I first left the country in 2001, I believe when I went on a cruise with my family to Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico. I left again in 2010 and went to Italy, France, England, and Monaco when I was sixteen years old through the People to People Student Ambassador Program. During the in-between time I traveled all over the US visiting family or just seeing the sights with my parents. I’ve always known that the world was bigger than my own backyard. And, I’ve always wanted to experience more than my neck of the woods. And I constantly feel stuck between my ties here in the US and the bonds I feel to people/places I’m in love with that I haven’t even been to yet.
It’s an interesting phenomenon, in leaving the US and the things that I love/are familiar to me, I found myself. I came to understand the little girl in me in Ghana playing soccer with children at school. I learned to appreciate my brain in Thailand working on a research project across language barriers and cultures. I came to value all that I do, don’t, will, and won’t have by experiencing other cultures and understanding that America sometimes does more harm than good in the world.
“For in traveling to a truly foreign place, we inevitably travel to moods and states of mind and hidden inward passages that we’d otherwise seldom have cause to visit.” – Pico Iyer
I travel “not for answers, but for better questions.” I travel because it makes me feel alive. I travel because I have a penchant for adrenaline and get high off the rush. I travel to step outside of myself and remind myself not to take myself so seriously. I travel to be of service. I travel because the world is bigger than my own backyard and we(the human race) really do all owe things to each other. I travel because in leaving, I have been found. I travel because I’m afraid of missing out on what this world has to offer. I travel because I can’t stay put. I travel because home is everywhere and God is in everything. I travel to fall in love with foods I’ll probably never taste again in destinations where the water is so perfectly blue. I travel to chase the sun around the globe and make it to the horizon. I travel because it feeds my soul. I travel because I’m a student – of life that is. I travel for “the unknown and the unknowing.” I travel because I’m in my 20s and afraid that if I don’t go now I never will. I travel to avoid the real world. I travel to keep from settling. I travel to give myself the world. I travel because if what I leave behind is truly mine, it will be there when I return. I travel to become the woman of my dreams and avoid having to deal with anyone else’s for me..
I travel because I believe in getting lost and wandering helps me find my way.
“but, maybe, I can’t be lost when every place feels like exactly where I’m supposed to be…”
I travel because leaving, is just a precursor to arriving and nothing is better than a fresh start.
Leave often. Be always gone but never hard to find.
Because all who wander, are not lost…and “A (wo)man Never goes so far as when (s)he doesn’t know where (s)he is going.” – Oliver Cromwell
To the places I have been, thank you for the lessons. To the places I will soon reach, I look forward to making your acquaintance.