The sun setting above the horizon of the Serengeti. The leaping antelope, the unexpectedness of a new day’s events and the hot sun. The hot air balloon ride, everything beneath; microscopic. A meal in the grasslands with elephants walking by. A pride of lions, resting under a tree, the cubs playing nearby.
Hiking up to a lighthouse that sits majestically on a rugged mountainside that plunges into the ocean dramatically on both sides. The only companions, birds, and sheep. Losing the track and treading your own path to make it back on time.
Walking up to the pier, for a local evening, indulging in local food, music, and culture. Cobblestone streets, a man playing the violin down the street and an ice cream in your hand.
Off-roading to a place not mentioned on a map or in the books, just for the thrill of it. Sleeping to a green and black landscape, only waking up to find it’s now all white. Snow and ice making it look like a different planet.
Walking several kilometers into a rugged and black terrain only to reach a crashed plane in the middle of nowhere.
Driving in darkness, constantly looking out for the Aurora Borealis, and chasing them once found.
Snorkeling in the ocean, to find another world, completely different to ours; thriving. The little fish swim away from you, the seaweed tickling your feet and the salinity on your skin.
The tall skyscrapers, a concrete jungle. A different world, a different culture and overwhelming, altogether. The sounds of sirens and honks, the hustle-bustle of a city.
Beaches, white and endless, Caribbean music playing around. The water, the most striking turquoise and girls with braided hair.
The old town square, the fragrance of oranges, the smell of freshly baked bread and traditional instruments being played in the distance. The streets dimly lit by the street lamps and paintings lined along in various hues of colors, bright and beautiful. A house in the corner, covered in pink bougainvillea.
The different taste of common food, trying something new and something you never expected to try.
The cool breeze blowing on your face, the raindrops on your skin and the sunshine after a cloudy day. The bright rainbows, the birds and their song.
The light filtering through the stained glass windows at the church. The sound of the church bells echoing through the hills.
Would you normally pay attention to the tiniest of details? Do you usually ignore the experience of a country, just so you can do all the metropolitan things you’d do back home too?
Once you come back home, or even when you’re on your way back home, sit and reflect on what you’ve gained or learned on your trip. By gains, I mean not the various things you buy but the experience. Has the trip made you richer and wiser in the knowledge of the world, have you in any way grown as a human being?
Once you ask yourself these few questions and your answer is YES, then your trip has been enriching in many ways. Travel is, therefore, a process of growth.