As my inbox fills up with promotional emails and the list of people I want to get presents for grows and grows, I find myself thinking about the meaning of a gift. What gifts have I given and received over the past year? Which ones meant the most to me and why?
After some soul searching, I now define a gift as simply something that brings joy. A gift can be an object, but it can also be an experience or memory. In my time, I have discovered the best gifts I can give myself and others are always travel related.
Traveling takes time, planning, and often some expenses, but always gives back so much more. It allows you to get out of your normal routine, go see something new or discover the completely unknown. Whether it is an afternoon hike in the well-trodden woods near home or a week in a new and exciting part of the world, I find that travel continues to give gifts long after the journey is over. It creates a wealth of experiences to pull from and the confidence to go forth and learn new things about ourselves and others. Memories are created with new and old friends as you explore together.
Throughout the ebbs and flows of days, months, and years, I recall the little joyous moments I had while out exploring and feel renewed. In this renewal, I try to share that joy with others. Sometimes it is in sharing the funny little joke a hostess at a sheep farm told me, and other times it is opening my home and kitchen to fellow travelers as others have done for me.
I try to keep these thoughts in mind as I work through my list of presents and people for the holiday season. What can I give to the important people in my life that will bring them joy?