Travel Experiences: It's All About Perspective

I’m sure that many of you have read countless travel quotes posted on social media such as “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things” by Henry Miller or “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page” by Saint Augustine. Overused? Possibly. Timeless? Definitely.
The reason I appreciate these quotes is because each time I read them aloud in my mind, I almost instantly am drawn to a past travel memory that makes me smile in the moment.

Travel memories, or experiences, are so different for each person.
For example, one person’s travel experiences in New York will be so different from another’s and therefore the sharing of these experiences really helps us to broaden our minds.

With that said, I think it’s important to view travel around this world in 3 different perspectives. Firstly, through the view of travelling to a popular destination. Secondly, travelling to a relatively unknown place, and thirdly, the experience of viewing the world whilst in the journey to the destination.  

Paris and Versailles, FRANCE - The popular destination

Paris is one of those ‘Top 10 destinations of the world’ that you are likely to see as a headline on online articles, travel brochures or in the travel section of the newspaper. It is definitely a world-recognized city of light, love and fashion.

This European city is one that boasts its recognizable iconic architecture. From the infamous Eiffel Tower to the Louvre Museum, Paris prides itself on history shown through these buildings. Most of these monuments also contribute to the city’s reputation of being a ‘city of light’ as they are illuminated daily from the moment the sun sets and become beautiful tourist attractions for many to see at night. 
The city of light also oozes in timeless style. The amount of great shopping available is enough to make you want to apply for multiple credit cards (but please don’t – I’ll fear for your financial stability if you do!).

It is actually not uncommon to see a young female on a Vespa scooter travelling to work wearing heels while driving away. Her hair even looks amazing when she takes her helmet off (Seriously, what strength of hairspray has she put on?!).

There’s just something that makes you feel like you could mentally escape back to the 1950s, as the style still remains as timeless as it was back then.

Besides the beauty and appeal of the architecture, fashion and style of Paris, when travelling outside of the city and to the stunning countryside town of Versailles, the commotion of Paris does not trickle through to this town.

In fact, from the moment I witnessed the arched-tree pathways that lead to the famous Versailles Palace, feelings of serenity and gratitude came over me, making me want to absorb that moment for longer.

Versailles also has the ability to leave you feeling like you stepped out of a Ralph Lauren advertisement as the natural beauty of the countryside meets the opulence of the history behind this city, which can be strongly felt walking through the Palace of Versailles. 

From having the opportunity to eat breakfast at the Trianon Palace Hotel, in the room the Versailles treaty was signed, to getting lost in the hedges of the Gardens of Versailles, this town made me appreciate the humbled upbringing my parents gave me, allowing me to enjoy these travel experiences.

*San Patrignano, ITALY – The unknown destination

While cities such as Paris, London and New York are on many people’s bucket lists due to their popularity, there are places in the world where people travel, not for reasons of leisure or relaxation, but rather for bettering their own health and wellbeing.

San Patrignano in Italy is one of these places. A small town situated between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea, it is home to one of the most unique drug rehabilitation centres in the world.

Why is it so unique, you ask? Because the rehabilitation program it uses is concentrated on improving the health of its members through daily training work that highlights each individuals respect for life, for themselves, for others and for the environment.

Depending on one’s interests and being tailored to each individual member, the jobs these men and women do can range from wine making to carpentry. 

However what amazes me most about this place is how it makes certain that each individual feels like they are a part of a family and not of a mental institution for the benefit of belonging. For example, it is made certain that the area for eating meals is called a dining room and not a ‘cafeteria’, so that members truly feel they are eating with their family and enjoy the food and wine they consume together.

While I haven’t been to San Patrignano itself, it really inspired me watching a small segment of a TV show, Two Greedy Italians*, which documented some of their stories and showed how humbled the members are by their journey they undertake in this town.

Beauty in the sky, ECONOMY CLASS – The journey to the destination

Moving along to a very different travel experience many may get to encounter in their lifetime
I’m talking about the in-flight experience of being in a window seat of a commercial flight. 

Fluffy clouds. Starry nights. Sunsets and sunrises - I have yet to hear anyone deny the beauty of these when viewed in the sky on a flight 37,000” above the ground.
It doesn’t matter if you’re flying domestically on a short 45 minute flight, or internationally for 14 hours, the world’s beauty can be most appreciated whilst on a flight rather than when you’re on the ground going about your daily life

Why? Because everyday life can be distracting. So much so that it’s only in small moments of life we otherwise look up at the clouds and appreciate their shapes (or the fact that they look like mashed potatoes), or notice the smaller-than-ant-sized people going about their daily lives driving on a highway or harvesting crops on farms.
It’s almost like time is on a stand still when viewing these things because life’s realities are on hold - at least until we land.

When thinking of my own flight experiences, I have enjoyed the international flights more than domestic ones.
Last year I was fortunate enough to have been able to travel with friends and my cousin from Sydney to Zadar via a stopover in Zurich for a few nights.  

Departing Sydney on a starry winters night, the only noticeable thing at that time was the building lights and streetlights, as well as the early evening city traffic – an indication of the lifestyle I was parting with for the next 7 weeks (Goodbye craziness, Hello sunshine and relaxation!).

For the next several hours to Singapore it was pitch dark at 37,000” above the ground, however that peace was enjoyable not having to think “Ok, I have to get this ready for work tomorrow” or, “Why won’t this traffic move?” Instead, it’s hours of enjoyable boredom. Stress free. Can’t complain about this.

Moving forward another few hours to the next connecting flight from Singapore to Zurich and things start to get more exciting as I travelled from the night into the European morning. 

Sunrises above the horizon where hues of orange, red and yellow blend in with light blues and those fluffy clouds gave me confirmation that I was no longer in the Australian winter season, but now officially entering a European summer.

Seeing the ridges of the snow-dusted Swiss Alps (yes, even in summer!), lakes and ponds, and the greenery of the countryside was so picturesque while descending down to Zurich.

Then there comes the final leg of the flights – from ZRH to ZAD a few days later. Oh my. This short flight was probably one of the best flying experiences I have ever had. Seeing the snow-dusted Swiss Alps again but then travelling over the coast of Dalmacija before landing in Zadar was amazing. The glistening of the sea as the sun reflects on the Adriatic leaving the sun rays to bounce through the plane’s window was definitely a warm welcome back to my second home.

So for this case, the journey is the destination. Travelling and actually taking the time to enjoy the sight of the world through the window of the plane can help you to appreciate the gift of natural beauty we have been given in this world but also allows you to start your holiday when you get onto your flight. 
In the words of an unknown source, “Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show”. Whether it be through travelling with your friends to New York, driving down the coast to an unknown small country town 2 hours away or simply enjoying the journey itself, the true beauty of this world is on display 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

So get out there and experience anything you can on whatever budget you’re on. Take photos to keep those memories alive for years to come but be sure to take a few minutes to take it in and enjoy the actual moments.