After years of pursuing a goal to visit 100 countries in my lifetime, I understand precisely what Theroux meant. Travel has been a perpetual source of discovery and personal growth; an endless collage of people, places, events, architecture, art, history, cuisine, literature and personalities.
Everyone who travels escapes from the daily rhythms of their lives. And since the journey of life is a continuum, so, too, is the evolution of a traveler’s soul; an eternal metamorphosis.
Every individual, no matter how often they have traveled, has his or her own favorite experience(s), and each has a story to tell.
It’s all about learning how other cultures view our big blue marble as it spins through space and how different perspectives evolve. It’s a search for knowledge and a greater understanding of ourselves. It’s about the joy of sharing the stories we encounter with anyone willing to listen.
Here are three of my favorite traveler’s things that I am thankful for Thanksgiving.
Balconies — In Italian Days, the late Barbara Grizzuti Harrison described the seductiveness of balconies, especially those that are hidden so as to allow the anonymous, voyeuristic pleasure of watching the world down below.
A great balcony reveals a continuous pageant of life.
Sidewalk Cafes – They have much the same appeal as a balcony only they can be viewed from street level. While anonymity is still possible, at a sidewalk café you also become an active participant in the eternal, ever-changing parade of humanity. It’s a grand stage where the curtain is always up and the drama allows you to be one of the actors.
Early Mornings — So influential is travel for me that I have even come to understand how certain times of day affect my attitude. I adore the serene, soothing freshness of a new day. A cool morning in a foreign land is a time of renewal.
There is an indescribable optimism in the precious golden moments when the veil of night lifts to reveal the dewiness of daybreak; when an unblemished world beckons through a scrim of earth-clinging clouds; gentle breezes whisper through flowers and trees, nourished by tiny, clear droplets of moisture.
The time of day when a peach-colored sun is little more than a formless shape in the sky, innocent, subdued and dispersing gradations of light across the horizon. Birds are hushed silhouettes with wings, made all the more distinct by the backlit palette of a delicate pastel sky; fleeting moments that will swiftly yield to the turmoil of commerce and enterprise.
Early mornings are that slice of the day when tranquility prevails with muffled sounds unify into a single uplifting serenade that introduces the sunrise. Daybreak is a symphony for the soul.
As Edith Wharton once expressed, “The foreground is the property of the guidebook and of its product, the mechanical sightseer; the background, that of the dawdler, the dreamer and the serious student. Dawdle…”
Travel is Thanksgiving for a never-ending quest to discover your own personal list of favorite things. The gates are open, and they are beckoning.
Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in
Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.
As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 70 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in
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