A while back Alex and I were hunting through the web for the perfect quote to laser engrave on my new iPod Nano. Which, I might add, was quite a hassle because for some reason I can not think of my own favorite quote. I must have one, but I seem to be unable to recall what it is on my own (even now, weeks later, this continues to be somewhat of a problem). And, thus, Alex was forced to spend day and night scouring every lame quotes website available to find something that:
a) represents me (oddly, somehow easier for him than for me – what does that mean?)
b) is short enough to fit on back of the iPod
c) is not too serious
d) is easy to understand should anyone happen to pick up the iPod and glance at the back
In the end we settled on a Tolkien quote (well, the one line of the poem that would fit on the back of an iPod) that Alex’s dad read at our wedding (which can still work me up into tears if I think about it): “Not all those who wander are lost.”
However, in the process, we did find another quote that I loved:
“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” — Gilbert K. Chesterton
Although I wasn’t aware of it before we started the search, both of these quotes are absolutely perfect for me. After reading Preya’s post yesterday, I can decidedly say that they really sum up my philosophy of travel and expatriation: Purposeful travel to learn about other cultures as well as yourself. Learning how to live everywhere and nowhere. Being at home in the world by seeing beyond your local horizons.
I remember coming back to the States after my study abroad in Italy (during my sophomore year in college) and thinking to myself, as I drove around town, “this used to be my universe.” It was honestly shocking to think that my boundaries truly went no farther than the tri-state area (if that). Now when I come back to the US, I realize that most people go through their entire life with those kind of horizons. For me, that’s just not enough.
After seven years abroad, I’m starting to feel more comfortable outside than inside of the US. To be honest, for me there’s a level of slight un-comfort about being in the US, where everyone is just so complacent about living in their own tiny universe. For the most part, I don’t understand them and they don’t understand me. “Why would I want to live anywhere but here?” they think. While I’m thinking “how could you live in the same place your entire life?” There must be some other quote about travel broadening your horizons that would fit well here (I’ll have to add it to my favorites list once Alex hunts it down for me).
There is something about living in an entirely different culture that excites and engages me. I find myself constantly learning and experiencing new things and I love it. I guess you could say I’m hooked on travel. The world is full of such interesting places – why settle for just one?
Why do you travel?