There are many things I’ve come to appreciate about travel, but one aspect I truly enjoy about it is the constant absorption of new things.
Not so long ago I wrote about the feelings of going back home. I visited my home in Puerto Rico, the place where I lived for most of my life and where I created so many memories. Yet, I felt like I wasn’t home. I was a visitor at my own home.
I often though; “why am I feeling this way?”
It was hard figuring it out at first. Even my mom commented; “you’re looking at the bigger picture. This place feels small for you.”
I think she’s right.
There’s nothing wrong with Puerto Rico or the place I grew up. I love them, but I love even more the possibilities of looking outside and experimenting new things and places.
I’m really grateful to have a life that allows me to travel and always keep stretching my boundaries with each new experience around the world. But, it wasn’t always like that.
Having grown in Puerto Rico, it was almost inevitable to develop an insular mentality towards life and the world. Nothing wrong there, it’s just what we are used to.
We Puerto Ricans are very proud of our island. Who can blame us? But without knowing, in my best opinion, this mentality alienates us subconsciously from what surrounds us. Everything else seems to be far, foreign, and out of reach. What matters to us is concentrated, within reach, just here.
Honestly, I admit that during that time I couldn’t care less about what happened outside of my 100×35 miles habitat. What was wrong with me? Well, nothing really. That was my reality.
In an attempt to cut the cord from insularism and to stretch my edges I decide to look outside. I move to New York, travel often, and place myself in different surroundings. All humbling experiences to me.
What has impressed me the most is that through this expanded view on the world, my yearn for home hasn’t diminished. It still calls me from beyond. Those are the moments when I fly back to my nest and gather that familiar energy that makes me want to go out again, even when everything feels different.
I know this sounds cliché, but traveling has turned me into a different person. I’ve grown and I’ve learned so much. Not only about the world, but also about myself. I’ve gotten an appreciation to certain high’s and low’s in life, about the relative comforts that life presents to different people, and about the importance of considering things that don’t necessarily affect me directly, among others.
There is this Mark Twain quote I like:
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
This direct contact and experience of different cultures has provided me a better connection with the world. I have been sprinkled with sensibility. I’ve learned to be compassionate with the world and to be open to what the world presents me.
I feel like I’ve gone from simple roots to being globally naturalized; sewing the cultural threads straight through this global fabric that travel has given me.
Now, nothing is out of reach…