“You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.”
– Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Hemingway is not wrong, but that won’t stop me from traveling. Just like the characters in The Sun Also Rises, I have always felt aimless. I have never had a clear picture of the future, or even the present for that matter. As a kid, I remember people questioning what I wanted to ‘be’ when I grew up. I never had an answer because I lived in reality. I knew that I could never become a rock star or president. Because I like reality, I’ve never been much of a reader with the exception of historical books or ones I thought were real enough. I’m more of a people-watcher. I’ve always been intrigued by people and why and how they end up the way they are. (I’ve always been a sociology geek but didn’t know it.) I also attribute my aimlessness to my inability to make decisions unless I have triple checked all of my options and have thought about every single scenario and factor involved. It’s quite a process that I have to go through just to select food from a menu, especially when there are no pictures or descriptions- just imagine picking my brain on my political views!
Aimlessness often gets a bad rep. I, however, am all for it. I think that the journey is better than any destination. Wandering usually leads me to meet fascinating people and explore breathtaking locations. I chose the quotation above because I think it’s a refreshing reminder that no matter where you go you are always you. The places you go and the people you meet will shape you, however, you can never rid yourself of you. I feel as though many people want to travel to seem cool or to become enlightened or to escape their present reality, but traveling does not change your core. Traveling simply enhances what you already are.
I travel or wander to meet new people and gain new perspectives on the world. Like I said before, I am indecisive. Traveling is one of the ways I shape my opinions. I try not to form a view on a subject if I have no experience with it. By interacting with people who are dissimilar to me, I am able to have a holistic view on topics. Traveling shows me that America and the way I was raised is not the only way to live. I love seeing how other societies function and what is normal for me compared to someone else. I think traveling builds empathy. The world needs more empathy, not sympathy. We do not need to understand everyone and everything; we never will, but we can appreciate and respect others. The only way to do that is by knowing them.
I have traveled to the Dominican Republic, Peru four times, Spain for a month, and I just got back from Ghana for a May-mester with my school. I will be in India for the entire fall semester as well, and after I will be visiting Greece and Italy.
I am a rising junior at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. I am majoring in Sociology and minoring in Poverty Studies and African American and Diaspora Cultures. I love all things art (recently been interested in collages). I love reading about murderers, listening to most types of music, going for joy rides, adventuring to new places, collecting coins, thrift shopping, reading poetry, and journaling. I’m a foodie, but I’m not good with picking favorites. I live in Northern Virginia with my family and hope to live in the area after graduation. I’ve interned with two non-profits in the area: Little Lights Urban Ministries and Food For Neighbors. I’m not sure what I intend to do after I graduate, but I do know that I want to help people by giving them a voice. We will see what happens!! Your guess is as good as mine.
I’ll leave you with this food for thought: