Belong to Where You Are – A Philosophy for Travel

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Our Editors spotted this picture and were instantly drawn to it. After all gaining a sense of belonging to a new destination is one of the fundamental joys of travel. It’s part of the challenge and makes the tedious aspects of a journey that much more enjoyable.

Sure it is great to experience the newness and buzz of being in an unfamiliar land, surrounded by unknown people, speaking an unrecognizable language; that makes us all feel more alive. But most of our community will concede that there is also a palpable sense of accomplishment once we find ourselves comfortable in a new land. Feeling like we belong to the places we travel to will always make us smile.

São Paulo-based Mesa & Cadeira (Table & Chair in Portuguese) is “a company that believes in learning through doing” and in March hosted a conference with 12 local designers who were tasked to create a collection of phrases that best expressed their individual philosophies on life. One of the results was this simple but powerful saying, “Belong to Where You Are.”

I am sure everyone in our Going Global community of Elite Travelers understands that travel is one part mundane, one part mystery. The everyday mundane part however seems more magical in a foreign land. Getting a coffee, riding a subway, buying a book, are all more enjoyable when we’re in a new destination. I believe this is because being in unfamiliar surroundings forces us to live in the now. We pay more attention, our sense are more sharp and frankly we tend to be in a better, more open frame of mind.

However – and those of you who read our blog regularly will be expecting a big however – there is another side to this story, and that is the joy of feeling as if you belong. Liking to feel like a stranger and wanting to feel as if you are a part of something may seem hopelessly at odds with one another, however when you break down these emotions you will realize that they are actually complimentary not contradictory. We like the buzz of newness but as people we also crave the comfort of connection. It is nice to feel as if you belong and for the intrepid traveler this is a sign that you are starting to get to know a destination. It is one of the ways we judge our travel skills because we all know that you can’t feel connected to an exotic locale by spending all of your time in an international hotel. You have to get out, walk the streets, meet the people and experience both the mundane and magical aspects of a destination.

So what about you? What do you like more, the newness of a place or the feeling that you’ve come to know it by feeling like you belong?

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