I recently embarked on a 17-day trip to Colorado and Minnesota. On the 13 1/2 hour drive to CO Springs, the 13 hour drive to Prior Lake, and the 9 hour drive back to Missouri, I had plenty of time to think about why I embrace travel.

For me, travel offers glimpses into how others live, as I visit new-to-me (or at least not-often-visited) places, spend time with people that aren’t part of my normal life, and experience things that aren’t the norm for me. And from those glimpses, I learn.

So what did I learn from my latest trip? More things than I have room for here, but I’ll share just a few:

1. Driving across Kansas as an adult, in particular a solo adult, is worse than driving across the same state as a child. As a child, I could read a book,  sleep most of the way, etc; as a solo adult, I couldn’t escape the seemingly-endless, monotonous & boring landscape. (Sorry, Kansans, but it’s true)  While I’m on the topic of driving, Nebraskans are worse than Missourians at using the left lane only for passing. So much so that they make my fellow Missourians look like the nation’s champions at using the left lane correctly. 🙂

2. Despite the changes I’ve made in recent years, there are still many more I can make to live a more healthy lifestyle. Better yet, many of the changes I can make are really quite simple. My CO Springs friends Laura & Stephen grow an amazing amount of vegetables, fruits, and herbs in a very short growing season, for example, and shockingly to me, their huge garden is free of weeds without any effort on their part. Stephen is a phenomenal gardener, and both Laura and Stephen utilize healthy ingredients in their diet, fixing extremely tasty meals that were far less complicated than I thought healthy eating had to be.

They are also extremely physically active, biking and walking/hiking long (to me) distances every day that weather permits. Stephen still works full time and Laura faces health challenges due to a long battle with cancer, yet they seamlessly incorporate both indoor and outdoor exercise into their daily routines.

3. I don’t typically think of myself as “creative”, and I’ve always been in awe of people who are. Spending a week with Lisa — and a couple of days with her sister Denise — was absolutely inspirational. Both ladies — and their parents, who I spent a few hours with at their home — are creative, gifted, talented, skilled . . . you name it, it fits. And like Stephen and Laura, they do what they do naturally, as if it’s no big deal at all.

Their creativity is part of the fabric of their life. Not only do the beautiful, extremely well-made quilts, furniture, decor items, etc., they make add to the beauty (and functionality) of their homes, they incorporate the essence of creativity in the routines of their day. I saw simply a large, random array of costume jewelry at a huge church “yard sale” we attended; Denise saw in more than a few pieces specific elements and explained how she might use them to create beautiful pieces of art. When I saw stacks of cloth, Lisa envisioned quilts she could piece. Throughout our time together, I began to look past objects themselves to the possibilities they held.

My recent travels broadened my horizons, opened my eyes to possibilities, caused me to dream more than I have in awhile.

Those 17 days were full of gifts — time spent with people very dear to me . . . lots of laughter . . . great conversations . . . inspiration . . .and more.

What inspires you? What brings you joy? How can you incorporate more of whatever that is into your life?

I’ll be sharing more about my trip on facebook (Patti Miinch) this week. I hope you’ll join me and join in the conversations!