Why do we Travel?
“All evil is born from ignorance, yet writers have illuminated the world, chasing away the darkness.”
When my mother told her that I had just returned from a weekend at Dilijan, tears came to my grandmother’s eyes. While on the phone with my mom she explained to me that my great-grandfather would tell stories to his daughters of the beautiful town he remembered visiting before being forced to leave his homeland. Stories I had never heard. I am glad I never heard these stories because I got to experience the viridescent paradise as something new. Making my own good memories with some of my small Armenian Diaspora family (at the beginning of this trip I may have called them fellow volunteers). I am sure he is smiling down at me knowing that against all odds I was able to undergo this adventure. Odds that Armenia has beaten by never truly knowing peace yet still here we are, and odds I have beaten by fighting and winning against my disease daily.
When we returned to Casanova Inn after deciding to get some rest instead of exploring the village’s elusive nightlife since we were all exhausted from the day’s hikes, the owner’s girlfriend was having her twenty-first birthday party. Like every other table in Armenia, there were plates and seats for all. After swearing off dessert at the restaurant before taking the taxi back up the mountainside because I was too full, I found myself sitting at the table holding a pork chop wrapped in lavash. We ate and danced with our new friends before calling it a night and retreating to the balcony for one last view of the nocturnal hillside before closing our eyes.
So, why do I travel? It used to be to escape. This trip has taught me a new rule that I like to call the five C’s. From now on whenever I travel it will be with these words in mind. 1) Change- grow, evolve through immersing yourself in uncomfortable situations. 2) Connection- Find love in places. Love your neighbors. Love those who aren’t your neighbors. Most importantly, follow your heart. It knows you better than yourself. 3) Create- Leave a mark on this world. When we accept others from different backgrounds and value their input there is no telling what mark the flowing creativity will produce. 4)Cherish- Travel reminds us that nothing lasts forever. Being away from family reminds us to cherish the moments they are in our arms. Seeing ancient treasures and monuments reminds us that, unlike these remains, our biggest advantage is that we are mortal. Everything is that much more beautiful knowing it exists only at this moment. A fact that is easy to forget when you are comfortable and at home. 5) Captain- We are all the captains of our own stories. Take charge and make the story one that you would want to read. Take that risk, quit that job, sail into the unknown. I’ll be waiting for you.