This past week I was thrilled to attend the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s AdventureELEVATE event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It made for an intense few days of networking, meetings, and making some pretty awesome new connections. It’s rare when I can sit down and meet with delegates from 16 different countries all in one action-packed day! Suffice to say, this was a hyper-productive event and I can’t wait to see what comes of the connections made this past week.
Networking aside, perhaps the thing that stuck with me the most after the event was the greater overview of travel. The why. Why do we travel, what draws us to leave the comfort and security of home and seek out new places and new experiences? We talked about how identity ties to travel, why certain people are drawn to certain experiences, and — perhaps most powerfully — the idea of traveling more and buying less.
But it’s the why that really sticks… why do we do it?
I love airports. They’re a mess — loud, dirty, and chaotic. People coming, going, passing through. There’s nothing restful about an airport. But you know what’s beautiful? People are changing. Every time you step outside of that comfort zone, of that 9-to-5 predictable routine, things happen. We’re forced to think again. To adapt. To flux. To think. We change.
Every time I’ve traveled — within the States or internationally — I come back a different person. I’ve seen things. Met people. Tried new experiences. Sure, maybe it sucked at the time. Things go wrong sometimes. But, at the end of the day, I’ve grown. I’ve bent and fluxed and maybe broken a bit — scars mean we survived, and I have a hell of a lot of them — but I’ve changed. I’m not the same person I was when I boarded the plane in Bozeman.
It was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. who famously said, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
Cheers to new dimensions, then.
Thanks to the Adventure Travel Trade Association for having me out to Idaho — look forward to cooking up some more cool things soon.