Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Life and Times of a Travel Cheerleader

I am a self-proclaimed travel cheerleader.

When a friend asks "should I go (anywhere, everywhere, Texas or Spain)?"    I respond with a resounding "YES."   Travel is always a good idea.    Even if your hometown, state or country is the awesomest place in the universe and you can't imagine living anywhere else, you should leave it every once in a while.  Even if it's just to try the doughnuts, or the dim sum, or to climb that mountain / bridge / hundreds of stairs up to that temple.

I like to hear the stories as friends or co-workers are planning a trip.    The thrill of the hunt to find the best airfare.   Links to the hotel / lodge / airstream trailer that you are staying in.     What you are excited about.   What you are nervous about.  What you can't wait to try.   What you hope they don't have to eat.

If you have a crazy international bathroom experience, I want to hear about it in detail over a cup of coffee when you get home.

Travel Cheering is the warm and fuzzy fraternal twin of Travel Jealousy.  They share the same parents but have entirely different personalities.   You celebrate what others get to do rather than muttering under your breath about how it's not fair that someone else gets to have a special dinner in a bell tower in Prague (Mom, I'm talking about you....).  

I was helping a co-worker finalize some details for her upcoming trip to Hawaii. This is her award for winning Employee of the Year, which sure beats a watch with the company logo.   I thought Hawaii was great fun and I can't wait to go back.  But it's not about me.   I am equally stoked for someone to experience a new place for the first time: their excitement before they go and their stories when they get back.

A dear friend of mine is preparing to go on a mission trip to Cambodia next week.     We've been talking about this adventure since she first learned of the opportunity last year.    From "I think I'm called to do this" to "How am I going to pack?" to "What do I do on a 14 hour flight?" to "OMG I can't believe this time next week I'll be there."    This is her first time flying overseas.  This is her first time leaving the North American Continent (as she says).   She's going to a place that is going to look, feel, smell and taste wildly different from Colorado.    It's exciting and scary at the same time.

My Travel Cheerleader has definitely come out to play.    I've read the itinerary.   Talked about how to sleep on the plane.  Shared my experience from traveling in Thailand.   Evaluated travel snacks.   Discussed outfits. And I'm not going.    

I haven't been to Cambodia.   She's going to see Angkor Wat this month.  She's going to learn about the Killing Fields.   She's going to play games with kids in an orphanage.   And I'm going to live vicariously through her experience.

I was there when she first applied for her passport.  
I was there last year when she got her first stamp in Honduras.
Now she's going to have a passport stamp that I don't have.
And that is awesome.  

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