When people ask me why I prefer travelling to third world countries, I always answer with a shrug. It’s not that I don’t know why. It’s just that the answer is too big for me to convey through words…
How am I supposed to put alllll my feelings into tiny words? The feelings are so immense and intense and enormous that they always knock me breathless. And how do I answer when my answer is constantly changing? With every trip, I fall in love with something else. With every trip, I leave a part of me somewhere but I also take up something new: a discovery of a new part of me. The answer takes on so many shapes and forms. It’s the kind family that took me in when I visited Quetzaltenango and showed me generosity when they had little to begin with. It’s the child from Bagan who just wants an education and doesn’t want any toys or clothes that taught me about happiness and gratitude. It’s the meal in Ubud that was prepared with fresh ingredients from the small farm with tilled fields down yonder. It’s the sunlight during golden hour and the way it changes as it moves across the tree tops that make my heart flutter every single time. It’s the fascination of being somewhere foreign, somewhere completely different from home but feeling familiar. It’s the exhilarating feeling of covering new ground, getting lost and being found all at the same time.
I guess the heart of it is escaping the monotony of my regular life. I hate being stuck in a cycle. Routine is nice, it’s convenient, it makes life simple but it washes out excitement and curiosity. Worst of all, it makes me crave adventure. It makes me feel trapped when all I want to do is run wild and free. I want to feel alive. I don’t want to get through time just to make a living, I want to live. In all definitions of the verb, I want to exist, be present, and be connected with time and space.
I want to visit other fellow human beings. It sounds invasive, but I want to take part in their lives and invite them into mine. I want to see their culture and maybe, hopefully, show them mine too. I don’t want to take their gifts or land, I just want to take away a new way of life. A new angle. Appreciation, gratitude. Refreshed eyes second to a refreshed soul.