How I Found Perspective Through Travel

That saying about your problems following you, I know that to be a reality. I would be lying if I said that I have never traveled to escape or run away from people and things. Even as I did, I always knew that my coping mechanism was probably going to fail legendarily. I still ran like the wind.

The term wanderlust really resonates with me. I understand it as very much being one of the other things that motivates me to travel. Merriam-Webster defines it as

“strong longing for or impulse toward wandering.”

I haven’t met very many people who have a stronger longing to wander than I currently do. It’s with me every moment of every day and if I had all the money in the world at my disposal and therefore endless options, you wouldn’t find me sitting still anytime soon.

Checking off places visited from something akin to a Bucket List is not something I have ever actually done. I don’t have such a list written anywhere, on paper or electronically. It’s not that I despise the practice outright. It’s simply not for me. Since it isn’t, I will confess I have judged others who do it just a little in the past.

BUTAs I have traveled

I have found that running away from problems can sometimes provide just enough distance for me to mend some things with regards to the people and places that trouble me. It’s not because distance is a solution in the same way good communication and proper application of the words, “I’m Sorry” are. It’s because distance has allowed me moments of uninterrupted thought and space that leave room for better understanding. I have found much needed perspective that has sometimes allowed problems to be solved in ways they may not have been, had I no distance from them. I’ve also seen how some problems needed to be faced head on and how only going back to them would fix what was broken. There was a moment of clarity on a boat in the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain which comes to mind as I write this.

It was in Turkey that I realized being driven by wanderlust doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If I wasn’t a person prone to wander, I doubt I would have ever ended up in Burhaniye. There, while visiting Pete and Dalene, I gained perspective regarding just how full of holes some of my world views are. I learned to be less afraid of the world and I saw just how much my wanderlust has forced me into situations that have enabled me to grow to be a better person. It’s good I have a lot more wandering in me for there is so much more growth that needs to happen.

During my sojourn in Italy, I came to understand how and why some people make bucket lists. When I was riding around on a Vespa, with the lights of Rome sparkling and blurring in my watered vision, I realized that doing so (just like Audrey did in Roman Holiday) had always been on my Bucket List; the one that’s unwritten, that comes from that hopelessly romantic place in my broken heart which still believes in something beautiful despite the odds. I won’t begrudge anyone the desire to climb Machu Picchu anymore. Surely it’s even better than my Vespa ride and I could not be more grateful I was able to do that. Such a small thing perhaps but perspective has now taught me not to bedgrudge anyone something that brings them as much happiness as my night in Rome brought me!

Instead of simply planning my next destination, I’ve been thinking more deeply about travel and its role in my life since Expedia launched their FindYours campaign. I believe that traveling can be one of the most transformative things you will do in your life and that perspective is just one of the many things you will gain through seeing more of the world. I’ll be spending more time in the month of July talking about gaining perspective through travel. You can join me and in doing so, you might win big!

Tweet one or more times:
1) and tell me about a trip or destination which really brought you perspective
2) include a photo
3) make sure to tag my twitter handle: @kirstenalana plus add the hashtags #ExpediaFindYours and #Perspective

While #ExpediaFindYours officially launched on Monday, we’re really kicking things off today. Your participation could mean a $250 travel voucher or four nights at a resort in Aruba. What’s the catch? All you have to do is show off your favorite travel photos. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and blogging, you may already be doing that. Do it over the next three weeks using the #ExpediaFindYours hashtag on twitter and you could win a voucher to use on or a four-night stay in Aruba. But there’s always fine print, right?

* The campaign is called the Expedia Find Yours Twitter Photo Contest. It kicks off today, July 11 and runs through Tuesday, July 31st, 2012.
* You have multiple different ways to win, including $250 travel vouchers from Expedia and a four-night stay in Aruba at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts.
* The most immediate way to participate is by participating in #ExpChat today, Wednesday July 11, from 10:30 a.m. to noon PST (1:30 to 3:00 EST). Be getting together your favorite travel photos of all time to share. One participant will win a $250 travel voucher to use on
* Over the course of the next three weeks, 10 travel bloggers [myself included] will be giving away $250 travel vouchers. You can see a full list of bloggers and how to win on
* At the end of July, Expedia will be giving away the four-night stay at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts to one participant on Twitter. You can find out more about the prize and full terms and conditions on
* Expedia’s new campaign is all about helping you FindYours. Expedia knows that every trip is unique, personal and holds the potential for incredible possibility. Every trip, every traveler is different and with so many options to choose from, Expedia is available every day to help you FindYours.

These are the other bloggers participating. They all have inspiring stories I bet you will benefit from and each has a different word that really resonates with them. Mine is perspective but you will have to visit them to see what #ExpediaFindYours means to them…
Juno Kim is also known as Runaway Juno
Ben Reed blogs at Adventures with Ben
Kara Williams is one of the lovely women behind, The Vacation Gals
Chris Staudinger & Tawny Clark blog at Captain and Clark
Deb Corbeil & Dave Bouskill’s award-winning travel blog is The Planet D
Anne Taylor Hartzell blogs as the Hip Travel Mama
Jeremy Branham blogs about Budget Travel Adventures
Trish Friesen is the Trip Styler
Jade Broadus & Bob Christian are the adorable engaged couple behind Vagabond3

And if for some reason you aren’t moved by anything we have to say, I bet this video will make you want to head out and FindYours … I look forward to reading your tweets, seeing your photographs and hearing your inspirational stories! Watch out for a compilation of my favorites toward the end of July.
Disclaimer: This post is presented because of my partnership with Expedia, as a participating blogger in the #ExpediaFindYours Photo Contest. Opinions, as always on this blog, are my own and the contest is sponsored by Expedia not by myself. All winners are chosen by Expedia.

  • July 11, 2012

    As always, perfectly and beautifully said. It seems that your wanderlust spurs your drive and momentum to help and encourage others and bring out positive energy in everyone you meet. I think a lot of people could benefit from that!

    • July 12, 2012

      You are too kind dear Jade! I really loved your piece on travel as love for the Expedia campaign. It’s wonderful to be part of this with you. Thank you for sharing your heart and for taking the time to leave such kind encouragement for me. XO

  • July 11, 2012

    What a lovely post, Kirsten! I couldn’t agree more with you on the power of finding perspective through travel. Like your realization that bucket lists might work for some, even if not for yourself, one of the things I’ve loved learning most through travel is just that there is more than one way to do things – whether that’s in regards to travel or even life itself. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to more posts on perspective from you 🙂

    • July 12, 2012

      Thank you so much Candace! It’s so true, there really is more than one way to do things and I don’t think any of us has the hotline on some “right” way. The way we each live our lives is intensely personal. My only hope is that I can inspire people to LIVE and not to ever give up or stop pursuing their dreams because things can sometimes be hard. 

  • July 11, 2012
    Celeste H.

    Someone once told me that the most useful advice was given not by the old and the wise, but by people only a few years older than us. It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true. The lessons learned by those only 5-10 years older than us are still fresh in their minds, more applicable to the current state of the world, and are easier to digest.

    You’re at a different place in your life than I am, but only slightly: you’re no more than 10 years older than I am, and not that much further along in your career. I often get quite doomsday-ish in my views of the future: trying to develop a career in a crumbling economy, as well as to live in a way which is true to the way I want to live my life. It often seems impossible to find that combination in our lives which satisfies both our career and personal aspirations. I know it does for me. But you seem to have done it, and it’s inspiring to see someone succeed.

    Thank you for the perspective.

    • July 12, 2012

      I’m really humbled by your response Celeste. Thank you for taking the time to share your heart. 

      I don’t know that I have even begun to achieve half the dreams I have but I do know that my biggest accomplishment of the last couple of years is just simply having the courage [FINALLY] to try and pursue them. It used to be that I only talked about my dreams and ended up wasting all of my 20s in pursuit of things I didn’t enjoy, most of which were not at all reflective of who I want to be. When I was a teenager I spent a good amount of time doing charity work and building homes with Habitat for Humanity. The biggest part of my dream that still eludes me is getting back into that.

      Every moment, though, is a fresh opportunity. Wishing you all the very best as you pursue your dreams!!

  • July 11, 2012

     Mmm, I love your story, Kirsten. Perspective is exactly what it’s about. For me, the beauty of travel is the opportunity to see and think about and, hopefully, grow to understand the world in a new light. The obvious and ordinary become anything-but and the foreign becomes a little more familiar when I’m moved to a new position, a new vantage point. Perspective is my most precious and timeless souvenir.

    Enjoy fielding all the beautiful entries that will come in this month. What a fun project!

    • July 12, 2012

      I’m so glad you understand and agree. Certainly there was no doubt but I definitely feel again the pull of kindred spirits in the two of you. 

      It is indeed, a fun project and I am so grateful that “work” involves a company like Expedia and a campaign like this. I hope you’ll share a photo on twitter for this?

  • July 11, 2012

    Some things are just awesome, and if lots of people want to experience those awesome things before they die then who can begrudge them for it? That’s why I’m all for bucket lists. But you can’t focus solely on them. Often, the brilliant memories come from an unexpected part of the journey to get to that bucket list destination and oddly, they’ll stick with you more than the place you had your heart set on visiting. 

    • July 12, 2012

      I think you’re probably 100% right Arlanwen. Thank you for the comment!

  • July 13, 2012
    Trip Styler

    Love this quote: “I have found that running away from problems can sometimes provide just enough distance for me to mend some things with regards to the people and places that trouble me. ” Well said, well said Kirsten 🙂 

  • July 17, 2012

    What an inspiring travel story!

  • July 18, 2012

    I love reading how travel affects people in different ways for different reasons. But I found there is always a commonality with travellers, that no matter what travel can be life changing. It’s the best feeling of all. Thanks for sharing Kirsten

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