"We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves."
Some bum, some hitch, some fly, some fall. Since 2004, I've been traveling small pieces of the world in an attempt to construct a whole. From hemisphere to hemisphere, I've made a life through travel-one that has introduced me to junkies and movie stars, best friends and one-nightstands. Some of them guide me, some of them love me, some of them use me, some of them ignore me, but all of them teach me. This blog is about them; it's about their homes. It's about lessons learned and learnings lost. It's about inspiring you, the reader, to get out here and become a part of it.
I'm from Andover, Massachusetts, but these days home is a strange place, surrounded by strange people. I moved to Spain in 2004 at age 18; my concept of home transformed with the geography. After nine months, I returned to the comfort of my parents' home to spend some time. One month later, as cancer ate away at my best friend's father, I realized how little of that we've got. Since then, home is where I make it.
My friends often ask me, "How do you do it? How do you pick up from one city to the next?" The answer is simple: "Just go." Take flight. Travel. Travel in colors. Travel in black and white. Travel in Sepia tones or cobalt. Travel in high contrasts and lows. Travel. Travel to share, to learn and to teach. Embrace the journey; embrace its moments and its generosity. Research visas, get vaccines, raise funds. Once you free your mind of "how" it can be done, travel wherever you want.
Travel gives time to reflect, time to be seen, time to identify, time to breathe. After graduating from Elon University with a B.A. in Professional Writing and Rhetoric in 2009, I left the United States. For two and a half years Santiago, Chile became home. I taught English in a private Opus Dei school, immersing myself in its culture and language. By 2011, however, I grew weary of the opus. I moved on.
They ask, "Don't you worry about a job, or running out of money?" Of course. Both my parents are teachers- I've been worried about money since they cut the cord. But that's liberation, baby, so breathe.
From South America to the South Pacific, I traversed the world again. New Zealand became home; I transformed with its landscapes. Without a degree in teaching or any connections in the writing world, I was quickly lumped with the backpackers and the vagabonds, the students and the winos, eager for anything that would pay the bills. In Wellington -a capital city of 400,000 with more bars, cafes and restaurants per capita than New York- I began to highlight my sandwich making abilities instead of my classroom achievements, my tray-carrying techniques as opposed to my bilingual capacities. After three weeks of door-to-doors and McDonald's internet, I found refuge in the city's emblematic Shed 5 Restaurant as a waiter and sommelier-in-training.
Thomas L. Friedman recently wrote, "Indeed, parenting, teaching or leadership that 'inspires' individuals to act on their own will be the most valued of all" ("It's a 401(k) World"). So take this invitation into my world as inspiration to find your own. Make the world on your own dime, with your own time. You can't go home again, so build your own. Get into the world any way you can. Meet the person of your dreams in a glance. Make money to burn. Get high to feel the lows. Push limits until they no longer limit. Live by the rules or "learn the rules so you know how to break them properly." Live to journey. Revel in the heights of anticipation and the depths of confusion. The calm, the storm, the grey.
Come, let's get lost.