A photo by susanmaedetera on Flickr.
Travel Quote of the Week: “Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli
Whenever we see on television, movies or magazines the images of places we have visited in the past, all the memories come back again. For instance, just this morning I was watching the Globe Trekker at Travel and Leisure Channel when they featured Venice in one of the segments about Italy. As the host toured the viewers around the city, I remember not just how i have seen it but also how i felt at that time, what I did in that particular place, what special food i ate during my stay and how i explored the city. A rush of memories came flooding back. Suddenly, as I continue to watch, I remember vividly almost everything that happened to me during my Venice holiday trip in the summer of 2012.
Sometimes, it is not just the things that we see in a place that makes our stay more memorable. It is also the experiences such as embarrassing or funny moments that happened during our travels. Sometimes having bloopers and making a fool of ourselves can make our trip more extraordinary. In Marrakesh, I treated myself to an expensive lunch at a high end cafe. I always carry with me extra money in my secret pocket that is why I was confident to order pricey dishes from the menu. After all, I only do this once in every trip. When I was about to pay, I forgot that I finished all my money in my wallet from shopping. I also forgot that I did not bring my extra money and left my card at the hotel so that I will not exceed my shopping budget. (I am an impulsive buyer, so I am mindful of my expenses every time I plan to buy souvenirs especially at crafts market). I was so humiliated when I asked the waiter if I could go to my hotel to get some money and come back later. Surprisingly, he said just go. I was not sure whether he understood me because he was speaking in French (and my French is so bad!). I offered to leave my belongings behind to ensure him that I am coming back. He gestured to me to leave. I left running towards the hotel to get money. Midway down my hotel street, it rained hard. Everyone ran for shelter except me. I was so scared that the waiter might not have understood me and will call the police. So I ran…and ran….and ran…in the rain. I will forever remember Place Jemaa El Fna in Marrakesh with that image of me running towards the hotel while carrying shopping bags like some crazy woman being pursued by police officers! LOL!
Aside from experience, your feelings or emotional state during your travels is what makes you remember the place you have visited. It was in Sydney when my ex boyfriend broke up with me. We were both there for a holiday. Prior to the trip, we were already having problems. I thought that the trip might save our relationship. The fighting intensified. It was the worst holiday ever. Every time I see the Opera House or the Taronga Zoo, i am reminded by not the beauty of the place but how I cried and cried while walking around…i was lost in my own emotional state that I do not remember much of the things that Ive seen in the city.
People we met along the way (unexpectedly!) also make our trip more memorable. While on the way to Brussels from Amsterdam, I met different interesting people on the train. There was a major train accident and I had to find my way back to Brussels as I cannot afford to miss my train to Paris the next day. Luckily, I met few Samaritans along the way. One Dutch young woman, helped me to find a different route. While on the train, she asked me about my travels. When she learned that I am from a developing country, she asked me bluntly, how I could afford to travel in Europe when I am from a very poor country where all people are so poor. I told her that just like in her country, there are some people who cannot afford to travel despite being in a rich country! (Of course I explained later on how I worked and saved hard for my Europe Dream Tour!) 🙂 On another train, I met another Dutch lady named Anika. She was in her mid 40’s. We chatted endlessly. She shared so much about her life, her family, her love life (she got divorced twice!) her struggles as a victim of domestic abuse and how she is finding her own self again after being separated from her ex-husband. So when I do get the chance to go back again to Amsterdam, I will be reminded of the people I met on the train.
There are other factors that make us remember a place we visited in the past such as the local food, local music, different culture etc. But for me, I want my travels to be more meaningful aside from being unforgettable because this is what will make me remember more than what I have seen. As the saying goes, “The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”
How about you? How do you remember your travels?
Photo taken at Christchurch Botanical Garden in New Zealand with my friend, RC.