Traveling. I've heard it summed up as a lifestyle, a choice to finance, a curiosity to explore, an experience to prove, an addiction without rehab. In all honesty, I've only just begun my journey into this world, in the most literal and figurative sense. Speaking candidly, travel cannot be captured, explained, nor reproduced. It has to be felt; deeply and completely raw. There have been so many wonderful places that I've gotten to experience and while I focused on being fully immersed in those moments, my heart would often be filled with the yearning to share those experiences with my family and friends together. While I tried to capture those emotions through my photography, I knew almost instantaneously that pictures would not do justice, and as I write these words, I know that they cannot do much, either.
My hope is, however naive it may be, that by sharing some insight on what I felt, you will be drawn to the magic of traveling. It will truly alter your life and perspective. Regardless of how far or near you go, you will begin to find an untamed urge that grows from within the more you experience. For me, it is a love so deep, so unreciprocated. Call me needy but regardless of how difficult it has become for me to travel, I find it that much more hypnotizing. It feels the way that I did whenever my mother and father would spend the day with me and I only wanted more. They would exclaim "¡nunca te llenas!" which directly translates to "you never get full," or you're never fulfilled. That's what travel is to me.
If you are going to travel soon, know that your heart, mindset, and spirit will transform without your approval or notice. You will begin to question your motives, beliefs, and behavior. The craziest part is that you probably won't realize it until you're standing over the city of Barcelona, tears flowing ever so slowly from your eyes, relief in your heart, and fire in your soul as you think about how you want to stay in that moment forever. Or when you're sitting on the softest sand on the gloomiest beach of Costa Rica, next to a lifelong friend, tasting the salt of the waves and contemplating the trajectory of your life.
I won't lie, you may not always enjoy what you discover when you travel. It won't all be perfect rainbows, sunny skies, and flamenco dancers. There will be moments when you're utterly terrified by that man who is taking pictures of you on the 5:15 AM metro back home after a night of dancing with your friends wearing club attire. Or when you find out that someone found their way into your inner purse pocket and collected that last 10 euros you were saving for a meal. Perhaps sadness will consume you when you see a brother and sister with blackened bare feet and dirty faces roaming down an alley way praying for their safety.
There's an unsaid rule of travel, if your objective is to truly see how others live, you will see the good, the bad, and the ugly. For every ten moments that I felt love, compassion, amazement, or enjoyment I had spent one moment feeling sadness, anger, loneliness, or frustration. Traveling is not easy. Not on the checkbook, on the body, or on the heart. But I'll be damned if I didn't tell you it was completely worth it.