Trudging though a Nicaraguan downpour. Driving across the country multiple times. Getting stuck in the middle of a Parisian taxi strike. All these unexpected travel adventures presented me with moments to regret certain travel methods. But no matter how many beautiful, famous landmarks I see as a tourist, my most memorable experiences will always be linked to my many travel mishaps. They remain ingrained in my memory, which is exactly how I
want them to stay.
Henry Miller said, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” No matter where or why you travel, your experiences can change your perspectives on life. You just have to set yourself up to find those life-changing moments. Conventional travel offers pleasant, replicable experiences to each traveler—the typical kind of activities you normally think of when it comes to travel. You see the landmarks; you take the cheesy (but necessary) pictures. It’s a great journey. But if you step off the beaten tourist path, you will find a new world of possibilities. Your tourist trip suddenly becomes an adventure. You may run into some bumps along the way, but those bumps will help customize your trip—and maybe even your life.
Some of my most memorable travel adventures stem from mistakes that led to impressive experiences. For instance, I never expected that sleeping in a crammed hatchback with four other adults in a parking lot in Bavaria would be enjoyable. Okay, so it wasn’t the best night of my life, but it allowed me to witness the most incredible view the next morning. As dawn interrupted my rather sleepless night, the sky melted into a spectacular sunrise. What I hadn’t realized the night before was that we were parked beside a charming country church at the base of a mountain. If I craned my neck, I could see the sun highlight the outline of the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. As I observed the picturesque scene, I realized that this awe-inspiring moment may have been worth the uncomfortable night.
It may not always be convenient, but I hope you do all you can to catch your perfect sunrise, whether that be from outer space (p. 37), camping in the Caribbean (p. 18), or even seeing hope reflecting in a refugee’s eyes (p. 72). No matter where you look, you can find an unexpected sunrise. It may come at the end of a thrilling adventure, or it may come when you think that things can’t get worse. But no matter what, search out your travel moment. Catch your sunrise. Collect those sunrises throughout your travels. Your collection will help you experience the world in incredible ways.
—Lisa MacKay, Managing Editor