Go With a Purpose.
A blog about connecting through places that matter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's All About the Experiences

As I write this, I’m making the commute into Washington, D.C. I recently moved to Charlottesville, Virginia from the D.C area, so now I’ve switched from a daily, one-hour commute via an underground train to a weekly, two-hour commute – on an above-ground train.

It’s a very different way of commuting for me – and a different way of traveling in general as well – which is what inspired me to write this post. I’m able to take in the scenery and savor the journey, which I feel quite lucky to be able to do. I can look out a picture window at the trees, hills, streams and towns going by.

Today as I gaze out the train’s window, I think about my challenge last fall when my parents came to visit me from Texas. I had to come up with an agenda of “stuff to do,” something I struggle with because I don’t really share the same interests as my parents. They love antiquing, while I’m not all that keen on it (unless I’m looking for a specific piece). I like visiting museums, but museums bore my parents. I still remember how anxious I felt as I tried to figure out what to do. But when they arrived, it became much easier because I stopped thinking of “stuff to do” and instead thought of how we could best enjoy our time together.

One thing both my parents and I like to do is travel, and they love taking little road “jaunts” to nearby towns and cities to discover something new. So, that’s what we did. We drove to Winchester, Virginia and explored the downtown area, visiting several antique shops (naturally) and a farmer’s market (I’m a foodie and localvore), as well as stopping at the Blandy Experimental Farm and State Arboretum of Virginia on the way. We drove up to Annapolis and visited the Naval Academy, taking time to experience the other historical and cultural treasures the city had to offer. We drove around without a plan, stopping along the way at anything that interested us and just soaking in the journey without worrying about the destination.

I think both my parents and I enjoyed the trip so much more when we were less focused on the destination and more focused on the journey. We were all able to experience things that each of us enjoyed without getting bored or worrying about “what do we do next.”

As I sit here on the train watching the scenery pass before my eyes, I realize that I now have the opportunity to experience the journey rather than having to tolerate the trip – which is what made my parents’ visit that much better for me. I encourage you to do the same whenever possible during your travels – whether you’re taking a cross-country train trip, or just road-“jaunting” through local towns. It’s the experiences that matter and the experiences we take home with us. The new online community that will be launching soon will be a place to share your experiences with those who share your interests and passions.

What is your most memorable travel experience? Share a part of your journey in the comments section below.

Kari Rippetoe is the Marketing Manager at Heritage Travel, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Photo Credit: U.S. Naval Academy Chapel, Annapolis, Md., by Kari Rippetoe

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