1. The planning ritual – back and forth emails with ideas with my favorite travel companion, the one I am married to. We transform into little kids planning a sleepover. And, for those few (in most cases many) days, we are the happiest kids on earth. The world feels like our oyster and we let our dreams weave our itinerary
2. The excitement – every time I plan to travel, even if it is just a few hours travel, my stomach inexplicably ties up in knots, the night before, for the fear of weather keeping us on the ground or mechanical failures with the craft. I do not sleep the whole night, tossing and turning, checking weather on my phone and the “on-time” ratings of the airline. But, I love that feeling. It reminds me of how every trip is vital to my being and how bad I need them to live and be sane
3. The sight of people different than me – It’s almost liberating in a weird way to be a foreigner, to be an outsider wanting to gain acceptance and trying to breathe in the new place and to feel belonged where language, color and passport dictate that I am not
4. Be a local – one of my favorite things to do in a new country is act like a local. Eat their food, travel the way they do, even do groceries to feel like I have always been there. That’s the closest second to actually living in all these countries for a couple of years. Sigh!
5. The city walk – whether it was walking the narrow uneven streets of Cusco, or, walking the dark night at Red Lodge, a town remembers our footsteps so much better than the rubber from the tires of our taxis
6. The food – anyone who knows me knows that I love food. I believe food is a great unifier. And, as long as I shall live, I will try to expand the horizons of my taste buds. Every country that I am in, I strive to eat as much local food as I can and learn something from there. It’s fun reminiscing and evoking nostalgia into the husband and I, when we recreate a meal from a land beyond. Not too long back, we recreated Gallo Pinto, a rice dish we loved from our travels to Costa Rica and Nicaragua and memories crept in as quickly as the waft of the rice and beans concoction hit our nostrils
7. The smells – travel touches all my senses. It exposes all my senses to alter in ways I never think it could. Every time I travel to a new place, my olfactory senses are widened and their horizons opened a little more. Whether it is the heavenly smells emanating from the freshly baked Roosterkohek in a small South African town or the fishy smell at the little town of Portland in Maine. As I travel, more and more smells become palatable to me. It could sound trivial, but I grow as a person every single time