Travel is intensified living … and one of the last great sources of legal adventure. - Rick Steves
After living for one year with only the minimum amount of lightbulbs in my bathroom, I finally procured two new bulbs to complete the set. When I turned on the light, I was greeted with lines and grey hairs that I didn’t know existed. They had always been there, I just was willingly living in a semi-dark world that hid them from my eyes.
The act of travel is like changing lightbulbs inside of your own mind. Getting outside of your comfort zone opens your eyes and mind to things that you would never see. You begin to see qualities in yourself that you’d either buried or just hadn’t discovered yet. It’s like a divining rod for wants and desires.
Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime. – Mark Twain
Travel, Walking and Education
The best way to learn about a city is to walk it. I like to forgo public transit unless something is just really far so that I can see the everyday people at play. Mothers walking their kids to school. Vendors opening up shop before the tourists are awake. Men in suits acting mostly self-important in the grand scheme of things. Walking lets you breathe in the intricacies and feel the bumps in the road that tour buses, trams and Metros just don’t afford. It’s a cut-rate education in culture.
Walking is also one of the best ways to learn about yourself. Roads must be navigated, feelings searched, opinions formed. The sounds of the city can really hone in your thoughts, calming the brain into pondering all the newness.
Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions. — Peter Hoeg
Walking in Amsterdam led me to watching a soccer match with a group of middle-aged Scottish men in an Irish pub. It also led me to running into that same group of men two days later as they shopped for gifts for their wives, all who were on a different holiday on an island somewhere. They were boisterous, loud and welcoming to a person that they initially had nothing in common with.
Like changing a lightbulb in a bathroom, travel can be the illumination you need to jumpstart your life. Quit an unhappy job. Be more charitable. Reconnect with loved ones. Start better habits. It's a big world out there. Let it permeate your skin. Learn from it and be a better person.
Death Cab for Cutie's "Kintsugi" album was on constant repeat as I walked the streets of Amsterdam. This track in particular is haunting, lovely and has an amazing dynamic payoff.