From as far back as I can remember, I have always loved words. It is probably my mom’s fault (or perhaps her gift to me) since she always told us to “look it up” when we did not know how to spell something or were not sure of the meaning of a word. There are a couple of dictionary sets in my parents’ house that still bear the brunt of our frequent review and investigation. (No Dictionary.com for us back then!)
As I continue to translate that love for words into my writing in emails, letters, and even on this blog, I find this a fascinating area for discussion. While two of us may visit the same place at the exact same date and time, there is virtually no chance that our write-ups of those trips will be the same. I propose this happens for several reasons, not the least of which is that we are different people!
Since I grew up in a rural area of Missouri, moving to St. Louis felt like a big change – and a big city – to live in… Now that I have visited places like London, New York City, and Rome, St. Louis seems pretty darned small. In truth, those cities didn’t “change”, but my perspective (and I) did. What now feels like a jaunt for me to the grocery store in St. Louis, would be an adventure to shop in San Francisco, or even an event to go to the open air market in Florence. It all depends what you have to compare the experience with!
Travel, in general, can have its own ups and downs. What it takes to get you to your destination will most definitely influence your impressions. If you have had the opportunity to be rerouted by an airline, you know what I am talking about. For instance, a plan which anticipated one flight from Chicago to Rome, but instead became two flights (Chicago to London, then London to Rome) would not likely make anyone’s list of positives. Such changes can delay your arrival, cause you to lose a hotel room, or possibly make you miss bags that were pre-checked on your original flight. Travel that had once been deemed a piece of cake could now be referred to as a challenging experience or a frustrating change of circumstances.
Long ago, I thought that all travel could be nothing short of glamorous. Now, after some real world experience of my own, I definitely have a much more colorful range of descriptors to use. The first business trip I took to New York was anticipated with glee and exuberance. Sure, I was going to The Big Apple for work, but there would be so many things for me to see and do. Heaven knows why I thought I would see everything – I just set the bar high and knew it would happen. Though I did manage to fit in a cab ride to Times Square and a quick skate on the ice at Rockefeller Center, what I really learned is that business travel involves seeing a lot of the hotel and the airport. This trip was a success and an accomplishment, but not a vacation.
I don’t know about you, but I really tire from repetition. One can only read a book where everything is “he said” or “she said” for so long. Isn’t it more interesting to read “he whispered” or “Sally exclaimed with great aplomb”? It is so important that we all call things like we see them, and I say the more variety the better! We are all unique, so we might as well spice up our discussions and descriptions with words that say what we mean and paint a great picture for those with whom we are speaking.
Just like there is no way our perspectives, experiences, or expectations could be the same, there is no reason our descriptions should mirror one another. What may be a treat for me (a shoe museum!), may be torture for my husband… Ah, such is life!