With a forecasted high of 63 degrees on a beautiful Sunday morning in September, I went about my daily routine. I woke up, ate breakfast, showered and got ready to attend the morning service. But, today felt different. Today, I wanted more. I needed to escape. With a full tank of gas, I planned to hop in my car and drive until nightfall, but after reassessing my feelings, what came to mind was quite different. I felt compelled to see one of history’s most notable creations. With limited time and resources to expend, I found my day vacation spot only a few hours away. In preparation for the day, I gathered insect repellent, an extra layer of clothes for when day became night, and a bag of my favorite snacks for the ride. I set forth to see the Kinzua Bridge. Built in 1882 under the direction of General Thomas L Kane, the bridge, located in McKean County, PA stands at 301 feet and is 2,052 feet long. At one time, it held the record for being the tallest railroad bridge in the world and now serves as a cornerstone to the Kinzua Bridge State Park. I explored the area, hiked along the river and was graced with a breathtaking sunset to wrap up the day. The crisp air of a higher elevation, along with the echoes of nature surrounding me was the precise relief I needed after a long week. Traveling does not always have to be associated with long distance; sometimes all we need is to open our eyes to find comfort in our surrounding areas.
Quotes like “life wasn’t meant to be lived in one place” and “the journey is the reward” remain eminent in my mind as I press upon the keystrokes to this document. These same quotes serve as a benchmark in gauging the extent to which we have already traveled along with invigorating us to travel more. Our existence as a whole is an extraordinary experience. From beginning to end, we acquire integral pieces of information that will further our growth both physically and spiritually. Life on earth could be compared to a mysterious novel. The introduction may provide the course of events to follow, but as a reader, we do not fully comprehend how the story will unfold, which in turn compels us to flip the pages one after another to see what happens next.
Traveling to a remote location isn’t always necessary. We find happiness at home with those who matter most as well. To properly encapsulate the happiness associated with a loved one returning home after time away is nearly impossible. Recently, I have been fortunate enough to bear witness to this very event. Without prior notice to my girlfriend’s mother, I observed the return of her oldest daughter after being away at school. From underneath the stair set, I watched as she tiptoed up the steps to awaken her sleeping mother. I could overhear the sound of laughter and joy as they kissed and hugged. As we grow older, we grasp the rigid reigns of life to travel for matters of employment, family, and a variety of events both fortunate and unfortunate. We pack our bags and walk out the door, leaving behind what we have grown so accustomed to over the years; the home cooked meals, freshly baked pumpkin pies, the warm hugs, and gentle conversation that is not so easily replaced. This is where we feel that we Belong…however the moment we are brought together again is as heartwarming as our departure. It is almost as if time had paused or been placed on hold for our arrival, as everything lay the same as it was the day that we left.
Travel is paramount to our maturation. Whether it’s a vacation to the sandy beaches of Nepal or the picturesque mountains of Colorado, we set out to see the world. Even if we are only traveling down the road to venture into the woods for a hike, we invite the crisp rays of the sun to shine upon our face and the soft grass underneath our feet to guide us. We remember our adventures and reminisce on the events that took place as we look forward to the next. We relish in what is to come and remain thankful for what has occurred, and in this moment we Belong…