Friendly Planet Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Perspectives’

Another lens through which to see the world

Last week my wonderful and talented son wrote up some of his favorite memories of a trip that we took together to British Columbia, Canada. While this particular trip didn’t have anything to do with Friendly Planet Travel, I thought it would be a wonderful experience to share with you that describes how travel truly can be a life-altering, perspective-bending experience (no matter where you’re traveling to).
So without further ado, here it is, in his own words:

I’m not sure how I ended up here. It has been an amazing journey, but this is not how I was supposed to end up. In fact, there are only two things that I can depend on. The first, that I can’t predict the future.
I grew up a nice Jewish boy in Philadelphia. I remember knowing that I would go to Harvard, become a lawyer, get married to a nice Jewish girl, have nice Jewish children, and go hiking and maybe fix stuff on weekends in my house in Philly. I am writing this from my one room cabin in the woods, cooking road kill soup with my partner in the Pacific Northwest.
I understand that most people change, and that we rarely grow up to be who we thought we would. But most people at least recognize themselves. They can see how it happened.
This feeling seems a bit true for my mother as well. The likelihood of her having been born at all seems pretty slim. Her parents were among the very few people in their families who survived the Holocaust. In the ten years between her splitting up with my father and my going to college, I can only remember her wearing one outfit, a loose-fitting sweat suit that was all one solid, soft color. She worked hard as an upstart travel agent for little money to pay the rent on our small apartment. She has been working hard ever since.
In addition to running her successful travel business, she has taken care of two aging parents for the past 20 years. She is one of the busiest people I know. These days, she treats herself and those around her to the fancy meals and adventures that she couldn’t have dreamed of in her youth.
Last summer, my mom and I met up for a travel adventure in British Columbia. We each brought our partners, who politely smiled and responded with the obligatory “yes dear” as my mom and I dragged them along on a whirlwind tour of Victoria and Vancouver. Throughout those days I often wondered, “How on earth did we end up here?”
It was an experience that yanked me from the reality of my current life. We ate amazing foods at restaurants, stayed in hotel rooms whose bathrooms were bigger than my cabin. We took the Clipper from Seattle to Victoria, and spent three days exploring museums, eating delicious foods, and catching glimpses of Barbara Streisand’s yacht in the harbor.
We took a ferry from Victoria to Vancouver, and walked through a forest canopy and over the dramatic suspension bridge, went to museums, and explored the city as tourists. I had been to Victoria and Vancouver many times, but had never seen them this way.
This brings me to the second thing that I can depend on. While my mom is extraordinarily supportive of me following my dreams, every once in a while, she swoops in and pulls me out of my shoes and takes me on an adventure. I can count on her to remind me that there is always another perspective, another adventure, and another lens through which to see the world.

See the world, change your life

I always say that seeing the world is the only way for people to understand it. And unless you experience a different culture for yourself, you’ll never truly grasp it. Traveling changes you forever; whether you’re touring ancient temples in Thailand, digging a well for a family in Borneo, or sipping wine in Italy.
And once you catch the bug — like so many of our vacationers have — you’re a traveler for life. That’s why I was thrilled when this particular customer testimonial rolled in last week. As always, here it is, completely unedited:
“I’ve been on six tours with Friendly Planet so far, and I have to say that those tours have opened up my understanding of the world. The thing about travel to foreign countries is that it changes you, leaving you with a much better understanding of the world, long after you’ve returned. Each tour I’ve been on has been exciting and different, even repeat tours to the same destination. One of the great things about the FP tours has been the amazing diversity of people on each tour; I’ve met everyone from newlyweds to retirees, all looking for adventure. Most of my fellow travelers on FP tours have tended to be well-read, well-traveled, and not fussy at all. They’ve come to taste the amazing foods and walk the amazing streets, not to buy trinkets and eat at McDonalds. Not surprisingly, many of us keep in touch long after the tours are over, and I’ve met more than one “repeater” on the trips to China. And I’m always surprised to find how nice the hotels are. One more thing is that going on these tours is really a good use of your time overseas, since you don’t have to waste time with paperwork, check-ins, deposits, etc. You just go have a drink or walk around the block and come back to pick up your room key. The guides are always funny, helpful, and go out of their way to make sure you have a good time. And there’s always plenty of time to explore on your own. Thanks again for the great experiences. I’ll be back in April to re-visit Thailand!
— Jeff Jenkins, Boca Raton, FL”