My inspiration to travel was triggered again by a list of pictures that I found at The Most Alien Landscape On Earth. When looking at the pictures I just had the feeling that I want to see some of these places. They looked so amazing and I just wanted to experience them fully.
But then I suddenly remembered the time we went to see the Niagara Falls. We were visiting friends in the US and they wanted to take us there and we were of course eager to go, having seen pictures. And usually pictures just show these fantastic waterfalls and not much of the surroundings.
So when our friends said that we had arrived at the falls when we in fact were in the middle of a city, we first didn’t believe them. We had this romantic idea that these falls were situated in the wilderness far away from civilization with maybe just a hotel or two nearby. But boy were we mistaken…
We did have a fantastic day and it was an impressive experience to see the falls for real. But still the realization that the falls were just opposite this big casino, instead of out in the wilderness did leave us with a little feeling of being tricked. We were for sure expecting something different.
We have talked to a lot of people about our surprised discovery and without exception all of those that haven’t visit the falls themselves have the same romantic idea as we did.
So why am I telling you this? Well it is for sure not to tell you to keep away from the falls. On the contrary, it was an amazing experience that by no way can be substituted by a picture. Sure a picture says a thousand words but it is still nothing compared to the real thing.
A picture is a piece of art composed by the photographer. Way too often we forget that and mistakenly think it represents reality. But it doesn’t. When looking at a picture the experience is limited to one of your senses and also limited by the borders of the photo. You don’t get the whole picture so to say…
You don’t get to experience the traffic and the crowds, the cold wind, the air dampened by the fog from the falls, the smell and of course the sound. And this is one of the reasons why I just love traveling. I want the whole experience of other places and cultures, not just something that has passed through the lens of a TV reporter.
It doesn’t really matter if I discover the Taj Mahal to be less white than I expected. Or if the Pyramids in Egypt are smaller than in my imagination or even if I find the Niagara Falls situated in the middle of a city. What matters is that it’s my experience. It becomes a part of me and I learn so much from it.
Yes the learning that comes from real life experience is so much greater than anything you can get out of a book. And to us, as home school parents, traveling has been a great tool for teaching our kids about the world. The learning they got from traveling has been priceless.
Oh I can just feel, as I am writing this, that my desire to take off to go and explore the world is growing in me. Let’s see what we can do about that…