It’s officially been two months since I boarded the British Airways plane from Boston’s Logan Airport the night of September 5th.
It’s November 5th, 2014 at 8am and i’m currently residing in Brașov, Romania.
Exactly two months since i’ve done anything that would remotely be considered “normal routine.” Despite the fact that I haven’t seen my friends, physically, in two months, I find that sporadic phone calls and Skype video chat allows me to maintain a sense of balance when I feel the most stressed.
I’ve learned a lot (as does everyone who has the opportunity to travel) and i’d say one of the biggest things i’ve learned is that despite the differences in culture and language- people are the same.
Everyone wants the chance to laugh, meet new people, and foster new cross-cultural understandings.
There are wonderful people all over the world who are willing to help you, even if there is a barrier of language.
These are the types of things that propaganda focused media aren’t willing to tell you, that people are people and that there isn’t a culture in the world that is truly monolithic.
I would say that the first month and a half of traveling was a bit of a lifestyle adjustment (to say the least), having to figure out “what am I doing?”, “How do I function here?” if this is my life.
My present trip (four and a half months) was largely to determine if I COULD live this way long term. Can I hop around the world for months on end without a ‘solid plan’? Can I let myself do that and find joy in it?
After dealing with the natural sense of isolation that such a change brings (especially when solo traveling), I can say that I feel fully capable of leading a life of travel.
I’ve found myself open to speaking (horribly i’m sure) phrases in languages unfamiliar to me in an attempt to open communication with strangers (i’ve managed to make more than one elderly Czech person crack a smile, no small feat mind you!).
I’ve come to find a feeling of solace in airports, that familiar, “Ah yes, here we are again“, when in new airport terminals in different countries.
There is such a spontaneous intersection of culture that happens when you leave your home country, wherever that may be, and allow yourself to be ‘the stranger in a strange land‘ (Robert A. Heinlen reference, anyone?).
For the record, life isn’t something that happens by remaining in stasis. It doesn’t happen TO you, it should happen BECAUSE you made a ripple when you left your comfort zone and the Universe can feel that change.
Nothing profound ever happens in your comfort zone.