For many families, summer is the time when the car is packed, coolers are filled with sandwiches and drinks, and the entire clan squeezes into the vehicle to travel. In this part of the country, many families travel west to see Mt. Rushmore, the Rockies, Yellowstone Park or the Pacific Ocean. President Ulysses S. Grant established Yellowstone as the first National Park in 1872, and during the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt, 5 additional parks were added, bringing the total National Park System to 10. Today, there are 58 National Parks; what one author referred to as “America’s best idea.” When I was a young man, I visited many of these parks when I traveled from school to home back to school again. In fact, to this day, I maintain a map of the United States, highlighting the roads I’ve traveled and the places I’ve seen.
Whether that travel is abroad or domestic, travel opens our world. I’ve often thought that travel is the best education a person can receive. Travel is the best education a person can receive. Click To Tweet
It’s when we travel that we see different places and cultures, observe customs other than our own, and where we often meet people who may be very different from us and, yet, very much the same.
My family and I recently returned from a trip to the west coast. Our boys experienced the radical diversity that is now downtown Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington; the quaint tidiness that remains with Victoria, B.C., the breathtaking beauty of Mt. Rainier National Park, and the silencing awe that comes from watching a pod of transient Orca whales feeding in Puget Sound.
Ours was just a quick trip—only 7 days; but I think it changed all of us in some important ways. The boys are still talking about the “unique” guy who was high on more than his life as he danced in front of the intersection at the Voodoo Doughnut shop in Portland, and I still can’t get over the number of families from central Asia who made the three hour trip from Seattle to hike Mt. Rainier. Conversation about the homeless population in both Portland and Seattle still makes its way into our family discourse as well.
Of course, we’ll not really know what those changes are until years from now when, hopefully, everyone will be gathered around for a dinner or celebration and someone will begin reminiscing about our unexpected surprise on Puget Sound, or something else that may have transpired when mom and dad weren’t around!
What are the intangible lesson’s you or your family has learned while traveling?