Why do we travel?
In continuation to my ongoing blog series: “Why Do We Travel?” which features articles from my fellow blogger friends from around the world, it gives me immense pleasure to present to you: Jason and Desiree of The Bucket List Bums travel blog. On their blog, they share their travels and their passion of exploring culture and history with their readers. They encourage a community of like minded individuals who want to have more authentic, enriching travel experiences and off the beaten path itineraries. Along with their regular blog posts, Jason and Desiree also have a community book club where they share books that have inspired them to have more unique travels and educated them on the history, geography and lifestyles of people throughout the world. They make a point of traveling as much in their home state and country as they do abroad and encourage others to recognize and appreciate the hidden gems wherever they set out to explore, whether in their own back yard or the other side of the pond!
Let’s hear it from Jason and Desiree of The Bucket List Bums :
Travel really can be for anyone, it’s just a matter of having an open mind and a bit of sacrifice. We are not nomadic travelers. We travel as much as we can throughout the year and when we are not on trips we are back home working and living typical lives. Even amidst our busy work schedules and time constraints we have managed to travel to nearly 30 countries as well as traveling throughout the United States (our home country). These travels have not always come easy and have always required some amount of sacrifice, but the rewards have vastly outweighed the effort taken to make our dreams a reality.
The primary motivation that has really spiked in us a continued passion for traveling throughout the world is having enriching cultural experiences and great educational experiences. Of course we are always looking to have fun, see beautiful places and encounter a bit of adventure, but the most meaningful factor, the real why to our travels, has always been to learn. Regardless of where we travel, we seek out experiences that will immerse us in the culture and help us appreciate the unique traditions and history of the area. We feel strongly that reaching out to interact with the people, instead of merely being an outside observer looking in, will create more lasting, cherished memories in the long run and will aid in diminishing stereotypes about other groups of people. Everywhere we have traveled we have met wonderful people. Sometimes the people we met were naturally friendly and outgoing, other times we met those who perhaps seemed reserved at first but after a bit of interacting, opened up with hearts of gold.
When we first began traveling, our shared love of hiking and camping in the outdoors lead us to being in a lot of off the beaten path places. One such trip, while backpacking in remote areas of Utah, we were introduced to a fascinating survey on the ancient Native American history that is found throughout the region. We began to seek out hikes that lead to petroglyphs and pictographs. After learning more we expanded our exploration to the surrounding four corners region of the United States, camping and hiking near ancient ruins, and even attending the biggest Native American Pow Wow in North America. The experience was invaluable in educating us about a vibrant, yet often under recognized group of people. We were taught, humbled and inspired. The more we visited these hidden gems the more we were excited to learn and explore.
Sometimes, when traveling in places that seem really remote or foreign, it can be more intimidating seeking out cultural immersion. For us, the best way to ensure that we still have a successful experience is doing our research beforehand. Along with reading books about the history or culture, we invest time in hunting for activities that will offer a fun learning experience. Sometimes, if the timing is right, we find great cultural festivals or celebrations. Other times we opt out of staying in hotels for renting country cottages or apartments in residential neighborhoods and shopping at the local grocery store. Great cultural experiences and education can come from taking tours from local guides, eating at traditional restaurants recommended by a local or simply striking up a conversation with someone at a cafe. The research we put in always yields a more authentic experience. With that said, it is equally important to have an open mind to unexpected opportunities that may arise during the trip as those are sometimes the most fun and exciting.
The real value of having these great cultural experiences is recognized when we return home. We always try to implement some thought, idea, or habit we observed in our travels that we feel could improve our lives or the lives of others. While traveling in Scandinavia, recently, we read several books on hygge (A Danish practice which is essentially the art of being cozy) and observed the priority placed on gathering with friends and family, creating relaxed, hyggelig environments at home, work, and school. As Americans we find ourselves constantly working and busy and even feeling guilty, sometimes, about having a calm moment of enjoyment and peace. Though it seemed simple and obvious, this small implementation in our lives, which we had recognized and admired from the charming folks of Denmark (and Scandinavia in general), really brought more joy and contentment into our lives back home.
We have a lot of conviction for the value of travel for culture and education and feel that the more people explore the world, interact with and strive to develop a sense of understanding and respect for others, the more ones worldview is broadened. This sort of travel turns strangers into friends. It replaces fear of differences or the unknown with a comforting feeling that we are all a lot more alike than different. And ultimately, we think, it creates people who are more mindful of others and more appreciative and proud of their own culture. At least that will always be our goal and motivating drive to keep on exploring. With each trip the world feels just a little bit more like home.”