Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Worldy Wanderings

I do not travel for the cities, or the sights, or the food; I travel because I know that a friend is waiting somewhere on the other side of the world, and I must make my way to meet them.

2012 held many travels for me: I started the New Year in Houston, on a multi-person pilgrimage to visit my college roommate, and ended the year in New York City, reconnecting with two ladies who  shared a magical half year with me in Paris many, many years ago. The extreme differences between the locations, the experience, and most importantly, the people, cannot be overstated.

Over the years, I have been blessed to cast a "wide net". I have been given opportunities to see new places and try new things. My memories have become a kaleidoscope. Colorful, rich, ever moving.   Several of my friends claim to recall a particular chapter in their life through music they loved, others through a favorite t-shirt they wore. One guy even told me that he thinks of his past in terms of which watch he was wearing (the rubber, water proof, colorful rock climbers' favorite, no less). The watches defined his sport obsession of the moment.

When I think of a year in my past, I inevitably characterize it in one of two ways:
  1. Where was I working?, or
  2. Who was I visiting?
This probably says a great deal about my personality, and I won't pretend to know what exactly that might be. Worst possible interpretation: workaholic with an occasional Skymiles problem. 

There are worse things.

I firmly believe that sometimes you are pulled--by a spontaneous desire, or fateful coercion--to certain places, and all to experience one particular event. If my normally controlled, planning-oriented self had waited the responsible 6 months before running across the pond for school, I would never have met or bonded with two incredible women. One from Florida, the other from the bustling mayhem of New York City.

Similarly, if professional dissatisfaction hadn't set in during 2010, I might never have spent months living in the tundra of Minnesota, half-hiding in the guest bedroom of one of my best friend's home. Without that experience, our friendship would have never reached the sort of complex state that allows us to communicate in simple texts, over the divide of continents, time zones, and life experiences.

I travel to build bridges--not to places, but to people. To encourage the sort of friendships that will likely define my life; to meet the friends whose influence will change the way I participate in the world around me. And when I return home, I create a new bridge for them to travel across. Together, the planes, the trains, the automobiles take us further into ourselves, rather than farther away from our roots.

 So, why do you do the things you do?

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