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Travel — The Healthiest Addiction

by Heather Martin, VPG Contributor

I love to travel. In fact, I am writing this article as I watch the Pacific Ocean lap at the rocks in Yokosuka Japan. I pick jobs based on my freedom to travel because it's literally the reason why I work. Truthfully, as my husband has noted several times, I'm only truly happy if I'm planning my next vacation, be it large–like Southeast Asia–or small–like a trip to Teton National Park. 

small street in Japan

Recently I've had many people ask me why I travel, or more specifically, why I travel to certain places. Most people in my neck of the woods consider Hawaii the ultimate dream vacation and Mexico the most exotic place they can go. So when I tell them I'm headed to Thailand or Ireland or the Netherlands I get weird looks and they wonder why I'm bothering.

As I've enjoyed my most recent adventure, I've realized the answer is: I travel to learn about all the things I didn't know I didn't know.

For instance:

In China I learned how very kind people can be, especially when you don't understand each other.

In Thailand I learned that people can live and thrive in the hottest, most humid place on the planet–at least in my travels so far!

In Belgium I learned how to slow down and enjoy my vacations instead of always rushing from one place to another.

In Scotland I learned that trying a country's most popular food can not only be survived, but loved! (I’m looking at you haggis...)

In Ireland I learned that people look after each other, not just neighbors, or neighboring villages, but strangers who appear really lost.

In multiple US national parks I've learned that nature can be wild, dangerous and beautiful in the exact same moment.

Currently in Japan – although I've learned this many times over–I'm discovering the history and narrative I've been taught over and over isn't the true story, and the reality can be more brutal or more inspiring than I ever thought!

So why do I travel all over the world? I travel to learn about different cultures and customs, and how I can incorporate their wisdom in my life. I travel so I can be a better neighbor and friend to the worldwide community. I travel so I can become a better person in my day-to-day life. And I travel because it's the healthiest and best addiction known to man!

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