The Reason Why We All Need to Share Our Travel Stories

Photo of Cappadocia, Turkey hot air balloons from the ourcancerjourney.com article about Host Bruce Watkins's Trip to Turkey and lessons he learned from listeners.

A touching request from a Cancer Patient helped me to overcome apprehension, and share my experiences so others could enjoy a sense of discovery and travel.

Bruce Watkins

Not long ago,  I returned from a trip to the captivating country of Turkey, a land rich with history and remarkable beauty.  

My close friends know of my deep appreciation for the life-expanding benefits of travel, and I am grateful for the enthusiastic support and encouragement I received when sharing news of my then-upcoming trip.

Beyond the customary and jovial “have a great time” and “safe journey” well-wishes, I received several notes from friends asking me to post lots of pictures and stories about Turkey.  

Well, I tried!  But I guess I am a terrible social media person because, while I do record lots of visuals and write many stories while traveling, I’m usually too enthralled with the people and places I am experiencing to publish regular social posts.  And like many of you, after I return from my trips, I get busy and never get around to sharing things.  Well, I want to modify that a bit now for two reasons, and this second one really hit me.

The first (and more simple) reason is that Turkey is truly remarkable.  While I had past exposure to the history and culture of the region, I truly was dumbfounded by the abundance of important sites and diverse landscapes this country provides.  And more than anything, the people of Turkey were some of the warmest and most genuine folks I have encountered.  The pride they have in their history, their still newly independent homeland, and their food (OMG, … the FOOD!!!),  …. is was so positive that I’d really like to share it with you.   

There is a more important reason to share our stories

But I realized an even more meaningful reason why sharing these stories was important, and that came when I received a few deeply heartfelt messages about my posts.  Please let me explain.  

As you may know, several months ago I launched an audio show called the “Our Cancer Journey Podcast.”   As someone that was diagnosed with Stage-3 Cancer just a few years back, I was very blessed to have first survived the disease and the aggressive medical treatments, and then to have the physical strength and good fortune to be able to continue my adventures and travels. 

But, as I came to know many others with cancer, I learn that some did not have the opportunity I had to travel, and many would never have it again.  Some were just starting their Cancer Journey.  Others were destined to continue managing their illness for the rest of their lives.  They told me they needed to conserve their energy and stay close to their health care providers.  

But in speaking further to these resilient people, I learned that despite their being tethered to their home base, they still had the same dreams, interests, and wanderlust that I had, and you likely have too.  Although they could not physically make the journey at that moment, they still longed for the experience.  They watched movies and travel shows.  They read books and attended “armchair travel lectures.”   They were not physically on a journey, but they were passionately traveling in their thoughts and dreams.  

I could relate.  When I was at the worst point of my post-surgery / radiation regimen and was incapacitated and unable to eat or speak, I would look at pictures of my travels and pictures my friends sent me of theirs.  I would close my eyes and imagine, and the power of those moments raised my spirits and my aspirations.  You think with all of this exposure, I would have intimately “gotten it.”   I did not.

One Patient’s Touching Request

I didn’t get it, that is, until recently when I received some touching messages from people that I did not know.  They were listeners of my cancer support podcast that had started following me on Social Media. While the authors expressed gratitude for being able to see and read about places they found interesting and beautiful; it was when they share the reasons for their gratitude that I finally understood. 

Your stories means so much, because I will never make it there ….

Anonymous Reader

They were grateful for the opportunity to see and visit a beautiful land “in spirit,” because they would never be able to visit there themselves.  They could not make it, because ‘they‘ themselves weren’t going to make it.  And despite the gravity of this reckoning, they still could find a space in their heart where they could experience the pure joy and transcendence of travel.

So, for all of you, … and especially the above beautiful souls, I will share these recent travel memories, of those of my experiences and travels to come.

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Thanks!  The OCJ Team

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