Monday, January 03, 2011


The year, actually the year-and-a-half, was a formative one for me.

I don’t have a philosophy on life, because having a philosophy on life means that you’ve answered life’s important questions, or that you are satisfied with the answers you have.

My ache to travel is because I want to keep asking and keep looking and keep reformulating. What began as a trip about me, about understanding me myself and I – turned into a lesson that there is nothing you can learn about yourself that is not in the context of someone else.

I learned very quickly that the world is not a scary place. It is filled with people who have all the same fundamental human needs, desires, dreams. The most meaningful friendships I made were from people I knew for a day, a week, an hour. There are big things to be learned from the smallest encounters, and each one began with a simple ‘hello’. Distances between people are easily breached. The unfamiliar becomes the familiar.

In the end, most of the attributes that you pride yourself over – no one cares. No one, except you to an obsessive degree, really cares about how funny you are, or how good your grades, or how pretty, or how athletic. The greatest lesson has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with other people, and how you exist alongside them.

The best decision I made was not just to travel, but to travel alone. It let me fully see that I never once felt alone.

The crucial realization is that I didn't need to travel more than a block to understand this. People relate to each other the same way whether in Cornfield, Indiana or Bhaktapur, Nepal.

I deeply miss my time abroad, but I’m comforted by these lessons that I kept. The new year may not have any more adventures like those of the past year, but I’m going into it with a few more answers.

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