Inspiration found on a shady path

Inspiration is often found in the small moments, like chancing upon a quiet, shady path in the middle of a busy city.

Inspiration. One of those elusive terms that is often over-used; that ephemeral moment that makes our hearts soar and our minds race, that makes everything seem possible and even larger than life.

I’ve posted a lot of things that have used the word inspiration. I’ve talked about what inspired me to travel, about wanting to inspire others to travel. Like there is something holy and special and sacred about the process of getting on a plane or a train or just in the freaking car.

So let me be clear – you don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike. You don’t have to be blessed or anointed or given permission to travel.

Travel because you’re curious or interested. Travel because you’ve dreamed about a place. Travel because it seems like a good idea.

Travel because you want to – where you want to, how you want to.

There is no right or wrong place to start. Well, okay, perhaps it would be a good idea to not start in a war-torn country; but even that is negotiable.

Inspiration will come when and where it will. It might not come at all, and that’s okay too.

I talked, in a previous post, about romanticizing a place to death, about building expectations to the point where there is just absolutely no way to make it happen. I’ve done it. I still fight it.

It usually starts with “wow, wouldn’t it be great to…” and builds into this dream itinerary complete with visions of how the place will look and the people I will meet and how incredible it will all be. It’s so damn easy to do.

You see it all the time in the glossy magazines that tell you about all the places you must – must – see before you die; stories about people who took a trip and how it magically changed their lives. Somewhere in those stories you will find that word – inspiration. A view or a moment or a chance encounter inspired them to quit their jobs and sell their houses and…. something.

What can ever live up to that hype? I haven’t found it yet, and I’ve been to some places that were pretty awesome.

I have been inspired in my travels, indeed I have. I have a dozen tales of who and what and where inspired me. Even before I ever stepped off this continent I live on, there were stories of far away places that inspired dreams of seeing them, of standing in the places where the heroes of the story stood.

If, however, I had waited until I felt inspired to finally make that journey? I doubt I would have ever taken that first trip. In fact, I know I wouldn’t have.

I had a million different excuses for not acting on all that pent-up inspiration. It was too expensive. There was no one to go with. It wasn’t the right time of year. I didn’t lack for inspiration, I lacked for action.

Let me say it again, once more and louder for the cheap seats, the only person who is going to get you to the places you want to go is you. There will always be reasons not to go, always be reasons to wait another year. You can wait for inspiration as long as you want, but at some point you have to just get up and do it.

Buy the ticket. Get on the plane, go on the cruise, join the tour group or strike out on your own. But go, and go for your own reasons. Inspiration will happen once you get there, in the small moments, the quiet moments, the moments when you realize that you finally did it.

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