Travel Memories : Exploring New Landscapes

There’s something deeply inspiring about removing oneself from the familiar. Like a fellow writer shared last week,
“Travel does so much for the soul.
It reassures a writer that the world is still a beautiful and endless space.” 
Sometimes, a change in scenery is all we need to remember that life is not as desolate, or boring, or mundane, or hopeless as we might have thought. And sometimes, the change in natural landscape offers new scope for the human experience because it offers different cultural, culinary, creative, political or social environments. Travel, the act of going to places that we’ve never been before, adds dimension to the way that we think.
Some people don’t yield to it, allowing new places and experiences to shape or inspire their thoughts and ideas. For me, the opportunity to travel is an opportunity to grow. I find it impossible to be indifferent to new landscapes, both literal and figurative. The more space I have physically, the more free I feel mentally.
Salzburg, the place I called home for three months, is nestled among the Alps. The air itself feels quieter and cleaner there. And like its natural environment, the culture of the city is quiet and contemplative, as though the people who live there are there to rest, to live as simply and happily as possible, to go for a bike ride or a hike, to sit on a park bench and whisper to each other in Deutsch.
It’s so different than the way I live my life here in Chicago, driving my battered minivan everywhere I “need” to go, jamming my schedule so full that the last thing on my mind would be to take time out of my day to meditate and reflect, the way that I used to when I lived in Salzburg.
berlin wall
Other places like Berlin, Munich, Rome, Prague, Paris, and Amsterdam presented opportunities, too, to examine the way that people live, the way that they process and commemorate historical events, the way they eat or enjoy nature, the way they entertain, the way that they get from one place to another.
The change of scenery renewed my creative spirit. The change of culture challenged my mind.
How do you navigate the terrain of a different way of life? 
It’s a question I haven’t stopped asking since.
1 : Ljubljana, Slovenia. October 2008.  | 2 : View from the Monchsberg. Salzburg, Austria. September 2008. | 3 : Amsterdam, Holland. November 2008. | 4. The East Side Gallery, the Berlin Wall. Berlin, Germany. October, 2008.