Saturday, July 19, 2014

Exploring: A Truth About Travel

Grocery shopping in a chain store is replaced by markets like this in some places.

I am home now after traveling to a few places, and after embarking on these travels, I have come to a conclusion: 

No matter where I travel, I still have to do laundry. 

Obvious conclusion, right? 

As one with an atlas-stamped heart, the geography section of the library has always drawn me in, images of faraway people who think, dress, eat, believe, behave, and speak differently than me ever increasing my bucket list of new places to see, new cultures to experience. 

This year I’ve had the opportunities to go to a few different countries in Africa, Europe, and Asia, with a couple of the countries being familiar homecomings of sorts, and the other two countries being completely new and full of unknown territory to explore (for me anyways). 

My days prior to these travels often included reading others’ travel blogs, dreaming and scheming of ways that I could see more of this world of which those bloggers seemed so well acquainted. While on these travels, I’ve also met a few people who have traded their worldly possessions for plane tickets in an effort to increase life experience as opposed to their position in the rat race. Their passports are extra thick and worn, covered in ink that represents their adventures. I envied them. 

That is, until I began to notice something. 

After walking in Paris, my feet would be dirty.  In Nairobi, chai mugs still needed to be washed.  In Aswan, monthly bills are still deducted from my account. And after every long flight I still feel the need to sleep. 

No matter where I travel, life never ceases to include the mundane. 

And in travel, sometimes simply completing the mundane tasks can be daunting, as the process is slowed down by unfamiliar customs and language barriers. 

This conclusion did not lessen my desire to explore, but helped me to view travel more realistically, which then helps me to be content where I am at the moment. It is easy to assume that problems and weaknesses are rooted in a specific place, but as the familiar adage goes, “Wherever you find yourself, there you are”. 

As I recall my ever-growing bucket list of places I’d like to see, it is oddly both frustrating and comforting that no matter where I make my home, from the Midwest to Mumbai, I will always have to make time for laundry. 

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