June 11th, 2020
We travel to see what’s portrayed on postcards from a different angle, to taste fruit that grow in foreign soil and to breathe pollution from a different source. We travel to hear laughter, love and loathing in a language we don’t understand, to feel liberated, rewarded and enriched in ways we can’t explain. We travel in the hopes of encountering the unknown – a brave quest in search of the sacred apple, driven by our wild desire to Know… what?
I spent a quarter of a century within the borders of my beloved home country, South Africa. When I left for the first time I knew there was a fair chance I would never want to go back. And I didn’t. Not yet.
I spent a year in the USA where I really grew into myself. I became the me that I wanted to be, where absolutely everything was new. Everything but myself. It was like recognizing my reflection in the mirror, but in a different room – the person staring back seemed enhanced. Fuller.
A drop of fulfillment makes you realize just how empty you were to begin with.
I lived and worked in Seattle, so I saw quite a bit of the PNW where I discovered my love for hiking and outdoor adventure. I got to put a tick next to my very first dream destination, New York, where I called my mom to seek pity for the penniless (that’s me, I was penniless!). I spent some time along the Southern coast of California, witnessed a donut fight on a street corner in Portland and went to a jazz concert in New Orleans. That year was a trip to say the least.
Before leaving the States I already knew that my journey abroad wasn’t over. I was already dreaming about my next step, which turned out to be more of a leap as it lead me to a position where I get to travel all over the world!
In the past year I traveled to over 20 countries. However brief some visits may be, it always adds to my perspective. The highlights would be places I spent more time at, like Ireland and Peru, where my love for the outdoors continued to grow.
Along the route of self-discovery I learned that I have a deeply rooted passion for exploring different ways of life. In future travels I hope to commit my time to remote communities, become close-knitted with their culture and be an asset to their developmental structures.
Looking back on my younger self, I remember I could never truthfully answer the ‘five year plan’ question. Travel became my driving force, the only experience I’m able to take direction from. Only since I started traveling was I able to say “I know what I want to do next“.
I admire people who knew at the age of five that they wanted to become a doctor, a teacher or a parent. For a long time I thought, because I didn’t “Know”, that I was lost. Travel gave me the opportunity not only to set my dreams into motion, but also to get to Know myself.
I may not know exactly where I’m going, but I know that I’m far from lost.
What does travel mean to you?