I travel a lot. I don’t write experiences down enough but I experience them over and over as I see new places. One of the really cool aspects of travel for me is watching how the topography changes, or experiencing something unique that anchors the experience to that place. As the shrubs and the trees and the slopes of the earth change, the elements give you tokens with which to associate new memories.
For example, I cannot see a picture of a moose now without remembering the large moose we ran into (almost literally!) on our trail hike on Mt. Alyeska in Alaska. A brown bear to remind me of the one I saw in Whistler while riding a tram to the top of the mountain for a business conference reception. A whale breaking the plane of water in its feeding to remind me of the pod we saw off the coast of Hawaii as the sun was setting. A Sandhill crane reminding me of the group of four that landed in the front yard at our condo in Orlando, and one nearly came in the front door (to the utter delight of my niece and nephews).
A shooting star always takes me back to the night I spent lying in an open field at 14,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies when a meteor shower we hadn’t expected created a magnificent parade in the sky. I was 19, working on a dude ranch and thought there could be nothing greater in this world. At 38 I’m not convinced now that I was wrong about that.
It is the experience of a place that we carry with us – the little anchors that crawl into our hearts and take up residence, warming their respective corners. They lie and wait, popping up as our senses take in new experiences that funnel through our existing neural pathways and weave our past into our present, connecting our experiences before snuggling back into our heart spaces to await our next adventure.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”