Your Greatest Discovery

Apr 18th, 2000, 07:01 AM
dan woodlief
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I have had a lot of great experiences traveling, but I think my greatest discovery is how much travel can do for you when you are not traveling. I spend a lot more time even than before reading about other places, learning languages, discussing the world with others, and thinking about where to go next. When I hear that something happened in a far away place that I have visited, even if it is just in the same country, it seems more meaningful to me. It has made my whole life more rewarding and interesting. Somehow, I just feel very enriched for having had these opportunities, and the world has become a smaller place. Did that sound like a sermon? Let's all join hands now.
Apr 18th, 2000, 12:42 PM
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Anne- Thanks for asking my opinion. I get so curious about others' responses that I sometimes don't weigh in with my own. My greatest discoveries (and that's plural, because there have been many great ones), usually have to do with people and their reactions. I have discovered that you never know. Sometimes you meet a lovely person who helps you find your way and invites you to join them for tea as I have many times and sometimes you are dismissed rudely when you try your best to get along. I think that surprise is such a huge part of why we love to travel--the constant surprise of what's around the bend, what will be on our plate, what the folks will be wearing as they stroll by. And Europe, with its magnificent cultures and art gives--to many of us--the greatest surprises and delights possible. So that's my contribution, and I've certainly enjoyed all of yours.
Apr 18th, 2000, 02:31 PM
stirring it up
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I agree with Lola that surprises are a great part of the charm of travel. We all tend to get into ruts and by getting out of our routines we are able to discover many things. I have discovered little villages and new cheeses and how to sit and think and rest and gaze without guilt. And I have discovered I am an open-minded, curious man who needs to get away to get in touch with that. (I am normally considered "high-powered.") You have to stir the pot once and a while or the soup will burn! And Europe provides such a beautiful spoon, don't it now?
Apr 18th, 2000, 02:48 PM
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My greatest discovery from traveling on my first trip to Europe over thirty years ago was that after spending four years at college getting a degree in history-history became ALIVE for me!It also made me realize what a big world there was out there and that perhaps I shouldn't get married too quickly before I enjoyed the wonders of the world.Everyone should also go on at least one trip(in their lifetime) by themselves in order to really learn about themselves and the world.
I laugh at some of the previous postings and the "stuff" that we Americans must have! As one gets older,I am starting to weigh things for our house/cars versus a travel experience.Travel and its wonderful memories have kept my ill health mother company through many a painful night. I just hope that I can remember them all if I hit that bridge in upcoming years! Debbie
Apr 19th, 2000, 06:03 AM
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My greatest discoveries include the food in Belgium; the flowers at Keukenhof gardens right now, in Amsterdam; the beauty of the Norwegian fjords; the people in Ireland; the villages above the coast in the mountains behind Amalfi; sleeper trains in Germany, etc. etc.
Apr 19th, 2000, 06:59 AM
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My greatest discovery was that I have no discrimination in travel destinations. My first trip was an eleven-country, twenty-one day tour; and many people told me not to do it but to pick a country and see it. I said, "But what if I never get to go again? At least I will have had a taste, and if I can go again I will know where I would most like to visit." How was I to know that I would absolutely love absolutely every place I went? And the trip didn't include Greece or Spain or Portugal or Scotland or Ireland or Wales or . . . Oh, well--back to work to earn more money for travel.
Apr 19th, 2000, 09:22 AM
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Without a doubt, my greatest discovery in my traveling years has been this forum!! It has saved me money, my sanity,and my marriage by giving me information in great detail that I need when I need it before I every leave home. Thanks to everyone. One other thing that I learned from a friend who also travels a great deal: home has many charms and seeing other places really opens your eyes to what is right around you. Come home and look at your own town with the eyes of a traveler. Take in your own town the way you would a foreign town; I am always amazed at what I have missed!
Apr 19th, 2000, 12:16 PM
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Regarding Marty's previous posting, I have discovered that I am much more appreciative, observant, curious, openminded, and appreciative when I am traveling in Europe. When I return, I try to keep that outlook in appreciating some of the nice things closer to home, but it is hard. Maybe that's because I am a fan of old things and a quiet pace.
Apr 19th, 2000, 06:07 PM
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I agree with Debbie, who said that travel made history come alive. After my first trip to Europe, many years ago, I remember thinking that I learned more in 10 days than I did in 4 years of college. It was an exaggeration, of course, but only slightly. I've forgotten much of what my professors droned on about, but I'll never forget my first visit to the Prado Museum, my first glimpse of the Colosseum, walking the Roman Forum, and dining at the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. It doesn't have to be Europe (although that's my favorite), because, for instance, the sacrifices of World War II came really and truly alive for me at the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
And I agree with the gentleman who said that reading can be the best part of a trip. We began planning our second trip to Spain last August and I've been reading guides and other pertinent books ever since. It led me to read Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" and "For Whom the Bells Tolls," and books on Teresa of Avila, Velasquez and Ferdinand and Isabella. Travel is such a widening experience, even when you haven't left home yet!
Apr 19th, 2000, 08:49 PM
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Nice thread here. I've learned a lot. My greatest discovery is that you get much more out of travel if you take it nice and easy rather than trying to jam too many places in. If you have time to wander a bit, sit or get lost in a place you will find yourself interacting. You need time to absorb the atmosphere and visit the museums. Rushing around is not the way for me. Besides, I need excuses to come back to Europe, so I'll be a tortoise and take it slow and steady.
Apr 20th, 2000, 06:55 AM
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The greatest discovery? Bring a washcloth.
Apr 20th, 2000, 11:29 AM
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That if you wear a pouch around your neck and act as much like a local as possible you do not get bothered as much as when you look like a tourist. It works!
Jun 9th, 2000, 05:11 AM
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Jun 9th, 2000, 09:50 AM
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I have recently discovered, after about the last 2-3 trips to Europe, how very much beauty, art and culture make me happy, give me a feeling I don't get from anything else.
Now that I have found that feeling in Europe, I now try to find places and experiences in the US that affect me the same way. Even in my large Texas city, it works. This discovery has enriched my life enormously. Thanks for asking the question and making me think about it and share.
Jun 9th, 2000, 10:24 AM
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PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE! I am forever grateful, amazed and gratified by complete strangers from other countries and yes, even this forum, who will go that extra mile for someone they never met! For every dishonest or rude person there are 20 other people who will assist, direct, explain, or literaly save you when you are lost in a strange, new place. It is incredibly profound, these encounters with people who never expect a reward.I find myself doing things I never would have done, helping strangers who can't find such and such address, really trying to understand someone who's first language isn't English, all in my own home town. It is this effect on myself and the truly profound kindness of human beings throughout the globe that keeps me buying plane tickets again and again, and restores my faith in the human condition.
Jun 9th, 2000, 10:37 AM
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My greatest discovery is viewing different cultures and how they live their everday lives.

Next, is that learning I have an appreciation for art. I have been in some of the most famous museums and enjoyed them tremendously.

I feel so blessed that I have had the opportunity to travel. I am younger than others on this forum and still have to look for the cheapest hotel or airfare in order to go. I am grateful for this forum that has assisted in my travel plans and help make two European trips in the last two years possible.
Aug 9th, 2000, 06:53 AM
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That Europe is a beautiful, sweet, deadly drug And I'm hooked!
Aug 9th, 2000, 08:40 AM
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What a wonderful thread. And Dan Woodlief, thank you for putting into words in your 4/18 10am post above just exactly what moves me most about travelling: I gain a personal, lasting stake in the past and future of other places and people. That didn't exactly come as a discovery when I started travelling 17 years ago -- more as an affirmation of what I had always hoped.

My greatest discovery from European travel has been that no matter how much I think I know about a place, or how many movies/pictures I've seen, there's always at least one commonplace thing that shocks me into thinking "how could I not have know that X is true in Y?"
How could I not have known how many churches and other buildings in the Bavarian countryside are painted vivid chrome yellow, like pale Kodak boxes?

How could I not have known that the most dramatic thing about Venice (imho) is not the canals, but the mysterious mazes of tiny passageways and sudden squares?

Soon I'll find out what I don't know about Ireland. I can't wait.

Nov 2nd, 2000, 05:41 AM
upsy daisy
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Nov 2nd, 2000, 02:03 PM
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This year I traveled to Budapest (by myself) and just recently to Barcelona (with a friend). I have to admit I came back from Budapest more refreshed and relaxed than I did from Barcelona. There is something really wonderful about being on one's own schedule - doing one's own thing, and as selfish as this may sound, not having to be concerned about another person. I come to realize vaction for me means unplugging from everyhting, everyone here in NYC and going off on my own. I love sitting in cafes, reading a book, having a bottle of wine or a campari. I also think one developes a certain inner strength traveling alone - what I saw, ate, experience weren't filtered or flavored by another person. Maybe one day I'll meet that right person to travel with. Happy travels.

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