Society seems to be addicted with wanting to know the reasons we do things. “Why do you choose to be vegan?” or “Why do you want to get married so young?” or the one applicable to me “Why do you want to travel so much?”. For a long time, I stuttered through an answer that sounded a lot like “Oh, uhm…passport stamps?” which is definitely not the reason but it’s a good deflector. For now, though, this is why I travel:
1.I love the sense of wonder and the curiosity and also the nerves (masochistic as that may be) that lead up to travel. I love those moments in transit where you are a blinking red dot on a map, constantly moving. I love the sense of anonymity that starts in the airport, and doesn’t fully leave you until you come back home.
2. I love what traveling does for me. The experiences I have had abroad make me a stronger person. Flying by myself at the age of 12 was a good start, and working through the hell that is homesickness (a real sickness, you guys. REAL.) and then finding the courage to move away again are evidence of the little bits of strength that I have gained. I like understanding now that there is no weakness in missing people, only in letting that feeling control your actions.
3.The person I am when traveling is the best version of myself, and the one I love the most. I am better at making decisions, I am more confident, and I am certainly more happy. …I’m also more sassy, which I love, but I’m sure others could maybe do without.
4. Being away makes me more appreciative of being at home. There is a sliding scale for this. If I leave for 10 days, I am happy with home for 4 days before I’m planning another escape. When I was gone for almost 6 months, I think I had a 2 month honeymoon period before it seemed like the walls were closing in. I love my family and friends always, but I appreciate them more when I cannot take them for granted. Occasional emails, Facebook messages, and Skype dates make me love who I surround myself with.
5. Mostly, I love the people I meet and the things we do while in a country. Feeding elephants with my team in Malaysia; Working with children in Peru; The weekend trips skiing or shopping in Tbilisi. These are fun moments that differentiate my trip to a country from others who travel to the same place.