For me, the beauty of travel is how even mundane days at home are enlivened by those memories. Random snippets of news or information send my mind to intriguing places I've visited and experiences I had there.
When I noticed that my jeans were made in Jordan, my mind leaped to Petra, the city carved into rocks. I visited a couple of years ago during a trip to Israel.
When I read a story about Israel in the local paper, I found myself thinking about the history and modernity I experienced there, from the museums to the food markets to the high-fashion stores.
And when I heard the word "geothermal" on the radio recently, I thought about the geothermal lagoon in Iceland where people go all year round to soak, float and get massages with the lagoon's silica mud. And where, weirdly enough, I met a buyer of Icelandic lamb for the Whole Foods supermarket chain. Yes, while floating in the lagoon.
Our minds wander hundreds of places all day long. It feels like a gift to travel the world in some of those wanderings. In between the thoughts about the to-do list, the work obligations, the worries.
Travel is not only about a week or two weeks away. It is about a day-to-day life enriched. Along with a way to have a deeper understanding of the world.
If it means going on your own to some of the places you dream about, so be it. Think about the gift of a lifetime you'll be giving yourself.
Happy New Year and best wishes for a well-traveled 2014. Go!
Photo: The Treasury in Petra, Jordan. By Ellen Perlman