I turned 40 yesterday. Yep, I’m almost hesitant to admit it. Almost. There are days where I’d like to think I’m suspended permanently at either 23 or 33. But that’s not the way time, this construct we’ve created to capture the constant state of change in the world around us, actually works.
“What have you learned over these years?” a friend asked in light of the occasion. Continue Reading »
Andy has been a street performer for over fifteen years. He’s originally from Britain, but he’s called Berlin his home for the last four of those years. We watched his show at a festival in Berlin’s Westend neighborhood this past weekend. In his performance, Andy combined juggling, balance and slapstick – all suffused with his dry British humor. His finale: fire juggling on a tightrope held by members of the crowd.
While I enjoyed the wit, the feats, and the crowd reaction, it was a post-performance chat with Andy that really left an impression. Continue Reading »
Say you moved around when you were growing up, or maybe you were raised in one place but moved away and frequently changed locations as an adult. Then you take a trip and someone asks you, “Where are you from?”
How do you answer? Continue Reading »
Does travel always equal going outside your comfort zone? Continue Reading »
People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.
– Dagobert D. Runes
Why is it that so many people reserve their curiosity for new and enlightening experiences on the road while they take for granted similar opportunities just because they happen at home?
Continue Reading »
Go beyond what makes you comfortable. Open yourself to ideas, events, relationships that make you uncomfortable. Travel places where you know no one. Learn another language. Create art, even though you’re not an artist. Argue with people. Fall down. Get up. Read books, all sorts of books.
— Juan Williams of NPR during his commencement speech at Whitman College
I was paging through an article of commencement speech clips over breakfast yesterday morning and this quote stuck with me all day. It recalls so many recent conversations and its message resonates on so many levels. But doing something that makes you uncomfortable — doesn’t that sound odd? Continue Reading »
I woke up the other morning with a knot in the pit in my stomach. It took a while for my brain to catch up with my gut to figure out what was wrong.
On the surface, everything was ideal. We had just come from weeks of trekking in Patagonia amidst endless mountains and lake vistas, we were on the quaint island of Chiloe (Chile) and the sun was shining (a rarity for this time of year, we’re told), and more trekking and travel opportunities awaited us.
But I was burnt out. Something about our recent travel choices left me feeling ungrounded. The constant movement, logistical planning and searching for the next experience had taken its toll. Usually, we travel without fixed schedules and we stay in places longer, allowing us time to relax, work and take in a place in all its various dimensions.
So what happened? Recently we purchased airline tickets that will take us away from South American in mid-May. With this impending departure, we began to fall into the common trap of travel, the common trap of life: trying to do it all. Continue Reading »
But if less is more, how you keeping score?
– Eddie Vedder, from the song Society
What is worth more? A dollar of stuff or a dollar of experience?
Technically, they are worth the same. But do both really deliver the same satisfaction? Continue Reading »
When people hear that we’ve been traveling around the world, they often imagine the two of us relaxing on a beach, drinking mai tais and reclining under flaming tiki torches.
In reality, it’s no wonder that the word “travel” is derived from the French word travail meaning “to work hard, to toil.” While we may occasionally indulge in beachside cocktails here and there, our days are typically filled with on-the-fly problem solving in ever-changing contexts: finding decent places to sleep, negotiating safe transport, and keeping ourselves well and well-fed so that we may focus on understanding the places we visit and the people we meet.
But this makes independent travel sound like something of an exercise in endurance. Much more than that, it facilitates the development and sharpening of a rather specific set of life skills that not only come in handy on the road but also translate in the real world (you know, the place where tiki torches are replaced by fluorescent track lights). Continue Reading »