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  • Writer's pictureLaura Peters

Is it Travel or Commuting?

In early December, I will fly to Germany to celebrate Christmas with my family. I love visiting them - time together there is the ultimate in offspring tourism because I get to immerse myself in German life with my grandchildren, daughter and her wonderful husband, as well as his extended family. In some ways, though, it feels like commuting and not much like travel. So what’s the difference?

To me travel involves adventure, the thrill of visiting a new place, the challenge of figuring out how to get somewhere I’ve never been, the new people I meet, and all the associated surprises of the unknown.

Whereas when I fly to Frankfurt, I know the airport; how to get from baggage claim at the airport to the express train that will take me to Cologne; and how to get from Cologne's main train station to the tram to my family’s house and there I’ll be. The buildings and streets are all comfortably familiar.

I got a little travel in March by going with my daughter, Hana, and her husband to Hamburg to see Hamilton where it was being presented in the German translation (a sensational production, by the way). Hamburg and the production of Hamilton were both fabulous. Hamburg is immensely walkable with plenty of great restaurants. Here are some photos to give you an idea.

In July we spent time in London and Oxford (also places I frequent) and Italy. Every place we visited in Italy was new to me. Here's my post about Viareggio where we stayed in a family camp and Lake Como which was as glorious as everyone had told me. Chalk one up for real travel!

I have talked with friends about meeting them in December in fun new places I haven’t visited before, but then I think of all the Christmas Markets I want to visit in Cologne, plus Düsseldorf and Bonn, and I suspect that will be plenty of adventure, especially if I take my grandchildren with me. In their eyes the lights will twinkle, the decorations will amaze and the food smells will entice. To them everything is always new.

All in all, I have a pretty good commute. Just don’t call it travel.

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