What You Bring to Your Travel
Rainbows' existence depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes. To animals, without this, the rainbow does not exist.
But, you and I can bring so much to our travel. The much includes our previous trips, our own unique experiences, our world view, our culture, our education, and just the things that make us who we are. So you don't look at the rainbow. You recreate it.
That sentence is the theme of more meaningful travel. Everybody looks at the same thing but what you see depends on what you bring to the place.
As an example, I did my homework on Ephesus when we planned to travel to Turkey. Because of my research, we saw the home of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Roman Theatre where St. Paul preached, and where St. John the Apostle was buried. The tour did not include Mary's home, but we negotiated with the guide, who was delighted to comply as long as we go to a shop that weaves and sells carpets. We had significant experiences in both places that we ended up buying a rug.
At the Ephesus' main street, I imagined Cleopatra walking in the main road, passing by the rich's magnificent houses. I saw Romans and ancient Greeks trudging among their city at different times, converging at certain moments in the public bath after their slaves have warmed the seats. Moreover, English imperialists built railways to access the marvellous marbles and scuttled them back to England.
My husband and I are history majors, so we have substantial knowledge of the history that took place here. But if you're not, get a guide.
A very knowledgeable guide can stretch your imagination. Once in Luxor, the guide got us reading some of the hieroglyphics that we recognized many of the hieroglyphics by the time we left the place. If we have not prepared, we would just have seen a jumble of ancient ruins, broken stones and shuffling tourists.
Another experience was in South Africa. How much more South Africa meant to us when we steeped ourselves in the process. As we roam Capetown, we did it with the Boers as we read their tale in Michener's, The Covenant. We read a vibrant story of people living what is now history.
Planning our trip to Penang, I just finished Amitav Ghosh with interesting characters set in the sub-continent, and I look forward to seeing traces of what Malaya was then. We even booked ourselves in the Eastern and Oriental Hotel established in 1885 by the Sarkies Brothers. Maybe, our memory can go back to the time when Rudyard Kipling stayed there.
So, before you travel, research the places you plan to visit. Ask people who had been to these places to help you plan your itinerary. Read books on those places or novels set on some of the famous sites. See these places from the eyes of other people.
There are so many perspectives to a place, a person, a picture, an art, and history that we use to give more meaning to what we enjoy best in our travel.
Only your imagination limits your travel. Let your imagination soar to varying heights.