From a young age I was taken around the country with my parents. I don’t just mean week long family ventures either. I mean permanent moves, three day long road trips to see family, last minute excursions to the other side of the country to some body of water I would later forget I’d ever been to, and many more. Yes, my father was in the air force for a while, and that is still the reason I give people for all the excisions, but it was so much more complicated than that.
I was homeschooled, and yes we were a Christian family, but that was only one reason my mom made that decision. From the beginning she had a vision of how our curriculum was going to be built and how our travels were going to teach us more than a classroom ever would. I can hardly go a day without feeling deep gratitude for that woman’s bold decision.
So we traveled. We were not a rich family, yet there was almost never a year we didn’t go somewhere new. As time went on and we all got older, DC became Toronto, and the Great Lakes became England.
I grew up learning that meeting new people was better than any material possession. That each new story you hear and culture you are exposed to is like a gem around your neck, and a piece of gold in your memories.
I didn’t even care about all of the moves until I got older and realized that social dynamics were very different after middle school, and that being the “new kid” wasn't necessarily a positive thing anymore.
But I’ve come to realize this: Traveling kept the chains away.
The shackles that tie themselves around people’s thoughts never even existed to me. I’ve never had any judgment toward people. I have never had to get up the courage to do something new, because I was literally nurtured to thrive off of it. I have never struggled with empathy. I am always genuinely interested in what people have to say. I love to learn both from books and life. I am expressive in multiple forms of art and never hesitate with it.
Even though this lifestyle did breed other issues in me (we all have them thanks to that whole humanity thing), I would much rather work through those than more fundamental things that are the reason I am who I am.
So I beg you, travel. It’s never too late to chase the chains away.
Let cold air hit your face in the middle of July.
Let sand burn your feet.
Embrace 9-hour flights, then embrace the 5 hour road trip, know there is no stop in-between.
Learn to fit your entire life into a carryon.
Learn to find time and rest alone, in the corner of the terminal, with thousands of strangers buzzing around you.
And please, I beg you, if you have them, let your kids learn with you.
Where will you go?