I have a restless spirit. Anyone who spends any time with me knows I always have to be doing something. I honestly don’t know how to sit back and do nothing; I can’t even justify an hour of video games because they simply aren’t productive enough.
The same translates to my physical location. I love to explore, and I get antsy if I’m living in one place for too long (I blame my military brat upbringing for that one). The joy I get out of discovering someplace new is unlike anything else; I get bored too easily with the “known.”
But why the world? I could sate my curiosity easily in my home state alone, I’m sure. The world is a big place, and I couldn’t see everything in one lifetime anyway, right?
Again, I credit (blame?) the military.
My dad was stationed in Woomera, South Australia, a square-mile town out in the middle of the Australian donga (the outback). I’m actually glad it wasn’t a big, “civilized” city, as we had the opportunity to more-or-less experience real Australian life. We practiced how to say “no” in the Australian accent, we sampled the horrid paste known as vegemite that some crazies decided should be edible, and we learned why you don’t want to say you lost your napkin under the dinner table. We saw so many roos we got sick of them; we had Christmas with air conditioning; and we suffered with a whopping 4 television channels, only one of which was American: the military-sponsored, AFRTS (yeah… “a-farts”), channel.
Looking back, life in Woomera really wasn’t all that different than the States. Sure, academics were on a year-round schedule, and we were constantly killing spiders, but at least everyone spoke (some form of) English. And for a kid of 11, it was literally a whole new world (without the magic carpet ride).
Those two years planted a very important seed. I fell in love with learning a new culture and being completely immersed in an environment unlike anything to which I was accustomed.
Most Americans simply don’t realize how different everyone is, locked in their own little worlds. We assume others are just like us, with the same values and the same ideas. But Australia taught me that though we spoke the (relatively) same language, we could interpret experiences so distinctly!
And it was fascinating.
Those years shaped me in a way an entire lifetime in the States never could. And the experience opened my eyes to new ways of perceiving the world. I feel I am more accepting of others because of my time there, and I welcome the new and extraordinary.
So when I grew older and decided to venture out a bit on my own, where do I pick?
Talk about different! Not only do they not speak the same language; they don’t even use the same writing system – or even just ONE other writing system! They speak in phonetics, they eat fish and rice every morning for breakfast, and Christmas is a romantic holiday. Each new discovery is exhilarating, and I’m elated at the prospect of learning more, like a child reading Lord of the Rings for the first time.
And that’s only a taste.
Now, I get excited seeing how many countries around the world my photography blog has touched.. and how many of those I’ll soon see. What do they think of my experiences? Will I ever meet any of these people in person? The thought thrills me to no end.
There’s a whole world out there. So many places and people who do things in such vast contrast to what I’m used to that I can’t even begin to fathom their practicality. There are foods with tastes so utterly foreign and sights so breathtakingly beautiful.
I’m excited to explore these new discoveries. My shutter finger is just itching to snap images of distant vistas. My tastebuds are tingling in anticipation for exotic flavors.
Travel changes a person – I believe for the better. One can only benefit from broader experiences. These shape an individual into a more well-rounded human being, and they bring us together into the one world we should be.
I can’t wait to get started.