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 at 16000 feet in Nepal.

Attending the ceremonies of the Jakar festival in Bhutan.

Walking a few steps with Tibetan pilgrims around Mt Kailash.

Getting lost in the spectacular Escalante National Monument in Utah.

Here are a few unforgettable memories of my travels.

These days we can see photos of the most remote countries and beautiful places in the world on our computer, on television, in magazines and of course on all social medias. Why not just stay home and see the world from our sofa? Why travel?

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, inspired by cultures I discovered and   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. Curiosity is not asking Siri for the answer, but a  fundamental human skill. It comprises asking questions, reflecting and looking deeper for answers.

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. Once in a while, we have to wake up. 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 or tastes. We are invited to open our minds and hearts to something different as well as revive our sense of awe while soaking in a new experience. All these elements benefit our health and well-being.

Finally, 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 did not speak English nor did I speak Nepali. But we 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 person to person. During a trip, we are more likely to pause and simply greet another human being than in our busy life. 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 by foot, 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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Showing 2 comments
  • Kristine Crandall

    Very stimulating blog post. I’ve noticed that if I’m not traveling “inwardly” in conjunction with the outward travel (that is, having a clear intention for the trip’s purpose and deep commitment to being open to the experiences), then it’s not so beneficial for me or for those whom I encounter (it is shallow, not thoughtful). We are privileged to be able to travel, and there are costs to doing it (incl. effects on changing climate), so those are things I think about as well. You raise many wonderful, life-enriching aspects of travel — thank you!

  • Catherine Cussaguet

    Thank you Kristine!

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