When people walk into my room, the first thing they see is a 6 ft by 4 ft map of the world and gold stars scattered across it for everywhere I have been. Vintage travel posters hang over my bed, my bedspread and pillows collected from my haggling adventures in Morocco, jewelry boxes from Spain, and the travel diaries (which are hard to close due to the massive amounts of train tickets, museum passes, and rain soaked pages) that are piled up next to my vast collection of travel magazines on my desk are hard to miss. So the first question I am always asked is: Why? Why do you do what you do? So here is my answer:
Besides the obvious of it being the very essence of adventure that sucks me in, my answer is a little more complex.
When you ask somebody who is in love why they love the person they are with, often times an answer you get is that they like who they are when they are with their love. And that is how I feel about travel. I enjoy myself immensely when I am traveling. Let me explain.
It isnt that I dont like myself when I am not running around the world; I like myself just fine. But I absolutely adore myself and my life when I am seeing, experiencing, meeting new people and places. I like to think of going somewhere as meeting it. Just like you dont tour a persons life, I dont tour places. I get to know it just like I would with a person. The nooks and wrong turns are what makes a place; those are the very being of a location. Just like a person, it is not all glamor and beautiful. You have to get down to the basics and the history to really know and understand something. Not the world renowned museums, restaurants, and clubs. But the local hideaways. I form relationships with them and it is all very personal. So yes, I am essentially in an in depth and altogether intense relationship with traveling. Weird, I know.
Another reason I travel is because I can be whoever I chose. I can be the jet set queen in five inch heels and Jackie O sunglasses in Paris, or the gypsy covered in hennas in the corners of the Kasbah of Morocco, or the festival goer in Croatia, or the out doors lover hiking from town to town in Cinque Terre. It is not a role I play, but a part of me being awakened by the act of immersing myself in the cultural norm. The high I get from diving headfirst into a place and becoming the quintessential person of my location is unmatched to anything else.
Traveling (by my own definition) is the exploration of the unknown, both a physical place and oneself spiritually. Travel has challenged every inch of who I am spiritually, physically, emotionally, and educationally. The very depth of my being has been questioned and I definitely answered. This is my passion, my calling, my reason for being here. I question the world and it questions me back. The world and I are in a constant game of testing each others limits and abilities and I cannot wait to see what my next obstacle may be.