Thursday, 17 January 2013

Surely there are better ways of spending your money?

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Venice, Italy
 There really is no way of getting around the fact that travel doesn’t come cheap.  For the price of 12 hours sitting cramped and uncomfortable on a plane, you could instead buy household items that bring you at least 12 months of comfort.  So I guess when people give me those little looks (and yes, I do get those looks… sometimes even comments) about how my family choose to spend their money, I try to be at least a little bit understanding of their opinions.

If we didn’t holiday at least once a year, my life would probably look quite different to what it does now. The mortgage would be smaller for a start.  My wardrobe would include items I bought because I ‘wanted’ them rather than ‘needed’ them, my hair would probably be styled, I’d own more than one handbag and a few more pairs of shoes, and I certainly wouldn’t work the long, tiring hours that I do at present.  Heck, I might even drink more occasionally. 

But would I be happier? 

The benefits to travel: meeting beautiful people...  (Tour guide, Yangtse River, China)

...and visiting beautiful places (Mykonos, Greece)

Oia, Santorini, Greece

For me, travelling is like a drug; the new sights, sounds, smells and tastes all reminding me just how wonderful this world is and how lucky I am to be part of it.

There is an African proverb which states “To see once is worth more than hearing a hundred times.”   The world’s best history books can’t ever truly describe that feeling of awe and wonderment you get when standing in front of Xian’s Terracotta Army.  Nor can the world’s best photographers properly capture that essence of beauty which is Oia Village in Greece.  It is not until you stand in such a place, with eyes wide open, that you begin to fully comprehend what all the fuss is about.

Terracotta Army (Xian, China)
When I travel, I am alive.  I am positive.  I am hopeful.  I am passionate about life.  It is a side of my personality that I want the world to see more often.  It is a side of my personality that I want my husband and son to see more often.   

Who knows what is awaiting me around the corner?  I want to do things that make my family happy while we’re fortunate enough to be in the position to do so.

Just as importantly, travel gives me a whole new appreciation for this country that I call home.  Of course travel can be done in one’s own country and this is something my family and I do often.  However, it wasn’t until I left New Zealand for a while that I truly realised just how lucky I am to have a country like this to return home to. 

Us with our catch from prawn fishing.  (Huka Prawn Park, Taupo, NZ)
Milford Sound, NZ

So in answer to my rhetorical question above about whether I’d be happier spending the money on things closer to home.  Not likely.   Besides, a cocktail never tastes as good as it does when you’re on holiday.

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