memory, opinion, travel

It’s all About the Experience, NOT the Destination

One thing I have learned in my travels is that it isn’t always the place you remember… you remember the experiences, the people. I was thinking back to a trip that I did last year:

 My partner and I decided to take the North Coast 500 road trip around the coast of Scotland (where my partner is from). I had planned out the route on MyMaps and we packed the car ready to go camping.
Now all of the plans went out the window when we spend 4 hours at Culloden. (This is to be expected from any travel as things almost never go to plan and I am a SUCKER for historical sites). Anyways, so we camp our way around night after night- talking non-stop with my maps in hand-

see there is NO service once you get up too far into the Highlands. No Google Maps. No GPS. No YouTube playlist. There won’t be anything for HOURS but gorgeous scenery and sheep. Lots of sheep. Did I mention there was sheep? I digress.
I would try the radio every so often just to see and when I turned on the radio one of the various times there was actually SOMETHING! I fiddled excitedly (and almost violently…) with the scanner to try and get the best sounding feed and I got it!
There was a quiz happening.
It was asking questions about movies, songs, celebrities… mostly pop-culture stuff. My partner and I would debate, laugh, celebrate our “correct answer victories” and shame the other if they got an answer wrong- it was amazing. We got so lost and caught up in the 30 minutes of crackly-breaking up-fuzzy words.
Yes, we saw castles, cliff edges, sheep, highland cows, glacial pools, hit amazing campsites… did I mention we saw sheep?
But the number one memory that always comes to mind in the incredible road-trip were those 30 minutes of pure fun that we had together thanks to some random radio station in the Scottish Highlands.

We are always so focused on getting somewhere. We see a picture of a beach in Maui or watch a commercial about tours in Spain and we NEED to go. But Why?
I think we get goal-oriented about the wrong things. We immediately get drawn to a place… but not to an experience. I couldn’t have guessed that there was going to be this quiz over the radio, but the experience was to explore more of Chris’ country with him and go camping around Scotland.
For me it has always been important to let those moments happen. Enjoy a museum, go camping, and take the time to experience where you are. Even if you are at home there is always something to look around, appreciate, and experience.
Going to another place at all may be experience enough for some. Getting out of their comfort zone, eating new foods, hearing new accents or languages- those are all still about those experiences and not about the place.

London. Barcelona. Paris. Bangkok. They are just cities, names of places that you have a pre-conceived notion of what it might be like.
The experience is what you do, see, eat, and who you spend your time with. So if you had a great time, remember it for the time it was, not the place you had it in. Same thing goes if you go to a place and don’t like it- you just had a negative experience there, the place itself had nothing to do with it.
Experience your life. Wherever you are and appreciate the little moments- they stick better than you think.

“Why not just live in the moment, especially if it has a good beat?”
― 
Goldie Hawn

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