So today I am having an epic struggle. I just got hired to write articles and someone is going to actually pay me for it. Awesome, right?
Not really so much. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I started jumping around all excited when I got the email that said someone wanted to pay me to write for them, and the poor guy who happened to be sitting next to me must’ve thought I was out of my mind. So I’m really excited to write, and I was more excited to find out my first article was going to be about travel. I’m practically a travel master by this point, so I figured it would be really easy. Except when it came to the first sentence, I was stuck. Writer’s block was so bad that I couldn’t even write a BAD sentence to get me started.
So I started talking to my friend felix who lives in England, and I asked him what the coolest place in the world was. He told me something I really didn’t expect. He said “wherever you feel safest.”
Now, for me, travelling is just how much trouble you can get into without crippling injuries/being arrested/dying. I love feeling dangerous and like anything could happen and doing things I never would at home. That’s why I crashed a motorbike in Vietnam and didn’t shed a tear. That’s why all I want is to visit Chernobyl, and risk radiation poisoning invading my body at some point, just to see the city. That’s why Bangkok is my favourite place and I’d go back tomorrow, even though everyone else thinks it’s dirty and disgusting. Because of the danger, the risks and for me, the adventure of never knowing what to expect. That’s what makes travel worth it for me.
But Felix said, “If you can feel safe somewhere that you’ve never been before, then that’s pretty remarkable.” and that’s something I’ve never really heard anyone say about travelling. So of course, I asked him to elaborate because I really wanted to blog about his idea. (one thing I love about Felix – he has this way with words so I didn’t have to edit even one thing he told me)
He told me this:
I went to America to find home, basically. I had never left the island that I lived on thus far in my adult life, but I had been to countless different cities around the country, and lived in countless different places, but I had never found anywhere which rid me of a feeling that I wasn’t where I was meant to be. I had to explore, so I did. I went off to find somewhere that made me feel something new. And throughout the course of my travels, I found myself feeling a hell of a lot of new things: mostly fear, exhaustion, insignificance and uncertainty. And poor. I’ve never felt so poor in my life. But I would never change a second of it. Not even getting stranded in an airport without my luggage, after my plane got struck by lightning, as an earthquake happened below, while a hurricane was racing up the coast to greet me.
I wouldn’t change a moment, because I found somewhere that made me feel what I think “home” is supposed to feel like. The very first place I went to, Boston. I didn’t realise how beautiful or monumental Boston was, at first, because it was the first time I’d ever left the UK. But I went to eleven different states after Boston, and visited well over twenty cities. And none of them made me feel like I felt walking around in Boston. I didn’t look at maps, I didn’t clutch my rucksack slightly tighter while walking past groups of youths (despite the fact that my bag had literally my entire life in it at that point), I didn’t panic or worry or feel out of place.
I just walked, and truly adventured. And I never felt like that anywhere else. Not in New York, or in New Orleans, or Vegas or Cleveland or Charleston or Austin or Philadelphia or Santa Cruz. I went back to Boston three times in that trip. And every time I felt the same way. So anywhere that can make you feel that comfortable, that safe, despite having every possible reason not to, is easily one of the best places in the world.
I guess what this is really about is that just now Felix kind of opened my eyes as to how some people see travel. As an adventure, and doing/seeing new things, yes. But also as a kind of search, to find somewhere you just feel is right the first time, to find somewhere you finally feel like you fit in. I have actually never felt inspired to blog about anything right at one moment, so you should be able to see how much this really made me think about different opinions on travel.
I also want to say thank you to Felix for curing my writer’s block. Finally.
(Also I’m aware I’m well behind on my whole life update and what’s been going on recently, but I’m writing this article before I blog again)