My older brother is hopping around Europe, taking breaks from his Italian studies to frequent junkyards for car parts and snowboard in the French Alps under the shadow of Mount Blanc (1). My younger brother is hopping across Australia, playing with kangaroos, koalas, eating vegemite, and learning some rad slang like “sunnies” instead of “sunglasses” (2). My father, a pilot, keeps bicycles in Paris, Barcelona, London, and other international cities so that he can cruise around on his layovers. At the moment, he is in who-knows-what-province of Thailand for the nation’s new year celebrations—an epic water fight called “Songkran.” A cousin of mine also traveled through Thailand recently, while his brother filmed a documentary for VICE on HBO in the Philippines and North Korea, among other places (3).
Wanderlust runs in my family; we may or may not have gypsy blood. And while everyone else travels around the globe, I’m still stationary, thinking about where I’ve been and where I’m going.
My life looks pretty settled lately—working two jobs seven days a week, stashing some cash, carving out time to work on handmade journals, photography, and writing. Deep down, I know that all too familiar & metaphorical itching in (not on) my feet can only be cured by hopping on an airplane to a nation where I know no one, and no one knows me. Travel changes you, but I’m realizing that it’s time to change the way I travel—instead of traveling alone, venture forth with others; instead of running away from one place, run towards the next.
My days in India, Tibet, and Thailand feel decades behind me now, and I find myself walking over the cobblestone and brick of my hometown, wondering if I should find a hermitage in the woods and stay put instead. Then, I strike up a conversation with a woman from Cambodia who left in 1981, watch an episode of VICE that completely shatters my reality, and read about the fatal landslide in Tibet, 40 miles from where I lived in Lhasa (4). It makes me realize how much I’ve seen and experienced, but more importantly: how much I don’t know, and how much remains to be seen.