Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wandering Aimlessly vs. Pursuit of Purpose

I thought I would address this comment from Liara on my post Perfect Travel Dream Job
It sounds like you have visited some very memorable places. Why so many countries? Did you sense you were wandering aimlessly or were you on a quest for a particular purpose? I think readers would look forward to hearing more about what you have learned through travel.

I thought this was a really great comment. Sometimes I have felt aimless when traveling. Maybe I have traveled so much to fill a void. I look at it as I have an insatiable desire to know everything! Ask any of my friends and they will tell you how incredibly annoying this is. Maybe it's annoying for them, but it is endless for me! So the answer is both. I have wandered aimlessly and in pursuit of something. Traveling is like peeling an onion. There are so many layers to discover.

I did have a goal to travel to all seven continents before I turned 25. I made it to six. Going to so many countries has just been to see new cultures. I was not necessarily trying to break any records!

In traveling independently I have learned to rely on myself. I know what I can handle and what I can't. I know the good about myself and I know the absolute worst. In addition, I have learned the good and bad about others. I have experienced incredible kindness from strangers. Fortunately, I have never had anything truly life threatening happen to me-other than being attacked by elephants in South Africa while in my car! Mostly, I have seen how beautiful this world is. I have watched incredible sunsets while on a boat out in the middle of the ocean and felt like the time was standing still and the world was in absolute peace. Nature and people are inspiring. I have seen poverty in third world countries that would break the souls of most and in the eyes of children who lived there I saw hope.

Africa changed my life (I have heard people say the same about India). It changed how I view the world. I can't describe it now, but my way of thinking completely shifted when I was there. I wish everyone could go and experience a similar feeling. I believe the world would be so much better off if people would get out of their comfort zones and travel more. Even if they don't, I will continue to do it just for myself. Although it seems like it has been aimless, and perhaps it has been without a goal at some points, traveling has always fulfilled my own personal pursuit of purpose.

1 comment:

Celine said...

Hey, your goal of wanting to visit all 7 continents before you turned 25 made me ask myself that same question. And I'm happy to say I reached 5: Born and raised in Europe, holidays with parents in the USA, school trips to northern Africa, last year was my first trip to Asia (S. Korea for a buddhism camp!) and this year, just 2 months before turning 25, I moved to Peru, continent number 5. Not too bad I think.