“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
On an average day, it takes a lot to render me speechless. Even when traveling, I cannot say that I recall a time when I have been utterly speechless. I’ve been moved, inspired, and awestruck, but never speechless. My trip to Boston, even though it was brief, changed that.
My previous employer has an end of fiscal year celebration every year where employees from across the US gather to review results and celebrate success. In 2017, the end of year celebration was in Boston. Due to the scheduling of the Saturday meeting and gala, there’s not usually much time for one to enjoy the destination. Usually, employees fly in, attend the meeting and gala, and then fly back the next morning. Luckily, I had qualified for the Friday night event and was able to strategically book a late enough flight back on Sunday that I was able to take in some of the many sights of Boston. I had never been to Boston, so I knew that I wanted to visit sites that were historically significant, especially since my trip took place just a few days after Independence Day.
I spent much of Saturday morning exploring parts of the Boston Freedom Trail and wound up at Granary Burying Ground, the final resting place of many people whose names we’ve read about in history books. Cemeteries usually creep me out, but not this one. This one had an almost inspiring sense of calm, while also looking festive. Since Independence Day was just a few days prior, several grave markers had red, white, and blue wreaths, flags, and flowers.
Within Granary Burying Ground rests Samuel Adams, Robert Treat Paine, and John Hancock. Do those names sound familiar? They should, as they are three signers of the Declaration of Independence. Without them, the United States wouldn’t be what it is today. Their grave markers had wreaths and flags left over from Boston’s Independence Day celebration. Something about that left me speechless, with goosebumps and tears of gratitude in my eyes.
Paul Revere also rests within Granary Burial Ground. While his grave marker didn’t have a wreath or flowers, it still had flags to acknowledge his role in the Revolutionary War and the beginning of the United States.
From Granary Burying Ground I proceeded to the Old North Church, Boston’s oldest surviving church and most visited historical site. The Old North Church holds it’s place in US History as being the location of the “one if by land, two by sea” signal that started Paul Revere’s ride. Throughout the guided tour, I was in awe of the fact that I was likely walking where Paul Revere walked, where the history that I learned about in school took place and I was again speechless.
Travel really can make you speechless and turn you into a storyteller. Every time someone asks what to do in Boston or mentions having been to Boston, I come back to this experience and recount the feelings of standing where history took place. It’s an experience I highly recommend. Travel. Connect your experiences to history and share those experiences with the ones you left behind at home.