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Going Places

Travel Changes Us, And That's Usually A Good Thing

Ed Ronco
Musicians perform on the front steps of a restaurant in Trinidad, Cuba. Whether it's music, food, or just a different place -- travel can give us new experiences that leave us changed, says KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley.

Travelers often bring back souvenirs – maybe a T-shirt or a piece of art from an open-air marketplace.

But KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley says the best souvenirs are things you can’t necessarily stick on a shelf. Travel exposes us to new music, new food, new people and new ideas. And it often changes us.

“Travelers have dozens of personal stories on how going to Africa for the first time, or Europe, or Hawaii, can completely throw your life off-kilter, in a very positive way,” Brumley said.

There are many for Brumley. He learned to love bird watching in Costa Rica. He learned to love opera in Budapest.

“But I think one of the things that has really impacted my life is a love for jazz, specifically Latin jazz, by hanging out in Havana,” he said. “I knew American-style jazz, you know, 1930s, 40s, 50s … I suppose I knew I’d like [Latin jazz], but I had no idea to the extent that it would actually capture me.”

And yeah, sometimes we travel just to park ourselves on a beach or cruise ship or resort, with the express purpose of simply being left alone for a while. But Brumley said sometimes we want something more.

“A lot of us travel because we want to be a bit transformed by the experience,” he said. “A lot of people are really looking for interesting, educational, life-changing experience. There’s something about taking a public bus across India or Argentina, or having those moments when you go to Whistler and just go ‘Holy smokes, this place is out of this world.’ Those are the moments that stay with you for the rest of your life.”

Has a travel experience changed your life, in a big way or a small way? Let us know in the comments!


"Going Places" is 88.5's weekly exploration of travel. Our travel expert, Matthew Brumley, is co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small group travel to clients including KNKX. Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Going Places with iTunes Google Play or Stitcher.

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