“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
Whenever I announce to my friends, that I am going on a trip, I am always met with the same reactions. On one hand, you have the typical "Again?!", on the other a half sarcastic snarl "You're so lucky" and then of course, there is the much-heard "I wish I could afford to travel as much as you do". Traveling is a habit I share with one of my best friends, Erica. We spend so much time day-dreaming about upcoming destinations, and revisiting old places of memories, and on an almost daily basis, we concoct ridiculous ploys in the hope of being led back towards racking up our air miles. The minute we arrive, there's 5 minutes of "It's good to be home" followed by a predictable "I wanna leave again!" We have seemingly succumbed to our adventurous souls and the desire to constantly discover new loves and new lives.
One of the questions I have been hearing lately, is: "What are you running from?" I blame this completely on my inability to make a relationship work, my self-enslavement towards my perfect career plans, and my adopted tick of complaining about life like a French man. My escapades suddenly look like rushed escapes, brought on by lack of content and wish to be one with the world, and by one, I mean, to be on my own, listening to my own silence.
But I beg to disagree.
I do not travel to run away from life, but to run towards it.
I have always seen the world in the most extreme of all lights. When I am crying in my bed, because a boy broke my heart, I can hear thunder and rainstorms in my heart, and my insides sob with me, writhing in pain. When I am ecstatic because I just got promoted, or my new shoes arrived in the mail, I want to hug someone until they are giggling out of exasperation, and possibly lack of oxygen to their brain, and I like to roll around in bed, squealing in delight, a smile threatening to take over all the space on my head. I feel everything to the extreme or nothing at all.
I travel, because I can feel these things more intensely, and I can enjoy them, without the noise and the old phone ring of my phone in the back-ground, demanding my deadlines, or worse, asking me to work on a sunday. I travel, because a glass of red wine simply tastes better on a roof-top in Paris, or on the coast of southern Spain. I travel because standing in the middle of a packed airport terminal, in the winter, in Amsterdam, makes me feel absolutely tiny, insignificant but alive. I travel because it teaches me about people, cultures, histories, traditions and morals, and it makes me more aware of my own self. I travel because I am curious about the man in a Moroccan medina, tanning leather while whistling, and the little curly-haired child, bouncing his legs off his high-seat in Munich, ready to grab a breadstick with his chubby little fingers, to try to shove the entire piece in his mouth vertically. I travel because it makes sense of my life, just by my breathing everything in, and not much else at all.
But mostly, I travel, because of love. Love for a place I had whiskey sours at in Paris, love for the smell of red chicken curry from a street vendor in Bangkok, and love for my baby brother, when he bombards me with hugs, as soon as I walk in the door, only to follow them up with some digging for chocolate in my half-opened suitcase.
The best part about traveling, is that it is an opportunity to discover love, for all things in life, even loves we thought couldn't exist, like people and places. Travel is the best way to discover the world, while finding what we all struggle to find, all the time.. Ourselves.