I genuinely believe the world – in all its beauty and vastness in culture, landscapes, food, and language– was created with the intent to be explored.
I didn't always understand the beauty behind traveling. When I was younger, I had a bucket list of all the things I wanted to see and do; visit the ancient ruins of the Parthenon, ride the gondolas in Venice and walk the busy streets amongst other New Yorkers with Magnolia's famous banana pudding in hand. I've visited all of these places, and I have the photos that can vividly and beautifully paint each and every single place.
But the photos will never do the conversational exchange or experience justice; the exchange of words, sometimes fragmented and broken, yet pieced together in hopes to have a curiosity answered. It's experiencing an evolved moment between two strangers turned friends, bonding over similarities from vastly different worlds. It's about sharing with intent without being distracted by flashy notifications and twenty photos of the same cup of coffee. After all these years, I've come to learn that this itself is a language all its own.
I don't remember much about my visit to the Parthenon during my spring break, but I will forever remember the elderly Greek woman who took the time to guide us off the trains when it unexpectedly stopped during a strike. I remember feeling loved when Marcel brewed me tea after I stumbled into the hostel drenched from the rain and in tears after being ripped off by a cab driver. I remember hitting up six dessert spots in New York with my long time friend, which yes, included Magnolia's. Too stuffed from our sugary adventure, we split a mac and cheese at Max Brenner's for dinner at a place far too fancy for a couple of college kids on a budget.
To me, traveling is about people. It's about exploring a new or familiar place with curiosity. It's about learning and listening to the stories of others because it's a different kind of magic you experience when they pass these stories to you. Believe it or not, the human soul travels far deeper than we can ever comprehend. At the end of our life's journey, it doesn't matter how many miles you've trekked around the world but instead how many lives you've had the chance to live.
It's all about having a soul well-traveled.