“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
To leave one’s own home, especially when that home is as much a part of your heart as the blood in your veins, is a trepidatious and exhilarating endeavor. I was born into a family of travelers, each striking out to seek adventure away from their homes at a young age, often to the simultaneous dismay and pride of their parents.
Growing up, I traveled yearly from Alaska to visit extended family all along the West Coast. As I grew older, my adventures happened more frequently out my own door; the next bend in the trail has always held a powerful allure over my spirit.
“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent,
in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
At 18, I went to Spain for an all-too-brief two weeks and my mind came home awake. The world – it was out there, and I have since felt a certain unhappiness being sedentary for too many seasons. Since then, I have framed my life around the opportunities to live it in all corners of the world. In the past, I have lived in Thailand, trekked in Nepal, gazed at the city lights in Singapore, and lost my lunch in India. My most recent trip took me 10,000 miles from Alaska to the Grand Canyon, visiting the great National Parks and lonely highways of western America.
Despite these adventures, my home still holds the greatest allure and mystery for me. Alaska is a wild, enchanting, and unforgiving place full of adventure, miserable weather, and breath-taking remoteness. No matter where I should find myself, my heart belongs in the great north land. I will spend my life exploring the snowy woods, lost coasts, lonely peaks, and endless tundra and will never know every hidden corner. Alaska will always be my greatest adventure.
Now, I am embarking down a new path: Peace Corps. Africa sits on my horizon, growing closer each day. Zambia will be my home over the next 27 months, and all of southern Africa will lie on my doorstep. I am eager to explore this new-to-me land; full of awe and an eagerness and an excitement that transcends all other feelings surrounding my service.
“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country
as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton
So why travel? Because the world and life exists only in how we perceive it, and to perceive it we must experience it and know it and internalize every piece of it; every sight, every sound, every taste. Travel does not have to be some grand voyage. It is an adventure you have outside of yourself and your comfort zone, wherever that might be. Over the years, my comfort zone has grown with every trip I’ve taken, and so I am pushed further and further to get outside of myself. Travel enriches life by making it larger, richer, and letter you see the world and everything in it in new colors. Travel means you can never come home to the same person you were, and I believe we are always better for it.