With graduation season upon us, the importance of travel as a life goal or “bucket list item” resurfaces in my mind as an ideal commencement speech topic! It seems a fitting time to revisit this post from a few years ago.
There's a great big world out there, with sights, people, cultures, food & climate very different from where you live. Getting out of our comfort zone to experience other places is always a good thing. You can appreciate all the good & even the not so good of your own city ("there's no place like home") after getting away to a new destination.
You can argue that there are many reasons NOT to travel, starting with not enough money or time, hassle of traveling, or being stranded with your family and away from your friends. But I submit that these are EXACTLY the reasons you should travel! There is never going to be the ideal time financially or at work to take a vacation and as we age, time becomes a precious commodity.
Kids will only be that certain age for a very, very short time and tackling an unknown destination together is a surefire way to create family memories that will last a lifetime.
I am not suggesting that you throw caution to the wind, mortgage the house and quit your job to travel! But schedule a few days or a week away from the office to gather your loved ones and go exploring. Right here in the United States are hundreds of must-see places to go - the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, California's coastline, Washington D.C., New York City, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, the list goes on and on!
When you have a little more time and funds, a trip out of the country will WOW everyone. The history and charm of Europe, the beauty of South America, the wilds of Africa - the Taj Mahal in India, the Opera House in Sydney, penguins in the Antarctic even! It is eye opening, and part of an overall education, to see firsthand how others live.
With a little advance preparation and planning, your travel agent can make your trip happen within your means.
I've found that a good formula for my family is to see a new destination every year and every once in a while, re-visit a familiar one, i.e. our favorite beach. I keep a map that is marked with all the places I've been fortunate enough to see, attached to an even longer list of all the places I want to go! And as a parent, I feel a responsibility to my kids to show them how much more there is to the world than their tiny corner of it.
While at Memphis State, I landed a dream job at Omega Travel. It was M to F, 1 to 5 in an office, not a restaurant or retail. I knew immediately I was in job heaven! My first assignment was the “brochure room.” Literally. Back then, every hotel, resort, tourist destination, city, state and country in the world produced brochures and sent them by the hundreds to travel agents. Our boxes of brochures hadn’t been touched in quite some time. . I learned a lot that first semester. First, I got the travel bug. Secondly, I learned how a travel agency operates from the ground floor up. Upon graduation, armed with a PR degree, I joined the travel industry and have never looked back. I love it! Today, I handle HR & Operations for Travelennium (name changed in 1999). Travel agencies in general, and mine in particular, have changed drastically. But we are still here and going strong. Over the years, I have been privileged to work with the finest, most knowledgeable travel professionals around. Now I’m blogging to share some of the tips and insider information that I have picked up over the years. Please share your comments or any travel questions!