In Travel

This winter, I participated in a weekly Toastmasters meeting in Bozeman. Toastmasters is a fun way to improve your public speaking skills.  https://www.toastmasters.org/

As I was asked to present a topic, I elected to talk about travel. Here is the script of my “Why travel” speech:

“Flying a hot air balloon at sunrise above the plain of Bagan. Reaching turquoise-blue color Tilicho lake, highest lake in the world at 16000 feet, in the Annapurnas of Nepal. Attending the ceremonies of the Jakar festival in Bhutan, surrounded by all the locals. Walking a few steps with Tibetan pilgrims around Mt Kailash. And getting lost in the spectacular Escalante National Monument in Utah. Here are a few unforgettable memories of my travel.

These days we can see photos of the most remote countries and beautiful places in the world in one click on our computer, on television, in magazines and of course on all social medias. So why travel? Why bother with the airlines and the airports? Why not just sit in front on your television and look at the world through a screen?
Because looking at a screen doesn’t touch our heart as much as travel does. Travel is an experience which moves us. Many people will tell you that it changed their life, me first. Since my first trip to the Himalayas, I started to question my way of living and working, compared to the ones of the local people I encountered.

It is in the nature of human beings to travel. Somebody said: “If humans weren’t travelers, the Olduvai Gorge would be pretty crowded these days.”…..
From the beginnings of time, people have explored new lands, first for survival but also for understanding of our planet and other civilizations. However, in our modern world, we tend to lose our sense of curiosity. Is curiosity just asking Siri for the answer? No, curiosity is a fundamental human need. It is asking questions, reflecting and looking deeper for answers. Once in a while, we have to wake up. If we don’t step out of our routines, our awareness of what it is to be human shrinks. We take our world for granted and look at our way of living as the only one possible. Travel gives us a different perspective, maybe also a greater appreciation for our comfort and a better understanding of our values.

Furthermore, there is now scientific data proving that people who travel are healthier. They are at lesser risk for heart attacks, their stress diminishes, their creativity increases, so does their happiness. Fun is a big part of travel and making new friends on the road is not unusual. Travel is also a vacation from our daily routines and habits. Our senses are highly stimulated: new sights, smells, sounds, tastes etc. We are invited to open our minds and hearts to something different as well as revive our sense of awe while soaking in our present experience. All these elements benefit our health and well-being.

I also believe that travel is an important way of developing peace in the world.
While traveling, we quickly learn that we, human beings, have very similar needs: family, love, health, work, food, education. We celebrate, we grieve, and even without words, we can communicate. A few years ago, I spent an entire afternoon with a little girl in Yara Gara, Mustang, Nepal, as I was staying at her house. Tsering and I smiled at each other, made gestures, walked and laughed, a day I will never forget. As travelers, we are ambassadors of our country beyond politics because we communicate human to human. We are more likely to pause and simply greet another human being. We take more time to listen and hopefully learn to bring these habits home.

“Once a year, go to a place you have never been before” says the Dalai Lama.
Whether to a far away country or to a new area in USA, whether on foot, by car, boat or airplane, travel stimulates our curiosity, enhances our health and contributes to peace in the world . When we travel, we come home with forever memories and an inspiration to re-create ourselves, which may inspire people around us as well.”

What are your reasons to travel?

See photos of my trips here: https://www.catherinecussaguet.com/portfolio/

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