What is in a journey?
I get such joys from traveling because the process is so involved and complex. The journey is never about where I'm staying or how I'm getting there, but the moment itself of existing for one point in time in the destination of my choosing. Sounds too esoteric, I know.
My journey begins with a yearning to see a destination. Maybe I'm craving sand and piña coladas. Maybe I'm dreaming of walking along rivers. Maybe I want to see a cathedral or a museum. When I was younger, travel was a dream that was a bit out of reach. We were a poor family but my mother stressed on education. Even without her cajoling, I'd always been drawn to writing and reading. I absolutely devoured all the books in the library. I loved that books allowed me to travel all around the world and around the universe in my imagination. But the journey always begins with a yearning. Without that, it's hard to get your feet to cooperate.
The next step if you are like any other human being on this earth with limited means, is to decide how you will allocate your resources. Time, money, etc. When will I take my trip? At which point does it align with friends and family's schedules? Is it worth it to travel at this time? It's important to secure your method of travel and your accommodations. I mostly travel by plane but I've done trains, boats, and cars if my destination allows for it. I prefer to stay in hotels now that I'm a bit older but I've done my share of hostels and AirBNBs.
Next is talking about my trip, getting recommendations from friends, and doing a bit of research on my own. If I have sites I need to see in a limited time, I plan an itinerary. When I went to Europe with my mother and sisters, we had limited time but wanted to see three cities. This meant we had to plan accordingly. When I stayed in London for my study abroad stint, I had more time so I was less rushed.
Then the actual trip comes around. This is it. This is the moment. For that piece in time, you are away from the comfort of home. You are immersed in a different world, a different culture. Or you find that there are a number of similarities. Take advantage of opportunities. Say yes when you normally wouldn't say yes. Talk to people. Live as they live. Know the country. Know the city. Walk down each street that intrigues you. These memories will resonate. They will keep you grounded. Relish the moment.
When it is over, the journey doesn't end. For me, editing the pictures and writing about it, is sometimes the real journey itself. I'm not tired or hungry or searching for a bathroom. I'm thinking back to the fun times I had and scrolling through the photos that proved my existence in that moment. These are the relics I wish to pass on to my children and grandchildren. To say, once, Paris looked like this and I saw it with my own eyes. The impermanence of New York City is startling. The New York in old photographs from the 1990s resembles nothing of the New York today in 2017. The earth is a living creature and cities are breathed to life by people. I love traveling to know a place, and coming back to know it all over again.
What is in a journey? So much. Absolutely, so much.