A Denizen of the World
I don’t travel to brag about where I vacationed last summer, or how many miles I’ve racked up. I travel to experience other cultures – outside of stereotypes and cinematic staging. I travel to taste food in its country of origin. I travel to weave my own tales and form my own opinions rather than parrot those brought home by others.
But it’s not just about trying the local cuisine or seeing historical landmarks. It’s about getting to know the people, exchanging and embracing our differences, and making friends…sometimes lifelong friends. It’s about falling in love – with the country, with the people, maybe even that person.
While in a foreign country, or en route to one, you discover how you react to different and unexpected situations: curveballs that steer you away from the travel plan or timeline you pored so long over; a slightly different reality from what you’d imagined; a travel plot that doesn’t pan out the way you’d envisioned – maybe it turns out even better. But it’s in being surrounded by different languages, different societal norms, a different sense of personal boundaries…it’s in those moments that we unexpectedly find the memorable, the eye-opening, the heart-wrenching, the delicious, the poetic, the life-changing.
In traveling, you find a greater sense of who you are and the kind of person you want to be.
So who cares if some people criticize you? Who cares if some people think you’re crazy? There will be more people who applaud you, who look up to you, who are inspired by you. I will not apologize for taking time off work. I will not apologize for my restless nature, or giving in to it. And I certainly will not apologize for being a denizen of the world.