|As I pen this article, I am in the process of travelling to St. Louis, Missouri. The reason for the trip is to attend a surprise 80th birthday party for my Aunt Margaret; a sweet person who I wish you all could meet. On the spectrum of available travel in today’s world, a quick drive down to St. Louis isn’t too far afield. By contrast, Grimes Chamber & Economic Development has led Global Familiarization Trips to the international destinations of Ireland and Italy.
While it already occurs to an extent, in the coming years, more and more people will be traveling to Grimes. With the anticipated construction of the Grimesplex and yet to be determined surrounding amenities, tourism will increase in our community. On its face, this will have tremendous positive benefits to the businesses of Grimes. If you’ve ever traveled, even when you try to do it frugally, it typically becomes an expensive venture. So, there will be an economic benefit.
However, traveling can have even greater benefits, notably education and understanding. When we travel somewhere new we see things that are unfamiliar to us. If we see a monument, engage a business, or interact with a unique attraction, it may spark an idea, make us wonder why it exists where it exists. We hear different dialects or perhaps even different languages, especially when we travel abroad. Most important, we see how people live differently, interact differently, etc. If the people from the places we have traveled to were to visit our community, they would have similar observations and learn similar lessons from interacting with us.
Author Dan Brown wrote in his book The Lost Symbol, “We all fear what we do not understand.” Full disclosure, I’ve never read the book, so the context may be different, but the lesson holds true regardless. Sometimes we fear different people, different cultures, different ways of doing things….largely because we do not know them, let alone understand them. Travel helps to break down those innate fears by helping us to become aware and ultimately gain an understanding of different places, different people, and different ways of doing things.
When we travel we garner ideas on how we might ourselves do something different or better. We can find various ways to run a business, build a community, eat different cuisines, etc. Or, alternatively, we might find things that we don’t appreciate, and we can learn to avoid going down a path that another community or business has already traversed.
Whenever I travel, I’m always trying to learn. I encourage you to do the same. While we, as a chamber of commerce, encourage you to invest locally, we’re not only talking about your money. You can use your intellect, your experiences, your time, etc. to invest in the community of Grimes. As the people and businesses of grimes grow and improve, so does our community. As you embark on that next family vacation, a business trip, or some other adventure, when you come home, use what you’ve learned. Hopefully, I can pick up a few ideas here in St. Louis, aka. “The Gateway to the West” …kind of like Grimes!