Travel Like You Mean it Because You Need It

There is nothing like a plane ticket in your possession to give you something to look forward to.

Some people don’t love traveling like I do. For me, being in one place for too long makes me feel trapped. It’s not that I don’t love Chicago, in fact, every time I fly back home I realize how much I love this city.

Take a trip to somewhere you’ve never been. Immerse yourself in a culture that scares you. Eat the food even if you’re not sure what it is. Haggle like you know what you’re doing. Try the language and admit you can’t say more than hello. Dance and drink until 3 am, which is something you’d never do at home.

Travel is a chance to be yourself without any worries. No job. No one to run home to. Nothing to take care, except yourself. I’ve always heard this is the time to be selfish — your twenties — especially when you’re still on your own. I travel to be selfish. I eat what I want. I spend the money I want to spend. I see what I want to see. I walk endlessly without a destination in mine. I love it more than I love anything else.

I danced until dawn with locals in Istanbul. I fasted with Egyptians during Ramadan in Cairo. I rode an elephant in Jaipur and a camel in Giza to see those great pyramids. I walked the hills of San Francisco in a heatwave. I drank with my tour guide in his middle class home where he slept on the ground in Mumbai. I was harassed on the street and on the train in Cairo. I drank the vino and gelato and pasta of Italy in so many cities. I ate so much lamb in Greece. I explored the lighthouses by the sea in Portland, Maine. I dressed like a local in Amritsar. I drank beer at 9am in Munich. I rode the canals in Copenhagen. I ate hotdogs in a snowstorm in Reykjavik. I rode a donkey in Santorini to find the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants house. I drank beer cheaper than water in Prague. I ate tacos for breakfast in Austin. I sat for what felt like hours watching sea lions in La Jolla. I visited the graves of composers in Vienna. I met many future husbands in Cairo. I listened to country music on Broadway in Nashville. I bartered like a local in Jaipur. I saw the magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra. I ate my way through India.

Those are only some of the moments of the places around the world I got lost in. And I’ve loved every minute of it because I needed it. I needed to get away from my desk, away from my computer, away from a world I know to experience change, experience cultures I don’t know and to open my mind up.

Here’s to many more adventures in places I’ve never been.

(Spain, you’re next.)

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