Looking back on any trip is always going to be as perfectly bittersweet as the Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate I’m eating right now. You have incredible memories – and the photos to prove it – but you’re also wishing you could have stayed just a little while longer. Or forever. You then imagine how much you’d miss your family, friends, and significant other if you stayed, but then your mind goes to “well, what if they had just come and stayed with me?”
To alleviate this inevitable inner conflict, I always end up writing a post-trip epilogue. I’m usually able to do this fairly quickly after a trip ends, but I’m sitting here at nearly two weeks since my return. It’s as if I needed extra time to digest that, holy crap, I’m back.
I’ve been fortunate to have visited a bevy of incredible places in my life, which I largely credit to the accessibility of travel in this day and age, as well as my “I don’t care if nobody’s going with me, I’m going anyway” attitude. I understand that many of us love our comfort zones, but travel – which is guaranteed to get you out of your comfort zone to at least some degree – is a beautiful thing to me. Not knowing a language is exhilarating. Dealing with customs other than my own is invigorating. Seeing places that I didn’t even know existed is inspiring.
Heck, I think I mentioned to someone the other day that I loved being in an airport. Who on Earth loves being in an airport? This one.
Yes, it’s obvious that travel is “my thing”. But this brings about an important question: what is the primary purpose of travel? For some, the purpose of travel is to go, have a good time, and leave. But is that all that we should seek to gain from it?
For me, personally, traveling has been so much more than a good time. I’ve learned just how different – and similar – other people are based on where/how they were raised. I’ve learned other languages and forms of communicating, however terrible I may still be at them (*cough*Czech*cough*). I’ve met people who have become lifelong friends or who will otherwise live infamously in my memory forever. I’ve learned lessons that can be applied to any job, any responsibility, any facet of life. I’ve learned who I want to be and what direction I want my life to take (well…for now).
And that’s just the beginning.
In the spirit of collaboration, I am inviting everyone who reads this entry to tell me what you think the purpose of travel is. Your thoughts will be posted to the Infinite Corners Facebook page for the world to see and contemplate. In addition, I’m probably going to make an art piece about it. Think about it, and lay it on me!
(Alternatively, you can just send me more chocolate.)
P.S. My apologies for serving alliteration on a platter in that title, but you gotta do what you gotta do.