I asked this question again and again, why people love to travel.
Find new things?
No matter how small it is, from an electronic plug that is different from those in our own country, to a breakfast that offers something you seldom eat in home, the difference reminds us that we are in a different world. Nothing can be more boring when you arrive in a place but you really cannot tell any difference from your home.
My visit to Aspen leads me to recognize a special type of tree – Aspen. That types of tree with white and smooth body, and heart shape small leaves. I got one leaf and put it into my Moleskin notebook. I am not saying that there is no Aspen in my city (Shanghai), or in my country (China), it is not something in my daily life. Without visiting that small town, I may never observe and appreciate, and even recognize that special tree. Ironically, if I run into a another village with many Aspen trees surrounding it, I mean mistakenly feel bored, since it is like a place I have visited 6000 miles away.
During our travel, we need to discover things that remind us that we have set feet to a new land. Nothing can be more exciting than people speaking of different languages, especially those you don’t understand.
There Must be Something New!
It is boring (although efficient) to have lunch in a McDonald’s in another country. The only compensation in a McDonald’s to a traveler is, if there is any, the different settings of those particular restaurants. For example, I paid special interest in a tag line on the self-service coke vending machine stating: “Refill only for dine-in customers”. I admit I never saw this before, and that made my visit to the international food chain.
There are something so unique to a region that it can be the name card picture of the city/country, like the skyline of Pudong in Shanghai, or the Tiananmen/Great Wall in Beijing, or the the curved uphill section Lombard Street/Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, or the Eiffel Tower in Paris. They are the landmarks and must see. Why? Because collectively, nothing can reminds people where they are, and how different it is from the daily life and the “boring” town they just escaped from. However, really good travelers enjoy much more than that. Admittedly, some places are more interesting than others in both the numbers of things you will notice (like a westerner arrives in Toyoko), or stronger in impression (like the Grand Canyon that can no longer be classified as just a canyon), most travelers can find difference along the way they travel, and throughly enjoy their trip. That is the sensation we need to build in ourselves, to allow us to enjoy the world of difference.
I want to return to China so badly, and each day I ask myself a similar question, wondering why the attraction is so great. Nice post!