The world offers a full menu of locations to visit. In fact, the menu is too full for even the longest of lifetimes. Thus, travelers, even the most ambitious ones, are compelled to be choosy about where they want to go. One might want to go to one of the poles, north or south; or go to Narvik, Norway, the Land of the Midnight Sun; or Machu Picchu, once believed to be the center, the “bellybutton” of the world by the Incas. These, like a multitude of places in the world, all emote a unique cachet of experience that is worth the effort.
When prioritizing the select “mustsee” spots that are worthy of being near or at the top of the list, one might want to consider Granada and Santiago de Compostela, both located in Spain.
Granada offers a wealth of history, literature (Washington Irving – “Tales of the Alhambra”), and bewitching scenery, some man-made and some natural, that will inspire and leave an indelible impression on one’s mind.
Santiago de Compostela, the city of Saint James and “a field of stars”, offers a spiritual awakening that can be further nurtured through sharing with a loved one. One may make a pilgrimage there from 500 miles or 50 steps depending on health, will and stamina, and with the guiding force of the Holy Spirit will stamp the soul with a vision forever imprinted.
Travel is an art. Those who have trod on the dusty roads, climbed on the steepest mountains, and deftly maneuvered through the busiest of metropolises know that. Some of the finer techniques and concepts that can help a traveler experience success are:
1. Know thyself and how you operate.
2. Be aware of others you meet and sensitive to different languages, mindsets, and cultures.
3. Never go the entire way alone; life is a shared experience for it to be meaningful.
4. Always put your travel companion and his or her needs first.
5. Research and learn prior to, during, and after the journey.
6. Keep a journal since “the faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.”
7. Be authentic and true to yourself with all who you encounter.
8. Keep an awareness about you to avoid the danger of the elements and bad actors.
9. Prepare with care yet also be ready to be flexible since sometimes life presents unexpected opportunities.
10. Make merry and have fun each day and night.
This is just a starter-list of places to see and a manner in which to see them. It undoubtedly warrants many additions that each traveler will make while developing a list of one’s own. At the final sunset, hopefully in learning so much about the how the world goes around, we will have spent more vibrant, compassionate and dynamic lives enriched by all of God’s majesty and gifts He bestowed upon us.
Patrick J. Wood
Author of “Dear Reader” and “Tapestry of Love and Loss”