforms my day to day life helping me to remember why I do what I do. A trip to the cleaners, not so much. I don’t travel alone. U.S. traveling citizen outbound totaled 7.3 million travelers for the month and 32.6 million YTD. Why do we travel? Do we travel to satisfy curiosity? Christopher Columbus was curious. To relax? A beautiful beach makes the perfect vacation for lots of travelers. Enrich our lives with culture? Culture means local cuisine, right? Traveling somewhere takes us out of our box (curiosity) and it’s those times when you can take a step back (relax) to see and understand social and environmental differences (culture).
I love to ensconce myself in different cultures or society. Living in the U.S. in a future oriented environment where technology is king, newer and bigger buildings surround us as well as a great deal of optimism about future progress. Society prefers the new, the revolutionary, the fresh to the old. People greet you with “What’s new?” It’s refreshing to visit past oriented societies concerned with traditional values and ways of doing things. They look to the past for inspiration, motivation, sustenance, hope, guidance and direction. Present oriented environment see the past as passed and the future as uncertain so we had better be focused on today. In these different cultures people have a different pace of life. Go for coffee. Are you in an old cozy coffee-espresso cafe or do you feel right at home in Starbucks drinking organic coffee? See how long you wait to be seated and served, watch how fast people walk by and easily determine which is the right orientation. It seems to me that we should aspire to be a combination of past, present and future. Coffee helps.
The word tourism derives from the verb tour meaning “travel.” Travelers, whether alone or in a group, date back to ancient times. We, the wandering Jews, are no strangers to travel. I’m not one to take this deeper and say we are always traveling and have yet to reach our final destination, oh wait I just said it. And I’m no Berel Wein so I’ll skip the history lesson and won’t take you through the time of Avraham traveling or the shvatim to Mitzrayim or how we travelled through the desert for oh so long. But I will point out that 3 times a year we were Oleh Liregel so this travel bug(refer to definition below) is in our blood. We were at the forefront of what would later become known as religious tourism.
At this past Awesome Avinu Malkeinu, Charlie Harrari asks why farmers had to make the long travel to Yerushalayim to give their Maaser. He says something along these lines. It wasn’t simply because the Leviim and Kohanim needed the maaser, it was also because the farmer needed it for his spiritual growth. Him seeing how people were living their lives, praying at the kotel, doing mitzvot helped strengthen his emuna and inspire him to follow suit upon his return home. Each time I travel I learn something new. I find myself not just going through life instead growing through life. Seeing it for yourself brings a healthy dose of reality and that’s the same for everybody. You can read about the Coliseum in Italy. But to stand in the ruins where 10,000 Jews were transported as slaves to help build the Coliseum, and where the Roman victory over the Jews was etched in stone is an image of history frozen in time that you will remember forever. For those who want a truly religious experience, there is a whole world of opportunity.Travel will simply make you a more well-rounded human being. Which is really the goal, isn’t it?
There are some dangers on the traveler’s way and I am here to help you try to avoid them. Nothing makes me happier than the feeling I get when embarking on a new adventure. I find myself planning my next trip while on current trip. In between trips I am constantly dreaming of my next trip (this frequently occurs right in between crazy hour and homework time.) Beware of travel bug an illness or a disease which compels the infected person with the desire to travel. Please note that, although I have used words like “illness” and “disease” to describe it, the term “travel bug” itself does not have any unfavorable association.
While taking off on your trip there are a few concerns to be aware of. The first is very basic, perhaps a bit crude but I have found paying attention to these minute details while may not make your traveling experience per se more pleasant, others around you will certainly be appreciative. Travel breath The stale and sour smelling breath that occurs after one has been traveling for a number of hours. Usually caused by insufficient fluids and made worse by stale air in a car or airplane. (In worst cases travel breath is coupled with “Airport Sweat” but I dare not even go there.) I implore you to think of others when your stewardess or steward offers you a drink. Do not reply with a polite “no thanks” because as I hope you have now learned you surely are not being polite to anyone at all. Stock up on Travel sized toothpastes, and odor repellant forces. They’re exceptionally useful, so teensy- weensy adorable looking and cost like a dollar, undeniably an insignificant yet significant investment.
The advice above is quite helpful in trying to avoid Travel Cranky the act of feeling grouchy, irritated and ill-tempered after travel. This usually occurs after traveling a long distance, that include unavoidable delays, sitting in the same position and breathing air conditioned recycled air. I have been prone to this myself and I’m not pretty. Upon landing, a quick pick me up seasonal Starbucks latte puts me in a state of complete bliss, wonderfulness, and a deep sense that life is absolutely amazing and perfect. A wave of relief washes over me and I am thankful that I have not fallen susceptible to Travel Fever
“Travel Fever (not to be confused with the aforementioned travel bug), a type of social disorder, is a potentially disabling condition. People with TF are plagued by an assortment of unpleasant symptoms that cause social and professional ramifications from ruined business opportunities to damaged friendships and inappropriate altercations with strangers. Symptoms include unpleasant disposition, bloodshot eyes, reduced cognitive abilities, uncontrollable drooling, garbled speech, irrational outbursts and chronic neck fatigue. Very little is available on TF, but some physicians and most flight attendants agree, TF is very real. TF is usually caused by long periods of travel in uncomfortable conditions with little or no sleep. In some studies, poorly designed travel pillows were noted to be a major contributing factor to the onset of TF.” Quoted from a very real medical journal.
There are many different personalities you will meet during your travels. Meet the Travelitist, Someone who acts like they’re better than another by virtue of having traveled to more places, or the same amount of places more frequently. With an air of confidence that can only be classified as Travelattude, witth 20 minutes to boarding time this person can swagger up to the elite security line, breezily pass through the metal detectors without removing shoes, belts or watch (or waiting for their wife who doesn’t have the same travel status because she is home taking care of house and kids), order and eat breakfast, shave, change clothes, and still be the first to board the flight. He will then, of course, sit in first class with his free upgrade and enjoy the free snacks and drinks (his wife takes his first class seat as revenge, all is fair again). Upon landing this person quickly departs the plane and airport without reading a single sign or showing any hesitation. Upon two Travelitists meeting, they immediately compete for superiority. You can cut the tension of Travel Arrogance with a plastic knife. This can happen when choosing the fastest line, vying for the last upgraded seat, or comparing status on airlines. Alternative methods of competition arise when the Travelitists share travel horror stories. The closer to death the better ranking the story receives.
Everyone loves a Travelista. She is like a fashionista but for travel. The Travelista is always up on the latest fashion trends and consistently looks amazing even after a 12 hour flight. She wears a crisp white shirt that stays clean and wrinkle free with an effortless simplicity that makes it look like a chic and comfortable travel ensemble. The Travelista is always traveling to some new and exotic locale, luxurious trips to places like Monaco and the Maldives, jetting off on long weekends to explore Europe or far-flung places like Sri Lanka, Galapagos, Bali or outlet shopping in Florence, Italy. She sleeps peacefully 30,000 miles high. She never drools. A Travelista packs just the right amount of clothing, is confident enough to repeat outfits in direct contrast to our Travalanche of suitcases and extra hand held bags. We can only wish to emulate her but alas we cannot. Our tuna sandwiches covered in flashes of silver foil do not allow it.
On a recent trip the stewardess served us our kosher meal first, soon to be followed by an uproar on the plane protesting the fumes of our fried fish that my travel sized sprays had no power to conceal. Yes, embarrassing stories like these are unavoidable and I would love to hear your stories as well. I plan to blog about some places I have visited and would love to incorporate your experiences. For the time being, I will continue to dream about my next destination. After all, I can only hope that travel will simply make me a more well-rounded human being. Which is really the goal, isn’t it?
Riki Wagh, forever 27, an interior designer based out of New York who discovers fabulous new stores, restaurants, and art galleries daily. While traveling and exploring, she find constant inspiration for her clientele. This blog will serve as both a journal and a guide for you to travel and enjoy life in style. She finds herself feeling incredibly inspired and enriched as a committed Ohr Naava volunteer. Ohr Naava volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless. And priceless is the satisfaction and fulfillment one gets from being an Ohr Naava volunteer!