Saturday, June 19, 2021

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Travel – because it makes us better people

Travel offers countless benefits. Even the shortest and simplest trip can afford a person with new experiences and perspectives — if he or she remains open to them.

Traveling is fairly normal for people living in rural South Dakota. From Eagle Butte, we have to travel to Pierre, 98 miles, just to reach the nearest Wal-Mart and shopping mall.

Many people tend to be income and necessity driven – going to the usual places for the things we need, and then heading home. Or, people tend to be habit-driven, visiting the same attractions each time they go into town – the affordable ones, or the ones they are sure to enjoy.

However, these usual and easy to navigate pathways may stifle different experiences, despite the diversity and plethora of affordable experiences available to the public throughout the state.

When I scroll Facebook, I often see different people posting their hikes on trails I did not know existed in SD, or sharing their trips to a concert I did not know about.

Part of my problem is limited access to the TV and radio. I am pretty much a Netflix viewer and NPR and Pandora listener. I usually hear advertisements for products I don’t use or don’t need, but not for events and places to go for entertainment locally or state-wide.

In many ways, I feel this limited exposure puts me on the outskirts of popular culture and current events. I need to know what I am looking for to find out if there is anything going on, and that too can be limiting as I am not going to think of the things I do not know about even if those things would be great experiences.

When I leave South Dakota and go to other states like Missouri or Indiana, I am reminded of just how many possible activities I don’t think about doing when I get trapped in the ruts of my day-to-day activities in South Dakota.

I begin to see what I do for a living with greater appreciation, and I see what I could do with a more expansive vision.

So, one of the greatest advantages of travel, especially travel that takes you into new and/or different elements, is the change in perspective it gives you on your daily routines and habits.

Seeing how other people live their lives helps me to see my own ways of living more clearly. The change in perspective can be likened to taking an aerial view of storm damage. You can see the details from the ground, but you cannot see the expanse of the damage until you take flight.

Taking flight helps inspire one’s imagination, reflect on how you do things and determine what you can or should do differently, if anything.

While travel is an expense, and it does have its annoyances, any time a person can travel to a new place for a new experience, then I think the better that person will be for the experience.

I have never gone to a new place, with a good or bad experience, and NOT learned from it something that has helped me later. I hope that this summer, you have a chance to travel, and if you stay in-state, then try something completely different – because the more we learn and experience – the better people we become.

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