“We follow wherever the next sunrise and sunset takes us. We are guided by moon cycles and stardust. We look up the the night sky, gaze up at the cosmos, and know that wherever we are and whoever we’re without, we are never really alone. And we are comforted by this very notion.
And so here’s the truth. We travel not just to travel and marvel at people, places, things. That’s not just it. That was never just it for us. We travel to learn, to experience, and to feel all the spectrums of being human in this world.”
This is the end of my trip, but I’m not really sure what that means yet. I am physically going back, but it will never be the same.
I’ve learned that time and distance aren’t as fixed as you might think. That money is worth less when it just sits in your bank account. That what you wear doesn’t matter at all. That the vast majority of people are bursting with kindness. That any nationality can travel like an Ugly American.
And I’ve learned that I’m still not sold on love at first sight, but traveling together in a foreign country can create it pretty fast. That some friendships can survive anything and some won’t last more than a day—and that’s mostly okay. That traveling the world is much more manageable and beautiful and thrilling than you’d ever imagine.
But most importantly, I’ve learned that the end of this trip is not the end of everything. As incredible as this year has been, this will not be the best year of my life. I won’t even say for sure that this will be the best trip I ever take. I still have too much time left for that.
“She will never need you…. She is too independent and won’t care whether you travel with her or not. She will forget to check in with you when she arrives at her destination. She’s busy living in the present. She talks to strangers. She will meet many interesting, like-minded people from around the world who share her passion and dreams. She will be bored with you.
So never date a girl who travels unless you can keep up with her. And if you unintentionally fall in love with one, don’t you dare keep her. Let her go.”
Perfection, from the blog that inspired me from the very beginning. (Though it also highlighted another reason to dread the transition home.)
“Travel is little beds and cramped bathrooms. It’s old television sets and slow Internet connections. Travel is extraordinary conversations with ordinary people. It’s waiters, gas station attendants, and housekeepers becoming the most interesting people in the world. It’s churches that are compelling enough to enter. It’s McDonald’s being a luxury. It’s the realization that you may have been born in the wrong country. Travel is a smile that leads to a conversation in broken English. It’s the epiphany that pretty girls smile the same way all over the world. Travel is tipping 10% and being embraced for it. Travel is the same white T-shirt again tomorrow. Travel is accented sex after good wine and too many unfiltered cigarettes. Travel is flowing in the back of a bus with giggly strangers. It’s a street full of bearded backpackers looking down at maps. Travel is wishing for one more bite of whatever that just was. It’s the rediscovery of walking somewhere. It’s sharing a bottle of liquor on an overnight train with a new friend. Travel is ‘Maybe I don’t have to do it that way when I get back home.'”
“Our gods gave us legs to run with, noses to smell with, hands to touch and feel. What mad cruel god would give a man eyes and tell him he must forever keep them shut, and never look at all the beauty in the world? Only a monster god, a demon of the darkness.”
“All I know is that I want to live somewhere I’ll have to relearn everything: how to cross the street, how to order coffee, how to deal with people whose modes of thinking are utterly, intriguingly foreign to my own. I want to be uncomfortable, to be an outsider not just in my own mind but in the eyes of everyone who glances at my awkward, bumbling self. I want to figure it out all over again, to savor the small good moments, and I want those tiny triumphs (and inevitable failures) to mark my days, and I want them to add up, over the years and the miles, to a far, far larger victory—that of experience, memory, and language over the unstoppable decay of time.”