Why do we travel?


Just two days ago, Daniel and I returned home from what we affectionately call our ‘Wild West Road Trip.’ We drove from our hometown of Chico, California to Burns, Oregon, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, Jackson, Wyoming, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and back home. Needless to say, we had lots of time for chatting and laughs together. Heading back through Winnemucca, Nevada, we were both getting a bit rummy, and Daniel asks me….why do you like to travel, anyway? So I sat and thought for a moment and here’s what I came up with.

For me, travel is a puzzle made up of four pieces. First, we travel to experience beautiful things….sights, sounds, smells, anything that enhances who we are. I know that when I have a special moment traveling, this moment takes new life in the fiber of who I am.

Watching the sunset with Daniel in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone.

The second piece is probably the most difficult for me, the relational piece. I’m an introvert by nature, so this is a stretch for me sometimes. We travel not only to experience the beauty of places, but to feel the beauty in others who oftentimes are very like minded. This past trip, we stayed at the Grand Teton Climber’s Ranch which, set in the shadow of the Grand Teton Range, is a cluster of log cabins with bunks one can rent in hostel style. You cook together in a communal cooking area and sleep in cabins with up to 8 other ‘new friends.’

Grand Teton Climber’s Ranch

We cooked meals and chatted with our fellow bunkmates, played board games together, shared plans and hikes and experiences with one another, and created our own little ‘family’ – love ’em or be annoyed by ’em – for the five days we were there. It was memorable, funny, sometimes irritating, but all in all, a precious experience.

Puzzle piece three? That’s your Push-the-Limits Piece. Find an event or activity that is out of your comfort zone and try it out. I am terrified of heights, so always trying to conquer this, I thought doing a via ferrata climbing experience at the Jackson Hole Resort might be a challenging option. Not only was it amazing, scary, hard, and rewarding, but we met the most wonderful guide, who we now consider a friend. More about him and that experience in another post, but bottom line is that in pushing our limits and trying something new, we achieved a goal, and also got the bonus of a new, meaningful friendship. Awesome!

Mash, our via ferrata guide, who has climbed El Capitan in Yosemite over 40 times! He also works as a counselor and runs his own retreat for wounded warriors in Costa Rica.

The fourth piece is my favorite: gratitude. There is nothing more I enjoy about travel than taking a deep breath and thanking God for my presence in this world.

Daniel and I at Delta Lake in Grand Teton National Park. This hike was challenging! The gratitude real.

Why do you travel? What are the pieces of your puzzle? We’d love to hear your thoughts! For better or nurse, Dan and Tanya


I'm an only child who grew up on a sailboat, a lover of adventure, a mom, wife, an RN, and a friend of all dogs.


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