“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” – Mark Twain
My relationship with travel has seemingly gotten more complicated as I’ve gotten older. I still love it and I make time and budget for it every year but it’s also a bit of a double edged sword.
Travelling to other places reminds me of just how disabled I am. It’s a daily reminder of what I can’t do. On the other hand though, it makes me appreciate how accessible the country and more specifically, the state I live in, are.
Travel also has a tendency to make me feel like a failure. There’s not a single trip I’ve been on (other than my first trip abroad to France when I was in high school) where I haven’t felt like I didn’t see enough or do enough. That I was too afraid and didn’t step out of my comfort zone enough. Every trip I tell myself I’m not going to do that anymore and then something happens, whether it be the language barrier or a bad experience, and I shut down and don’t want to leave the hotel. I still get a pit in my stomach when I think about how I’ve handled certain things on past trips.
Travel in general has a way of making me feel very left out. I see other people who are able to go wherever they want, whenever they want and I’m jealous of that because I don’t have that option. There are so many countries I will never be able to go to because they aren’t accessible enough and if I can’t really see that location, then what’s the point in going? I often feel on the outside of things in life because of my disability, but travel is definitely one of the biggest areas.
All that being said, I’m extremely thankful for all the travelling I’ve been able to do. I’ve created some really great memories and seen some really cool things. I know there are people who aren’t able to travel at all for one reason or another so I know how lucky I am to have been to the places I have, even if I never end up seeing that many countries.
I opened with that portion of a Mark Twain quote because I believe it wholeheartedly. Even though I may not see the world like others will, I can’t stress enough how important travelling outside your own country (and even your own state) is. It costs money, there’s no doubt about it. It also can be extremely stressful. But if you’re financially able to save up for it, it’s worth its weight in gold. The biggest way to combat our own ignorance is by getting out and seeing how cultures live and learning about other histories besides our own. There’s no trip too big or too small. I think some people don’t want to try combat that ignorance. I think they want to stay at home in their little bubble. But no matter how mounting my physical challenges are, I hope I will always make time to get out and see the world.