By: Brittany Racca
COVID-19. By April 2020, there wasn't a source of media in Iberia Parish and the world that didn't encompass those words in some type of coverage.
Lives changed overnight and we’re still not sure how life will look post pandemic. Milestones such as weddings and graduations were postponed or cancelled, and home became our sanctuary. The pace of life slowed down allowing time for families to reconnect. More people had time to relax, reset and rediscover hobbies they loved that they never made time for.
Zoom allowed us to physically distance and still be socially connected. But, everyone is itching to escape and see the world in person again.
Soon, we’ll be free to explore sanctuaries away from home to continue our new found practices. Travel is one of them. Everyone has their reasons to travel, read our list and see which one speaks to you.
1. Reset & Challenge Yourself
Do you feel stuck in a rut or trapped in routine? Getting away gives you the chance to reflect and reevaluate. When we travel we are faced with choices and issues that challenge us. How you handle those situations gives you insight into your own self. Maybe you fear eating alone, but have the courage to do so in a place where you don't know anyone. You never know what you'll discover about yourself when you take the time to reset and learn. You'll feel amazing once you overcome your fears and realize you can rise to any challenge.
Travel has been and is a constant that allows us to dream of no commitments, responsibilities or deadlines, no early morning wake up calls, clock ins and no homework. Travel is freedom. We get to choose how we spend our time, whether that's laying on a beach or visiting the world famous Tabasco factory. Getting to escape the hum drum and busy lives we all lead is such a great reason to travel.
3. Broaden Your Perspective
If you have the time, you should make a list of all the places you've ever traveled (for pleasure, not work related trips). How does seeing your list make you feel? When we travel we broaden our minds and open ourselves up to new ways of thinking. We experience other cultures and learn that everyone's world view is different. It's the "see it to believe it" reason.
It's hard to picture how or why another person does something if you've never seen for yourself what they've been through. Jefferson Island Rip Wan Winkle Gardens suffered through the collapse of the salt mine the island sits on in 1980, but visiting the attraction today you'd never realize a tragedy had ever occurred. And they're just one example of Iberia Parish's resilience. Travel makes us more well rounded as individuals and allows us to develop compassion and empathy for people we don't know, which in turn makes us better human beings.
Acquiring new skills or knowledge are just some of the things you'll learn when you travel. Visiting museums like Bayou Teche Museum or Jeanerette Museum, eating in local spots, canoeing on the Bayou Teche, all of these experiences teach you the history of the area as well as immerse you into Cajun lifestyle and culture.
The best form of education is one where you're thrust into the setting instead of watching it on tv or reading about it in a book. It'll stick with you a lot longer because you're living the story. Some of our attractions strived to help people learn even during the stay at home order! Like how Shadows-on-the-Teche taught people about plein air art with their online art auction and weekly virtual garden tours, and Paul Schexnayder Studio + Gallery held a local drive by art walk.
5. Lower Stress
Maybe you don't want to escape your daily life, but everyone needs time off every now and then. You deserve a break from real life to lower stress, even if it's just taking a day off to visit hometown attractions and to seek what you don't have at home.
Travel helps you heal. Giving yourself permission to step back from social media, emails and technology in general will increase your mood which in turn helps increase your productivity once you return home. Now everyone's version of lowering stress is different. It might look like RVing/camping, taking walks on one of our trails or visiting America's oldest operating Rice Mill, Konriko, for a little retail therapy. Whatever you decide to do, just remember to be present in the moment. Now, go make that serotonin!
6. Spend Quality Time
Some of our favorite memories are on vacations and there's a reason for that, the people we share it with. Who we travel with strengthens those bonds. My family still talks about vacations we took 20 years ago! When you go places with family you're reminded how incredibly lucky you are to have people to share these moments with.
Some of our visitors have had fun together as families completing scavenger hunts, attending festivals and events. When we travel with friends, we remember why they're the family we choose. The thing about life is that we never know what moment will become a memory so we don't savor it the way we should, but when we travel we have that certainty. It's up to us to treasure it.
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