Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

(Written on 4/4/2011 en route to Barcelona, Spain)

There is a team of near giants on my flight from Athens to Barcelona – at least 5 of them are pushing 7 feet tall, and they're probably a combined age of 30 (okay, that might be an exaggeration).  As one of the guys I met in Athens said, “They breed the tall ones in the mountains and then bring them down to the city.”  I’m not exactly sure what that means – but it made me laugh.
So I know that Barcelona seems like it was randomly thrown into the mix...but I have a good (kind of) explanation.  In addition to showing me Athens, helping me with my travel plans, and exposing me to amazing food…Alex has also been a great friend and inspiration for me.  If it weren’t for her and her dad there is no way I would have bought this ticket to Barcelona on a whim.

One night while we were talking about how equally jealous we were of each other’s experiences (hers – living abroad, mine – traveling extensively), it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I needed to go to Barcelona.  It’s a place I’ve dreamed about and longed to know for many years now.  And if there’s any chance of me moving abroad in the future I had to meet Barcelona to at least give it the chance to run in that competition of great cities and countries.
A little over a year ago I considered moving abroad – but put it off because I was happy with my life and my status quo.  I had a boyfriend I really liked, a good job, and I just couldn’t bring myself to pull away from my family and friends in Seattle.  I’ve been constantly torn between my dream of living in a foreign country again, perfecting my Spanish, and calling a new land ‘home’ and my relationships that I hold so near and dear.  I'm so heartbroken when I miss the important things at home - like weddings, holidays, birthdays, and celebrations.
But sitting with Alex and talking to her about the transition to Greece and how happy she is in this city she loves makes me second guess that maybe there really is a way to balance it all.  She’s been here for 2 years now and has gone back to the U.S. multiple times, has had many visitors, and has also created a world of her own here.
In Chile I met a German girl whose Dad lived in Chile and mom was in Germany.  She split her time in both countries and said the most difficult part was also the best – that she had two homes.  That she felt this comfort and love and security and support in two totally different places in the world.  But at the same time – she was always missing one of them.
In my travels I’ve experienced something similar.  Every time I experience a new place there is some part of me deep inside that is awakened.  Something that I never knew existed or was for so long suppressed that I'd forgotten about it.  Something that I don’t get from my native culture.  And therefore I feel a little ‘at home’ in every place I go.  And when I leave I definitely miss it...
I once explained my love for travel as a journey that helps me define a little bit more about what is incongruent between who I truly am and how I live my life because of the pressures around me.  It awakens pieces of me that I suppress because I ‘feel’ like I should suppress them.  These small pieces of me that 'come alive' in each new place I visit give me a little more perspective about the true me in my heart - and less of the me that has been "shaped" by my culture, my family, my friends, and society that tells me how I 'should be.'  I don't mean that those influences are bad - but sometimes they make me lose sight of being true to myself. 
But as time progresses on my journey I feel less and less ‘societal pressure’ to settle down, find a mate, decide on my career path, and do that whole procreating thing.  The further I get from fearing I don't have those things, the more I realize I’m happier when I accept I can’t always control my life.

So when I land in a place that makes me feel so ‘congruent’ it’s hard for me to pull away without giving that place a chance to get everything out of me that it can.
And thus…my issues on the debate of ‘move abroad or don’t move abroad.’ Although, as my mom once reassured me when I called her crying from Chile – home sick and sad as I was studying abroad, “Home is always just a flight away.”  (An expensive flight, but albeit a flight).
Today I leave you with this thought...what is it that you love about travel?  Or what is it that you love about being at home?  I challenge you to leave a comment....inquiring minds would like to know (or at least one inquiring mind.)


  1. well - one inquiring mind will get to know then :)

    the flights on a whim are awesome. i actually want to do more of that in the future - just hop on a flight to a totally random place. have you read "yes man"? pretty funny book...i wouldn't spend money to buy it, but borrow it if you can.

    i love every last thing about travel. the fresh faces, perspectives, culture, food.. and love all my great friends here in seattle. which one wins? time will tell i guess

  2. Is it like the movie with Jim Carrey? Haven't read the book but I'll put it on my list...

    I've always wanted to do that (go to the airport and buy a ticket to the first place that is leaving to)...but in the U.S. it might be a little too pricey. Maybe if we set some sort of standard like "nothing about $200." Even still - much easier in Europe or Asia. :)

    Thanks for the comment - I wholeheartedly agree with you. Time will tell...

  3. I love that when I travel a sense of adventure is awakened. A spontaneity exists then that is forgotten at home among comforts of the everyday. I believe Chance can identify your sense of willingness and when in a foreign place (weather that be in a different country or a different neighborhood), and possibilities open up. The more opportunity you embrace, the more strength you've gained, and this is what I call "experience."

    Home offers comfort and identity that is unexplained. It provides an overwhelming amount of relaxation and safety that cannot be found in an unknown place.

    Great blog!!


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