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How my life has been changed by travel and family

April 28, 2010
by budgettravelsac

I have to admit – my favorite place to travel is Europe.  Interestingly, my first taste of travel wasn’t on a European tour, with a tour guide, or through a travel agent.  It started when I was 20 years old in my first visit to Estonia.

I went with a group of kids in college with my church and was fascinated by the people, a different language, and a history so different than my own.  I would spend bus rides with our translators trying to learn a few phrases of a language I would never use again.  I ate new foods and embraced trying new things which I would never have tried at home.  Something inside of me clicked and a passion for travel was born.

For a number of years, I didn’t travel outside the country but visited numerous states here in the US.  What I didn’t realize is how much that first trip to Estonia had touched something inside of me.  Years later, I realized other people had seen it as well. Little by little, my eyes were opened to new places.

In 2004, I finally got a chance to go back to Europe and have been fascinated with travel ever since.  I realize now that the trip to Estonia wasn’t about just doing something new and exciting.  It was about cultures, languages, and connecting with people and places in ways that touched me. Ever since, I have been on an adventure.

Over the years, I have not always been the ideal traveler.  I would get frustrated when I was lost in a city. I would get upset when things didn’t go according to plan or I didn’t get everything done on my itinerary.  Traveling with groups, by myself, or with my wife all presented different challenges.  Not of all travel is easy or fun but there is always something to learn from it.

As life changes, traveling often becomes harder for various reasons.  I have two kids under 2 right now so traveling overseas isn’t an option at the moment.  However, after awakening the passion inside of me and seeing how my world view has changed, it’s important that my kids experience these things as well.

Family and travel are the two most important passions in my life.  Because of travel, I have learned so much about myself – both good and bad.  As I get older and life continues to change, travel is and will remain a big part of my life.  It’s because of what I have seen and learned from my travels, people, cultures, and faith that it all comes back to my biggest focus in life – a husband and dad.  There is no one else in my life that I will have a greater impact upon or that will have a greater impact on me than my family.

As I move forward with my life, I am still looking to open new doors and figure out more about who I am.  I used to agonize over my career thinking that was what my purpose and identity was about. However, what I do for a living doesn’t define who I am. Because of travel and my family, I have grown as a person, been challenged, and gained a greater awareness of who I am.

What have I learned?  It can be summed up in my motto in life – “When life is done, I want to have lived my life in a way that has helped my wife and kids become better human beings than me.”

How has travel shaped you?  What is your motto?  Do you have a purpose statement for your life?

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