I love to travel. There is the discovery of new and unknown places or on the contrary, the returns to our favorite and familiar spots. What is perhaps my most favorite part about traveling is the sense of connection I get. A connection with the rest of the world!

There is a great sense of satisfaction in traveling the world, meeting new people, learning about other cultures, and their traditions and customs. I always feel refreshed by visiting new destinations. (Yes, I too feel like I need another vacation as soon as I arrive home, however, it serves like a food for my mind in months to come). It is the experiences that later on typically create the best memories.

Geography, history and political science are all much better taught AND learned when lived-through rather than sitting in a dull class. Plus, when you meet new people, these “lessons” become effortless conversations and perhaps even new bonds. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and ask questions about their countries, towns, places they come from. You will be surprised how many interesting stories you may end up hearing. People typically like to speak about their country, about their origin and about what it is that they are proud of.

Remember, that what the media is presenting to us isn’t always exactly true to the real atmosphere and real conditions of a country. It is always helpful to know at least the most significant historical events of a nation before passing on a judgment. It is also good to remember, that the local, middle class population may be living a life just like us, dealing with the daily struggle, taking care of their loved ones and they have nothing to do with what their politicians are currently trying to approve, negotiate or prohibit.

When you travel to a foreign country, you will be inevitably pushed to see the local tourist attractions and big and known monuments. If your time and plans permit, try to also visit the countryside, the small towns and observe the every-day kind of life. There is beauty in the small rural areas and there is many times an incredible sense of peace once you leave the city gates or once you get off the main highways.

As a girl, I used nature as my therapist. I’d take a walk by the river, climbed on an accessible rock to watch sunset, go mushroom picking in the forests surrounding my home town. Sometimes you need to travel, discover new places, meet people and re-connect with the world. And sometimes, you also need to do that in order to appreciate what may have been around you all this time and you were just taking it for granted.

photo credit / Duke Morse Photography