How 2 Funerals Have Reshaped My Beliefs on Travel

Posted By Trav


In the past week, I’ve attended two funerals.

One death was unexpected, while the other was known for a long time.

One was married with a large family, the other was single.

Both were in their late 50’s, early 60’s.

Both were heavily beloved, with over 300 people showing up to at each funeral.

And both hadn’t traveled very much.

In fact, I’m fairly certain that neither had ever been out of the country.

As funerals are wont to do, I began to think about my own life.

The natural take-away and assumption would lead you to believe that I thought:

“life is short, so take every chance you can to travel and see the world, because you never know when you won’t have that chance.”

Well…not quite.

I’m as a big a proponent of traveling as the next person.

Heck, I run a website devoted to it and a host a podcast where I interview some of the world’s greatest travelers!

But for me, travel is the easy part.

It’s easy for me to be in a new country, full of exciting new people, having my senses bombarded with new sights, tastes, and smells.

To wake up excited every morning.

To be content to just wander around the streets, looking for adventure.

To live every day to it’s fullest.

To feel alive.

That’s easy.

What isn’t easy is being home.

I get restless.

I get antsy.

I get agitated much more quickly.

I get jealous of emails from readers who are going on their next trip, and think “why isn’t that me?

I stare at google maps for hours, wondering what a country looks like from the ground, wishing I was there.

And by doing that, I miss A LOT.


You see, the purpose of this post IS what you assume.

It is “Carpe Diem”.

It is “seize the day”.

But that’s MUCH different than “Carpe Diem…when in another country.”

Or “seize the day…when traveling”.

I am extremely blessed to have a wonderful family and wonderful friends.

When I’m home, I live in an area that has every single convenience I could ever want.

It also has as many opportunities to explore as any other place in the world.

I’m 2 hours from one of the world’s largest cities.

I’m 3 hours from the nation’s capital.

I’m 45 minutes from where our country was founded.

I’m 15 minutes from one of the most famous spots of the Revolutionary War, a place George Washington slept.

And yet, day after day, I pass through these areas, rarely pausing to enjoy them.

Rarely letting my sense be overloaded.

Never allowing that same sense of amazement and wonder that I have when I’m “really” traveling.

And that’s a shame.

And it’s all my own fault.

It’s not the place I live.

It’s not the surrounding circumstances.

It’s nothing other than my own apathy.

I have absolutely nothing against being filled with wanderlust.

Nothing against staring at maps and thinking “I want to go there” to every place imagineable.

And certainly nothing against actually doing it.

I’m incredibly blessed to have been able to see parts of the world that the two people who passed away never saw.

I’m blessed to know that I’ll be able to see many, many more in the next few years, and that I’ll be able to do it for almost free.

But what I need to realize is that when I’m at home, when I’m “sleepwalking” through my day (as I recently mentioned on my latest podcast), that I’m wasting a day.

A day that I have on this Earth that I’ll never get back.

Both of these people never left the country, and yet they lived incredibly fully, enriching lives.

They weren’t upset about not being able to see the Great Wall.

Instead, they were busy making their lives, and the lives around them, as exciting and enjoyable as they possibly could.

So, instead of seeing these days at home as just an inconvenience between trips, I need to start seeing them as an opportunity.

To explore, anywhere and everywhere.

To connect, with friends and family.

To enjoy, cherish, and revel in.

It’s time to start living EVERY day to the fullest.

Whether I’m traveling…or not.

Whether I’m in Calcutta….or Collegeville.

The Philippines…or Philadelphia.

A hostel….or home.

“Carpe Diem…wherever you are”

“Seize the day…EVERYDAY”.

What life events have reshaped and shook your view on travel?  How did you change afterwards?

If this post has struck a chord with you, I ask that you please share this on Twitter and Facebook.  I think many people can benefit from hearing this message (I know I sure did).

(Photo courtesy of Brett Jordan, Ivan McClellan)


  1. Curtis says:

    Thanks Trav. Good perspective, and good stuff. I live in Utah and am surrounded by natural wonders but don’t get out in it enough. Thanks for the post.

    1. Trav says:

      @Curtis- Yeah, it’s amazing what is right outside your door. I’ve taken up biking a bit now as a way to not only get fit, but also as a way to really explore and appreciate the area around me (PLUS save on gas!).

  2. jennifernice says:

    This post totally resonates with me – I struggle with the same feelings. Reminds me of a Marcel Proust quote on a Mary Engelbreit poster my mom gave me about 20 years ago: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but having new eyes.”
    You’re right – it’s easy to feel alive and passionate when we’re traveling (especially abroad) especially when you’re a traveler who thrives on the “discomfort” that kind of travel presents. What’s hard is to be content with everyday surroundings and well, daily life.
    Thanks for writing – it’s a timely and thoughtful message as we wrap up 2013 and look ahead to next year’s adventures (whether they’re close to home or far away!)

    1. Trav says:

      @jennifernice- Awesome, awesome quote and I figured that a lot of people who are full of wanderlust struggle with the same feelings. I definitely am trying to remind myself every single day to seek out at least 1 new opportunity or 1 new experience, whether it be big or small. I heard someone once say “do 1 thing that scares you every day” and I’ve really tried to take that to heart, although I need reminders sometimes (like these two funerals).

      Thanks for sharing, and best of luck in all your adventures, near and far!

  3. aj422 says:

    That was a really good post and it covered my range of emotions about travel (love it-hate being home) yet I found myself in the last month trying to shake myself out of the apathy of home and make everyday a great day. Thanks for reminding me that I am on the right path.

    1. Trav says:

      @aj422- You are on the right path, and the beauty is that if we feel a bit perturbed about being home, it just means that we love travel that much, and that’s never a bad thing. Keep trying to make every day as awesome as possible and your life will be altered!

  4. sabina says:

    Great post, Travis and so true. Happy travels wherever you go…. (I live outside Philly, and yes, much to explore in this part of the world …)

    1. Trav says:

      @Sabina- Thanks so much! Where do you live in Philly? I’m hosting a meetup in Philly on Tuesday, January 7th. Haven’t told the general EPoP public yet, but here’s a link for more details:


      1. sabina says:

        Travis: Used to live in Old City, but moved to Langhorne last year. The event sounds really exciting. Not sure yet if I can make it…. but thanks so much for letting me know.

  5. J. says:

    A touching post. Merci.

  6. Sue says:

    What a wonderful post for the end of the year! Having lived almost 7 decades, I so believe in your thoughts about travel. My father taught me many years ago to visit our wonderful country filled with unimaginable beauty, resulting in me visiting 48 of our 50 states. ( still shooting for those last two!) I have tried to instill that in my children and grandchildren. Then visit the world for beautiful places and people,one can only dream of. But as you so brilliantly stated, seize the day and the moments, they may not be available tomorrow. Wishing you happy travels in 2014

    1. Trav says:

      @Sue- What are the last two that you need to go to? Please say Pennsylvania! Thanks for all the feedback, and you’re right, let’s just live in amazement at the wonderful world we have around us…no matter where we are!

      And with that, I’m getting off the computer for the day…time to go bike ride and then sit in a hot tub!

  7. Bruce says:

    Thanks!!!! Happy New Year!!!!

    1. Trav says:

      @Bruce- No problem, and same to you!

  8. mike says:

    Thanks for sharing. It’s good to be reminded to appreciate what is close by. Hope you have an awesome 2014.

    1. Trav says:

      @Mike- My pleasure! Hope you do too!

  9. Jim says:

    Unfortunately most people are locked into a job and the 50 years a slave program. Half will be dead or in such poor health by age 70 that they will never have the opportunity to have a life. I encourage everyone with children to not brain wash them with the same old get a good education so you can get a good job bs. There are a million ways to make a million dollars and having a job is not one of them. Instead encourage them to find out how to make money. Its simple if that is your goal.

    1. Trav says:

      @Jim- I completely agree. If you have a “regular” job that you like, great. Keep it, enjoy it. But if you’re someone who is just “slaving away”, start thinking outside the box. Go after the type of life you want. Because if you’re waiting until 70 to start living your life, you’re cutting yourself short.

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