“How was your trip?”

“I want to hear all about it”

It was lovely. Great. Amazing. Wonderful.

It was terrifying, soul-crushing, and eye-opening.

Every time someone asks this question, I am stumped. My answers are vague, spewed from a smiling face, and behind my eyes scenes are flashing through my head at lightning speed. I am re-experiencing such unique and gorgeous moments, and trying desperately to find a way to describe them that doesn’t sound pretentious or mildly crazy.

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The feeling of breathing in deeply when you exit the airport into a new country for the first time.

The sense of frustration when you are hungry, but you have accidentally ordered something unpalatable due to a language barrier. (sardines on bread? No thank you!)

The wonder when you round a corner and see a work of art, or a hidden garden, or a breathtaking mountainside, and tears crest your eyes at how this place keeps showing you its secret corners.

The joy of meeting anyone, anywhere. An opera singer on a train, a traveling teacher, an Italian pizzeria owner enthralled by a woman in Florida, a mask-maker in Venice.

Being lost. Truly, completely, confusingly lost and alone. And then being helped by some angelically kind stranger who never even gives you their name.

Saying a phrase in another language, getting it right, and being gloriously mistaken as a native speaker.

Saying a phrase in another language, getting it wrong, and confusing everyone. Hopefully followed by laughter, and not frowns.

Sharing a kiss with someone you expect to never see again, but letting it carry you off your feet anyway.

Arriving home, exhausted and wondering if the last two months were a dream.

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How was my trip?

It awoke something in me that any other traveler understands. Wanderlust, fernweh, that internal desire to see more, do more, and above all, to BE more. Before my two month adventure, I said often that I loved travel. Now, I know that truly I need travel, in the same way that I need to write. In the same way that I need to breathe. It is a compulsion that overtakes you. And going forward with your life, you cannot imagine staying in one place forever and never seeing another shoreline. That stagnancy would be death.

So.

How was your trip?

 

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