The Joy of Travel: Just Say Yes!
The magical Roussanou Monastery at Meteora in central Greece. Photograph @ Stewart M. Green
Travel is one of the best ways to expand your boundaries, to show yourself what's possible, and to move beyond the comfort zone of hearth and home. It takes effort to overcome barriers and the impediments to going somewhere. It takes setting a goal and setting time and cash aside. But the rewards are commensurate with your efforts.
Travel changes your outlook on life and the world, it takes you beyond country and patriotism and the insular American smugness. Your trip turns you into a vagabond, a traveler, an explorer. It opens you to a vast realm of possibilities, offering new places, new friends, and new attitudes.
As a climber, there's the opportunity to move beyond the tourist circuit of cities and museums. Those are important, yes, but when you travel on back roads to off-the-beaten track places and remote cliffs on the edges of the map you become not just a tourist but a temporary local.
You can stay home, tying yourself to house, career, family, and a safe future, doing what Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden by spending "the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it."
Or you can say Yes, just like you might on a bold lead on a climbing route, and go for it.
The Penon de Ifach rises above the beach at Calpe on Spain's Mediterranean coast. Photo @ Stewart M. Green