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50 shades of travel

by Emiel Van Den Boomen

Travel. Only one word but with many perspectives.

There is no black or white answer about why you should or should not travel. There is even no clear definition because travel has a different meaning for all of us.

Let me explore for you the black, the white and the grey shades of travel. At the end let me know which shade of travel suits you the best.

Here we go!

1. Travel is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

2. Travel is about unexpected discoveries, the joy of being away from daily routines and crushing the fear of the unknown.

3. Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling (Margaret Lee Runbeck)

4. Serendipitous travel creates the moments you will never forget.

Serendipity 3 NYC

5. Only by traveling you will learn about the real diversity of our planet.

6. I always take something back from my travels, even if it’s just a story.

7. We have an urge to fence whatever we encounter. We want to set a time frame. Otherwise we might lose control. Travel helps to overcome that by redefining our personal boundaries.

8. Travel can be a myth as it isn’t always some luxury 5 star adventure. Sometimes it’s just terrible (don’t remind me of that 14 hour bus ride somewhere in India).

9. We will always make the classic travel mistake of forgetting our passport.

10. How many times did you have the feeling you paid too much for that short stretch of transportation? Don’t blame the Tuk Tuk or rickshaw driver, he just tries to make a living. And no, it has nothing to do with you…

TukTuk India New Delhi

11. What’s the difference between 1 week and 1 year of travel? A bucket full of amazing life lessons and experiences.

12. I feel sorry for these people on the beach, red skin like a lobster and having no idea what is happening inland, 100 meters away from the beach.

13. Booking your trip in advance on the internet looks good, but do know that negotiating locally at the actual place is cheaper most of the times.

14. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone: crush those travel fears and go out.

15. Fear of traveling with small children? Don’t. They learn more from traveling than they will ever do in a class room.

16. It’s not that I adore travel particularly, I just like to move and stay in different places.

Uptown and the Bronx

17. Traveling kids are the global citizens of tomorrow.

18. Travel brings power and love back into your life (Rumi).

19. Fear of (political) turmoil in cities is fed by TV news. Ask locals and 95% of the times you are safe to travel.

20. The era of heavy travel guidebooks is slowly coming to an end.


21. What Felix Baumgartner taught us about traveling is that you should not be afraid, just jump!

22. Fear of leaving stability of your hometown behind witholds many from traveling. True, but when you are never challenged, you don’t live.

23. Why does it feel like life has no boundaries when we travel?

24. Travel will teach you how to turn a white canvas into a pallet full of colors.

Berlin with kids

25. Aren’t we all afraid to lose control when we jump into a foreign taxi and hope the bad-English speaking taxi driver knows where you want to go….

26. Travel can be an escape from your job, your commitments and routines. But in the end, all you were searching for was you.

27. When I travel I welcome my moments of solitude. They challenge me to think about how to escape the things that control me back home.

28. What did I learn when traveling? That I hate the commitments and routines back home that make life pass by far too quickly.

Sitting on dock of bay

29. To understand the concept of home, you need to get out first.

30. Traveling with babies is always a sensible subject. Are you in favor of creating special baby areas in an airplane?

31. Struggling to pick the next destination….I know, it’s a luxury problem.

32. Of all the types of travelers at an airport, the hurrying narcissist is my favorite! What’s yours?

33. I am ashamed by the lack of dress code of tourists and travelers. Show some sense, sensibility and respect!

Tirta Empul temple Bali

34. Upon entering, why am I always in doubt whether I have to take off my shoes or not?

35. A traveler is almost like a story collector on the run.

36. The secret of travel is serendipity. Walk the streets, turn right and left and just see what you encounter. Embrace the beauty of the ordinary and the unexpected.

37. Not every tourist is a traveler.

38. Slow travel is about consciously spending more time in a place than you would normally do. Are you in favor of going slow?

39. Traveling is so overrated. It actually is nothing more than visiting someone else’s hometown.

Man in Jaipur India

40. Traveling with kids a couple of times a year is like giving them roots and wings.

41. When you travel, you get new perspectives. According to my son (after visiting India and Thailand), God is just one big family.

42. Traveling with children opens up two new worlds: 1. Travel from your child’s perspective and 2. Local people are more open towards you as a family.

43. There is such thing as travel satiety. You never know when it hits you: after 2 weeks, 3 months or 1 year…

44. Never believe a fixed price is really a fixed price.

45. Treat people and countries you visit with respect. Be aware of local customs and don’t be a dork.

Bali trip island

46. “We spik Eglish’ doesn’t have to be a boundary to great communication. Use hands and feet!

47. There is a new travel trend coming up: Digital Detox. Travel is a way to escape from being online 24/7.

48. Staying with locals in their offered accommodation is a huge trend. Large hotel chains have to start offering new experiences.

49. The Lonely Planet is not so lonely anymore.

50. Traveling is far better than having a pony.

And one for you:

The Big Thing about travel for me is….. [ fill in what you think is important ]

P.S. if you thought this had anything to do with the content of Fifty Shades of Grey, you were wrong (sorry). It’s just some kind of year-end reflection…

Happy Holidays!

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Sylvia Jordan March 1, 2013 - 07:49

Very nice insights about the passion of travelling. I’ll be having Costa Blanca holidays 2013 but I’m still what you call a “novice” traveller. I’ve only done two destinations this year, but I’m hooked to the passion. This will definitely help me understand what travelling really entails.

Michi January 31, 2013 - 23:25

I love this post! I was just telling D-Man the other day how I believe that travel (or at least exposure and understanding of other worlds and cultures) is inherent to a person’s education. Imagine how open-minded and tolerant we would be as humans if we could all see that there are a million different ways to live life!

And I really think people need to get over babies on airplanes and stop complaining.

Emiel van den Boomen February 1, 2013 - 20:23

Michelle, that’s exactly the most important reason why everybody should travel. Not only being a tourist, but really travel. I hope D-Man is convinced now after reading the 50 shades?

Liz L January 5, 2013 - 14:44

I love all of these especially #6! Travel stories are the best souvenirs!

Emiel van den Boomen January 6, 2013 - 21:10

Thanks Liz. You know, that’s exactly why I started this blog about 3 years ago: to secure and share my travel stories.

Ayngelina January 3, 2013 - 16:04

Love all of these but number 4 really rings true for me.

Emiel van den Boomen January 3, 2013 - 16:08

Ah, another Serendipity Hunter! Thanks Ayngelina.

Forest Parks January 2, 2013 - 01:15

Great list of thoughts and rules! I learn each step I take in this world. We just have to keep our hearts and minds open!

Emiel van den Boomen January 2, 2013 - 09:41

Thank you Forest!

Jenna Francisco December 30, 2012 - 00:24

I loved this so much that I had to read it again 🙂 The perfect combo of real truths and lighthearted humor. All the best to you and your lovely family in 2013!

Emiel van den Boomen December 30, 2012 - 16:22

Thank you Jenna. Also you and your family all the best for 2013!!

Sue - Australia December 29, 2012 - 22:32

Can I post this list on a Billboard somewhere please 😉
SUPER list – love it ! Can relate to SO many .. .. Thx for sharing

Emiel van den Boomen December 29, 2012 - 23:45

Yes you can Sue…just do it. Would be great to see my list on a big Bill Board, woohoo! Thank you for your great comment!

Kate - CanuckiwiKate December 29, 2012 - 10:37

worse than forgetting, I’ve WASHED my passport. That caused trouble when it came time to renew it…

This is absolutely brilliant, I just love the reflective perspective

Emiel van den Boomen December 29, 2012 - 23:44

Thanks Kate for the compliment! Where you able to dry the passport and travel with it? 🙂

Kate - CanuckiwiKate April 7, 2013 - 07:30

It got me the work visa that I needed on time, but when it came time to renew with the Candian High Commission, I got strongly worded letter telling me I had to report the incident of water damage, and in the end they retained the old one (which felt like a punishment). Lesson learned!

Cheryl December 29, 2012 - 03:15

#12 is so true! I can’t believe that what some people want to do when they go to a country or a city is just to hit the beach! I mean, the beach is all great for relaxing and getting a tan, but I think the rush of the city and trying out some street food are so much better than watching the waves and one’s skin turn red.

And #36 is my motto when I travel. Nothing beats the joy of chasing serendipity in a foreign or strange land. There’s just something about simply exploring an unknown place, talking to locals and immersing in the country’s culture and beauty.

I don’t plan on commenting on each of the things I can relate to above, but I just want to say that your list reflects a lot of interesting perspectives on travel. 🙂

Emiel van den Boomen December 29, 2012 - 23:43

Dear Cheryl, I’m happy to have found your blog and your perspectives (liked your post about the rain!). I don’t expect you to reflect on each of the 50 shades 🙂 The list kind of shows all my reflections on travel from the past year or two. I was a great writing project for sure!

Cheryl December 30, 2012 - 06:24

Thank you for the kind words, Emiel! And I am looking forward to reading more of your travel stories here in your blog! 🙂

monique December 29, 2012 - 00:32

go 26, 28, 29 and 31! Wonderful post to end the year with. Travel teaches me how to live simply, be content and keeps me curious.

Emiel van den Boomen December 29, 2012 - 23:37

Thank you Monique, no. 28 seems to be very popular, also on Facebook…let’s keep on traveling!

Bama December 28, 2012 - 13:40

Wow, Emiel! A lot of those points really relate to me. But I can’t help to point out no.12 which I witnessed myself a lot, especially in the more touristy places, like Bali. Some people travel halfway around the world only to do that. It’s a matter of choice, though, and what kind of story you want to share with your family and friends when you return home.

Emiel van den Boomen December 29, 2012 - 23:32

True Bama, it’s a matter of choice. Nevertheless I can not imagine that you miss out on the great opportunity to really learn about a country and its diversity…

jenny_atasteoftravel December 28, 2012 - 09:47

So many fabulous perspectives..and far more interesting than I imagine Fifty Shades of Grey to be! Travel for me is about living…I travel to live! Cliched I know but I could never imagine not travelling. No grey for me!

Emiel van den Boomen December 29, 2012 - 23:29

Same here Jenny, a life without traveling is hard to imagine. Thanks for your comment! PS Glad to know this list is far more interesting than the 50 shades of Grey…:)

capturinglavita December 28, 2012 - 00:32

9. We will always make the classic travel mistake of forgetting our passport.

Haven’t done this yet!! Yikes! Great list!

Emiel van den Boomen December 29, 2012 - 23:28

Not yet….LOL Check out the comment from @katecanuckiwikate:disqus , she even washed her passport!

capturinglavita December 29, 2012 - 23:32

Ok, I can see myself washing it! I’d be so sad to wash all of my stamps away! I once grabbed my kids passport instead of my own, but I caught it in time!


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