On Monday, it will be precisely one year and 14 days since I gave a teary, “I-promise-I’ll-never-forget-what-we-had” farewell to London. On Monday, I will be boarding a plane bound for that glorious, expansive (coughexpensivecough) city on the sparkling Thames…the city that I spent four of the most memorable months of my life in…the city that swept up my heart in its watercolor grey-blue skies…the city that is The One.
I might pee myself.
This giddy anticipation of reunion? This is why I travel.
My entire life has been a routine, a resolute avoidance of change. I literally ate a peanut butter sandwich EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. from kindergarten to senior year of high school. I only wish this was an exaggeration. (My friends can vouch for this.)
My consistency is dull. What kind of stories does a routine breed? “Get this, I ate a peanut butter sandwich every Monday – Friday for lunch for 18 years of my life. Neat, right?!”
This is why I travel: to break the consistency, the mundane routine that I’m so apt to settle into.
Did you know there are more than 7 billion people living in this world? That there are 196 countries, more than 6,500 languages, more than 30 named mountain ranges, more than 130 square miles of seas that exist? This is why I travel: to open myself up to people, places and experiences that are so starkly different from my own comfortable upbringing.
Yet here we are, all slowly dying in front of a computer screen when there are all these wonderful, magnificent things surrounding us – soaring mountains, vast oceans, ancient cities, diverse people! All stories waiting to be told! All stories I want to tell! This is why I travel: to live a storied life.
I don’t want my only experience of this world – this magnificent, God-given world – to be a stock desktop wallpaper. This is why I travel.
I want to nurture my naïvety, to circumvent the cynicism that slyly masks itself as “wisdom” as we age, to live so fully in the present moment that every detail of the cobblestone streets my feet tread upon and every foreign word that tickles my ears are tucked away safely in the archives of my mind.
My travel-writer-crush Bill Bryson perhaps explains it best –
“The greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar that is taken for granted.”
This is why I travel.
“England” – The National
This is the song I listen to on repeat when I’m in the mood for some casual self-torture. I’ll let the song speak for itself.