Just like everyone else, the way that we travel today is no where near how we started out earlier in our lives. If we were able to go back in time and were to bump into our former selves on a trip, we’d likely shake our heads and laugh at ourselves. Likewise, we will undoubtedly change again as more time passes and more experiences are compiled. Just like human evolution, there has been a very distinct evolution of the way that we travel that has taken us from crawling on all fours to walking upright on two feet.
- Phase 1 – After we first met, our jobs and careers sent us to several different states in different parts of the US. During those days, our children were young and we would explore the places where we lived, but we wouldn’t actively seek out everything that a location had to offer. We would save up for a big trip here or there to places like Disneyland where everyone would have that experience. These were simply family vacations for the sake of getting away and spending time together.
- Phase 2 – As our children got older, we started going on what we lovingly call “education vacations”. We made sure that we took at least one trip together each year and the destinations were always one of important historic significance or one of the country’s many national parks. Although they were certainly enjoyable, it was all about making sure that we all had an appreciation for our rich history. We wouldn’t, however, see much more than the museums, recreations, and natural wonders.
- Phase 3 – We became empty-nesters and for the first time wanted to see more of the world than our own backyard and had a combination of actual beach vacations in places like Mexico or seeing parts of Europe that we’d always dreamed of. We’d pack up several suitcases, drag a variety of clothes and shoes, and go to places that were wonderful, but didn’t take us out of comfort zone. We went to large cities in countries that were familiar to us and, for the most part, people spoke English. We were still taking vacations.
- Phase 4 – After getting our first taste of someplace exotic that challenged us in ways that we could have never expected, we gained a desire to see the world. The whole world, big places, small places, especially places where the people didn’t look like us, speak English, and the cultures were as foreign as the land itself. In our attempt to see more and go to places that aren’t always easy to reach, we learned to live out of a carry-on bag, only take what we need, and interact with the locals with respect and a true desire of understanding. We had become actual travelers.
- Phase 5 – We told our stories to all of our friends and shared our photographs with them. With their encouragement, we started to share our experiences on this humble site. We had become travel bloggers. Now we not only seek out the experiences of our previous phase, but knowing that we’re going to write about the places after our return has caused to do even more research, learn more, and push us to go to even more places that challenge us, like jungles, frozen lands, deserts, and more.
- Phase 6 – Obviously we’re not here yet, so life will only tell what this next phase will bring, but we know what we’d like. Having enjoyed seeing many countries on 5 different continents and getting the opportunity to live abroad, we would like to live in countries throughout the world, especially ones that will challenge us. Spending two weeks in a place is wonderful, but to spend a year or two would provide an even greater experience. At that point we would graduate from a traveler to a world citizen.
So, we started with family vacations, moved on to education vacations, then started to see more of the world, and have finally become what we would consider to be true travelers. Regardless of where our evolution takes us, we definitely appreciate the growth that we have experienced over the years. Some of you have probably been able to jump straight to being a traveler, but there is some nostalgia about having moved through each of the phases of our travel lives.