A Traveler’s Thoughts on…. Traveling

Every time I travel, I’m struck with the same line of thinking.

First, it’s amazing to me that I can hop on a bus and travel a couple hours with a group of complete strangers, and we’re all traveling for our own unique purposes. I think there’s a certain beauty in that. Of the 40-some odd people on this Greyhound bus traveling down the highway, how many are headed home, and how many are going off to some wonderful vacation or trip? How many are headed towards a final destination, and how many are simply headed to a crossover, a layover along the way? We’re all on our own journeys, but for this moment – whether it’s an hour or six hours – we’re all going in the same direction.

And we’re all going for different reasons. A handful may be off on a vacation, while others are tidied up for a business or work-related trip. Someone may be headed to visit family members they haven’t seen in ages; to celebrate a wedding or a birth, or to mourn at a funeral. Others may be on the journey returning home from such events. I find the beauty in that; we’re all here for different purposes and at different points along our own individual maps, but this is the point where we all intersect.

When we reach our destination, we’ll all be headed off in our own directions, and it’s likely that I’ll never see most of these people again in my lifetime, unless our paths somehow happen to cross. Some will continue their journey with a whole new set of companions on the next leg of the trip, while for others, this is the end of the line. Either way, this journey is ours together, for this moment.

I’m also struck with the fact that while I’m off to visit a city that may be hundreds of miles from home, I’m a tourist; a visitor, a temporary occupant. But there are people who have made lives there, who have constructed a paradigm and grounded themselves in this spot, whereas I’m just a fleeting pushpin on that spot of the map.

While I’m basking in the glory of the tourist attractions like the Capitol Building and all the memorials in DC, there are people who live here daily. I wonder if, to them, walking by these attractions is no big deal anymore. I wonder if they see the White House and think “Yep, that’s there,” whereas I pass and think “Wow! How incredible! The PRESIDENT lives there!” That goes for any city. I wonder if the people who live in Pittsburgh every day truly appreciate the majestic beauty of the yellow bridges and the three rivers; I wonder if the people in Toronto recognize the beauty of that skyline and all the amazing things it holds, etc.

That makes me wonder, then, what I could be missing about my own hometown. Do I appreciate it the same way that tourists may? Or do they see something else, something deeper, that has simply become ingrained in my mind due to living here for so long?

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