It’s no secret that one of the big reasons I wanted to live in Europe was my love of travel and my desire to see and experience as many places as possible.
Now that I live over here, I can get just about anywhere in Europe in less than three hours – so not only can I easily explore new places, I can easily return to places I’ve visited previously and loved. During this past year I was able to do return visits to Paris, London, Prague and Vienna and also got to see Belfast, Toulouse, Copenhagen and Budapest for the first time.
I recently went on one of the best trips of my life – a river cruise from Prague to Budapest. For many reasons, this trip was special. The destinations were amazing. The food was perfection. And don’t even get me started on the wine. But the real reason this vacation was a stand-out was the people. Many of the people I had become good friends with two years ago on another river cruise, and this was a sort of reunion. And I also met some new people who I think will be my friends for life.
One of those new friends was a young man who had never before been to Europe, or anywhere internationally – a series of synchronous events led him to taking this cruise with his best friend. And I have to tell you, I loved seeing him see Europe for the first time. I loved seeing him fall in love with Europe and I think fall in love with travel. It took me back to my first trip to Europe and my own realization that seeing the world was now a priority in my life.
Hans Christian Anderson said “To travel is to live.” And I firmly believe that to be true. I never feel more alive than when I am traveling. My travels have changed me, have made me who I am today. They lead me to Dublin.
I know that for many people, travel is not a priority – there are other, possibly more important things keeping them from seeing the world. And some just have no interest, they are happy where they are. I feel like these people are missing out – I don’t mean this to sound elitist or preachy, but it’s how I feel. To not travel is to limit your world view, limit the people you can meet, limit the person you can become.
Before his trip, my new friend probably would have disagreed with me but I think now, having experienced it, he would wholeheartedly agree.