There are probably as many different reasons for why we travel as there are people, but I think I know one reason, and a good one at that: maybe we travel because, sometimes, a change of landscape is all we need for a change of perspective.
Maybe by altering our geography, we alter ourselves—or, at least, try to.
When I was a kid, I didn’t understand why my parents liked Minocqua—a sleepy northwoods Wisconsin town that becomes a hub of tourists in summer, where people talk about fishing and camping and the local wildlife. But as an adult, I think I get it. As soon as we reach Wausau, thick forests on either side of the highway, stretching as far as you can see, something inside me begins to relax. And by the time we’re at the cabin, even if it’s past midnight on a Friday, stumbling with our bags and Bailey into the front door, it’s not just my surroundings that have changed; I have. There’s no e-mail to check, no television to watch, nobody to call. The routine—even if for less than 72 hours—becomes as simple as sleeping, eating and sitting outside on the back porch swing, listening to the wind rustling the leaves, snuggled underneath a blanket with my dog.
No guilt, no stress at all that isn’t accomplished.
Only, gracefully, rest. The kind of rest you need to remember how to take, the kind that means a nap in the afternoon just because you can.
And, home again, I’m going to try to keep that mentality, or at least the reminder of it, even when the world around me is no longer wide open skies, sparkling water and the freshest air you’ll find. I’m going to remember how simple things seem when you’re paddle-boating on a quiet lake as the sun sets, how unimportant daily stresses become when you’re roasting marshmallows over a bonfire in the backyard. And in that way, I guess the geography of travel is only the beginning.
ps! If you’re looking for a place to rent in Minocqua, WI, here’s a great cabin I used to go to. We’re not affiliates or being sponsored in any way by the manager, but we’re just linking over in case you want a great place.