When I was young, my parents would schlep my brother and me from Western North Dakota to Northern California to visit family. The fact that we made this 24 hour journey every 2 years or so is testament to my mom’s love of our relatives. This isn’t because the road was dangerous or the trip expensive, but more so that my brother and I spent the entire time fighting. I’m not sure how it is that any of us survived those hours together.
As children of the 80’s, we were some of the first to see the advent of car television systems. These were in no ways the media players of today. They were big boxy squares with VCRs. My brother and I coveted them every road trip we took, and we made our desires for one very well known. That TV, in our eyes, would have saved us all (never mind the fact that we probably would have fought over what to watch).
I had truly hope that this would be our savior.
My mom’s reaction was always, “No, you need to see the cacti!” She was probably right, but truth be told, I usually had my nose stuck in a Box Car Children book anyways, so it’s not like I really saw any. Plus…I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of cactus in the long stretches of Montana, Washington, Oregon, or Idaho that we traversed. But regardless, Mom always wins.
I don’t remember actually seeing any cacti on those trips, but I know now that my mom was trying to get us to understand the importance of seeing new places and experiencing travel. The television was always there, but the mountains and deserts of the Western US aren’t always available to enjoy when you live somewhere else.
Have you ever wondered why something is so meaningful to you? Those road trips didn’t actually make me love travel, but something did. My core being loves it and can’t understand why it’s not a priority for everybody. But even for those whom travel is a priority, what is it that draws us to certain places? I for one, find that the more exotic a place, the more interest I have. Others may love travelling here in the US, but I need international intrigue and cultural differences.
What is it that makes us want what we want? Does it matter? I suspect it does. The more we understand what we want, the more we’ll actually appreciate it once we get it.