Well, I haven’t blogged in quite a bit … whatever shall we talk about today? How about … Does traveling abroad, especially for long periods of time … (or even being an expat!) … mean you hate America? Honestly, that’s a truly American concept, that travel is somehow a contest. A zero sum game. So let’s dig in …
Experiences come in many flavors, and not just in crossing state lines. Dinner in Seattle can be just as wonderful as dinner in Dubrovnik. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. Each is unique.
The goal of travel is to collect memories, not to rank them. And never to exclude.
Having said that … will I miss America terribly when I start my round-the-world adventure? No, not really. No more than I’ll miss fillintheblank when I leave it sometime in the future. Life is a forward moving mechanism. Sometimes it loops back on itself, so I’m sure I will be back in the states again (and often). I do have family and friends inside its borders after all. But does being born inside some dotted line mean that I have to shun everything outside? That’s a firm no. And emotions don’t come into play either. Just because I love a place, doesn’t mean I have to hate another one just to keep score.
Someone close to me once stated that they would never travel again outside of the United States. Because until they’ve seen “all of their country”, why see anything else? I suppose I’m just not cut from that same nationalistic cloth. I consider myself a citizen of humanity, and by extension, the world. There are so many great things everywhere, large and small. And I don’t see why I have to categorize them first. It would be like me saying I’d never leave Florida until I’ve seen all of Florida. Why not declare that boundary instead of the one around the US? See, it makes no sense. So in case I didn’t answer the title of this post clearly for you yet … Do I hate America? Nope, I do not. Nor do I hate the rest of the world. It isn’t a contest. It’s just living life to the fullest, without self-imposed restrictions.
Well, that was quick. Seems like the post is over. But I wouldn’t be me unless I recapped the recap until I had made my point several times over. So …
It’s actually sometimes a hard concept to process. For instance, if I were to say “I love Spanish architecture”, I just defined something by its border. And that bothers me. I think what I actually mean is that “I love Spanish culture’s architecture”, just with less actual words. Borders are ubiquitous and have defined cultures for time immortal. Just because I have an issue with them doesn’t mean they haven’t guided the rest of the planet for eons.
But when you travel between countries, it isn’t usually a black/white transition. For instance, when we left Germany and headed into the Netherlands I had no idea when it happened. Everything still looked the same. Sounded the same. For those living on the edges, borders are actually multiples.
And it’s in those gray areas that I enjoy exploration the most. Places where multiple cultures come together and sometimes contrast. And that’s something that I find hard to see here in the United States. We simply don’t have enough diverse borders to experience the phenomenon.
But to get back to the original thought (sorry for the ADD moments) … life is learning. If you were to go to college and tell your professors that you only wanted to be taught with nouns and never verbs, you are not going to get an education. They are both important, those action and identifying words. Even adverbs (whatever the hell those things really are) are needed. And so is travel. Experiencing a single country without being able to see it in conjunction to another is impossible. You cannot see the United States without also seeing the world it’s connected to. Not to declare a winner, but to understand it at its most base level.