Just like concerts are better live, so is travel.
Although we try, we cannot fully capture the wonder and beauty of the world in pictures or words. It must be experienced. And for those who, for whatever their reasons, choose to stay with what is familiar, they don’t know what they are missing. They cannot know what they’re missing.
Neither pictures nor words can truly capture the:
Magnificence of nature.
Amazing creations built by people.
Experience of living life in new cultures.
When I was a teenager a close family friend took me on a 10 day “graduation trip” to visit her home country of Jamaica. You may be thinking, “Jamaica, no big deal.” But this trip changed my view of the world and forever changed the way I choose to explore it.
There were many firsts on this trip, but it was the visit to the Montego Bay countryside where I saw poverty meet joy in a way I had never experienced (even in the homelessness and housing projects of my own home city). I spent time with the happiest children I have ever met (who became even more joyful when I happened to have enough sticks of gum to go around) in a small home with an outdoor bathroom, kitchen, and roaming chickens. They shared their home, their food and their stories.
I realized how small my worldview was; at that point I made a personal promise to try to experience a different country every year.
14 years, 21 countries later I am keeping that promise to myself. I’m not a “trust fund baby” and on most of my trips I wasn’t “roughing it”. But I have been intentional. And the more experiences I have the less I believe I know about the world and ironically, the more I learn about myself. On each new visit I am reminded that I didn’t know what I was missing.
How can you describe in pictures or words the true majesty of watching the sunrise from the top of Mt. Sinai where Moses received the Ten Commandments, dinner with Bedouin’s or swimming in the Red Sea?
It’s hard to describe the connection I felt to Morocco after having been welcomed into a family’s home for a tagine dinner and a visit to their spice shop or new friends who joined a hike up the Atlas Mountains where homes literally were built in the hills.
Amazing nature meets amazing God-given creativity. And although hang-gliding off the Swiss Alps is better than the most remarkable theme park ride, the experience of living life with people in new cultures is truly indescribable; it’s what traveling is all about.
Shopping for groceries in the local market or making shea butter in rural northern Ghana, sharing breakfast in the home of welcoming strangers in Paris, and making friends with taxi drivers in Chiang Mai who take us off the beaten path to the best local cuisine and hidden temple treasures.
Pictures and stories are important, but they cannot fully capture the experience of being there. It’s just so much better live.
Blog Contribution by Danelle Radney
Danelle has a love for travel, people and cultures. She’s a follower of Jesus.
about addressing the opportunity and achievement gaps in the U.S. She lives and works in
Washington DC with her husband. @danelleradney Danelle Radney