Look, right out the gate I’m gonna tell you this: I am in no way, ever, in these Signal Fires, claiming that I am in any way worthy of giving any of you advice. I say that because this place has always been a spot for me to just mind dump, to brain rain all over and hope that it grows some flowers in the people that choose to be here, the people that I Love. That’s you, in case you’re wondering. You never need to take my advice, never need to heed (need to heed is rad, should be a band) anything I say. Thought I’d offer that up as a little caveat, a little reminder. I just spill it out, and if some of it lands, WAHOO! and if not, that’s ok too. Now, let’s jump into today’s topic, traveling, making memories, and why I only prefer to do it one way, and probably always will. Onward, as the kids say.
My nephew once told my sister that when we come to die, a highlight reel plays of all the greatest hits throughout the course of our life to that point, and that as such, the meaning of life, the true meaning of life, is to fill it with the absolute most amount of great memories we possibly could. The little dude said this when he was like 5 years old, which is astounding, but the truth reverberated through her, and through me, when she told me it. He’s right. That’s all it comes down to, he’s dead (pun intended) on the money right. We’re here to make memories, to fill our little highlight reel with as many beautiful, magnificent, revelatory experiences as we possibly can, and one of the best, if not the best ways of doing so in this short blip of time we’re given, is to do one thing and to do it often: Travel.
Luckily for me, and my highlight reel I’m still trying to put together before I kick the proverbial bucket, I’ve been able to do that all my life, seeing more places than I ever thought I would, and the entire focus on the rest of my life is to do more. In this pursuit of adventure, of travel, I’ve come to realize that there are two main camps when it comes to the enjoyment of travel. There are those that believe that solo travel is the path towards extreme enlightenment and pleasure, and those that believe that the key to wringing every drop of magic out of travel, it must be shared. Entrenched in each camp are those loyal converts, those that will fight til bloody to assert the dominance of their position, that their way is the way and anything else is second best. Oddly, I’m not entrenched into my position, but I do have strong feelings in my own life as to the way I prefer to travel, the way I prefer to make those highlight reel memories, and it is, and always has been with someone I care about, someone I love.
Quite simply, I want my memories shared. Solo travel, while enriching and character building and freeing in a way that you cannot get any other way, quite simply, leaves me feeling lonely, and it leaves me wanting. When I care for someone, be they life partner or best friend, family member or adventure pal, the enrichment of travel is actually directly enriched by their presence. When I make memories, the weight they carry, the impact they have upon my soul is intensified, often by multitudes, when those memories are shared. When they are not, I find myself aching to do so, to share them, whether through photographs, video calls, or even text messages. I want the people I Love to see what I see, to feel what I feel, to experience all I am experiencing, and when they do not, it steals a bit of that joy, if I am honest.
A recent memory that solidified this belief in me, was Sarah and I’s wedding trip to Scotland, and the Isle of Skye. Both Sarah and I had been before, deeply exploring the entire country and soaking in every single detail we possibly could, and fell more in love with that land than I can describe here, but I can say with absolute certainty, that when we brought our families and friends over for our wedding adventure, 24 of us in total, that joy was magnified more than we ever thought possible. Retracing some of the very steps we’d already taken, re-experiencing the exact things we’d already seen, and done before, with those people that meant the most to us in the world made everything brand new. In truth, for both Sarah and I, those memories are some of our fondest we’ve ever made, and it was because they were shared, because we knew that in the minds of those that adventured with us, the very same images, smells, sounds, and experiences that took root in our memories, in our souls, were taking root in theirs. I do not know a gift better than this, to give to them, sure, but just as strong, given to us.
Once again, there are thousands of ways to navigate this life, and while travel remains, in my humble opinion, one of the best and most important ways to navigate it, the options are there for how you choose to do so. If you’re a solo traveler, in all honesty, I’m in awe of you, as it does require a level of individualism, courage, and strength of character that many, most, do not have. If you’re out there, making all your memories alone, I really do want to hear from you as to why you choose it this way, if it’s a choice at all. I want to hear what you soak in and what it gives back to you, to adventure by your lonesome. Please, do share with me your insights on what it is that you adore about it, I want to learn your ways, despite the fact that they are ways I most likely will never be able to adopt myself.
For me, it will stay as it always has been, as for me, memories account for all things, and memories shared carry so much more worth. I love looking across some beautiful place and seeing the face of someone I cherish soaking it all in. I love coming back home, and then being able to reminisce days, weeks, months, or years later. I love the memory boards we put together from the tiny totems we have saved, I Love the photos that come home with us, the reminders we get to keep as long as we live.
However you make your memories, however you are filling your highlight reel, keep in mind my nephew’s realization, his advice: Fill your final video with as much beauty as you can possibly carry, fill your highlight reel with a lifetime of stunning memories. It’s why we’re here, after all.
See you out there.
Memories when shared
hold so much more weight to me
than those made alone.