While thinking about writing this blog, I started looking back to the many opportunities I have had to travel over the years. I have been to 6 countries and all but a few states.
I didn’t grow up traveling. My dad was a truck driver and the last thing he wanted to do was go for a “Sunday” drive with mom and 5 kids piled into our small car! Vacations at my house were when dad and mom went away for a week and we stayed home with a babysitter.
My first bus trip was on my Senior class trip to NYC. I had never stayed in a hotel or seen so many different people from all over the world. I loved the lights and excitement of the bustling city. As an impressionable 18-year-old, that was my first peek at the world and I was hooked!
In general, my approach to life has been to be prepared, ie. fix things when they break, get things checked before they breakdown, make sure I have the right equipment for the weather (snow shovel, blankets), etc. When planning to travel, I want the appropriate shoes, gear, clothes, maps and always several flashlights. I become motivated to train to get into shape and stay healthy. That being said, I am now more flexible and accepting when things don’t go as planned.
In 2017, I had the opportunity to backpack across Spain on a 1,000-year-old pilgrimage trail called the El Camino de Santiago. My friend Anne had been wanting to do this walk for a few years, so she asked me to go with her. When sharing the possibility of walking the El Camino, a friend told me that although opportunities to travel may come up, most people do not take them. I realized that I have often “jumped right in” when I got the chance, even though I am NOT a brave person and I didn’t always realize all that would be involved. My trips have been hard sometimes, but amazing!
What I have learned from my travels so far, is how these trips change me. When I return home and am looking at pictures and sharing my experiences with others, I realize how much I have accomplished and how much I have grown spiritually. I have been able to meet new people, extend myself mentally and physically, and definitely function out of my comfort zone! I know that I can live out of my backpack, carrying 18 pounds for a month, do better when I don’t have expectations, can live in the moment, and that we humans are more alike than different.
So, when you travel are you your same self, someone else, or your real self? We certainly can see ourselves in a different way when meeting new people, in new settings, or even when traveling with people we know.
HAPPY TRAILS! BUEN CAMINO! BON VOYAGE!
Originally from NW Ohio, Ruthie has lived in Mansfield for 44 years. She has worked as a sign language interpreter for the deaf for 34 years and is now mostly retired. She has two grown sons, one daughter-in-law, one granddaughter, and one great-granddaughter. Ruthie loves to cycle, hike, read, sing and TRAVEL!