One of the biggest advantages of working at my alma mater so soon after graduation is that I’m still in close proximity to so many incredible friends who haven’t yet graduated. While I don’t get to see them every day or even every week, I still get to be a part of their Samford lives, and I am so grateful for that.
Today I got to grab coffee (hot chocolate for me) with one of the most genuinely cool people I know. She spent her JanTerm traipsing around Europe, and she had some wonderful stories to tell of wrong turns and interesting people and gorgeous views. London, Germany, Switzerland, France…just hopping all over the place like the little adventurer she is.
I doubt my jealousy was very well concealed.
It honestly doesn’t take all that much for the travel bug to pop up in my brain again. There is just something so intrinsically fascinating about people speaking other languages, being acclimated to other climates, knowing other customs, and yet still experiencing the same basics of life: love, anger, weariness, joy. Nothing about our cultures may overlap and yet we grow, learn, and live life all the same. If you don’t think that’s one of the coolest things about life, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel a fair amount in my 22 years of life. I’ve touched the walls of the Colosseum and wandered the hallways of the Louvre. I’ve stood beside the windmills of La Mancha and waded in the waters of the Zambezi River. I’ve ridden the Tube, biked through Barcelona, crossed canals in Venice, and lost myself in the meandering streets of Florence. So many incredible bits and pieces of the world that I’ve been lucky enough to personally see, touch, taste, and experience.
But that’s just what they are: bits and pieces.
Of the 190(ish) countries in the world, I’ve been to 8 of them. That’s less than 1%. And of each of those countries, I’ve probably only seen 1% of what they have to offer.*
How crazy is that? In my mind, I’ve seen so much of the world, but I’ve really seen so little. And that realization just makes me want to see more.
I recognize how blessed I am that I’ve seen the amount of the world that I’ve seen. I count myself incredibly lucky to have had the experiences that I’ve had, even in just my domestic travels. Many people don’t get these opportunities, and I’m grateful that travel has been a part of my life.
But I don’t apologize for wanting to see more. I think that travel, when done right, is something that burrows itself inside your heart, takes a hold, and never lets you go. The more I travel, the more I realize is out there, and the more I want to see. I want to eat the food and shop the markets and walk the streets and gain an appreciation for lives lived by different customs and in different cultures. I want to go somewhere and learn something and have my way of thinking altered by it.
And I’m not sure when the next opportunity will present itself. It may be a plane trip across an ocean or a road trip above the Mason-Dixon. But I’ll take whatever. I just want to go.
*The exceptions being  the U.S.A, of whose 50 states I have been to 15 plus D.C., and  Spain, which, at least through a bus window, I have seen at least 1.5%.