I remember my first International solo trip. It was after my junior year of college. I spent the better part of the year saving for my airfare. Back then, I didn't have to worry about hotels because I had a predestined date with a foldout sofa.
I remember it well. I spent about $1300 on airfare(something I rarely do now) and had a whopping 247 British pounds to last three weeks in London. Those were the days. I didn't have a lot, but I was happy because I was grateful I got to travel.
Fast forward, I can travel when and how I want. I rarely sit outside of first class, I'm either at the Marriott, The Ritz, or the Four Seasons on any given trip, and I spend an obscene amount on food and excursions (mostly food). What I realized on a recent trip was that I lost the bliss I had when I first began to travel.
How did I realize it? It's a great story and one that would help reshape how I travel from here on.
There I was, sitting at gate B24 in my second home of JFK Terminal 4. I had met a young man who was on his way to Cancun, Mexico. It was our first time in Cancun, but for him, it was his first time flying internationally. He got his passport for the trip and he was ecstatic. He had outfits planned for the beach, things he wanted to do, and general excitement to be in Mexico. His energy was heartfelt.
When we landed in Mexico some four hours later, he had already picked the spot for his first passport stamp. He was anticipating it to be on page 1. In true customs fashion, they stamped on page 10. He couldn't understand why they would pass 9 empty pages and decide to stamp on a random page but that's how it went.
I still remember the pure bliss on his face of just being able to travel. I then realized it was something I took for granted. I became blinded by my goal to travel to every country, and I actually forgot to enjoy the ones I actually visited.
That experience had to happen for me. It changed the way how I travel. I'm more present in my adventures and less interested in recording them. I developed a greater appreciation of what I am able to do and not take it for granted as I did before.
So the next time you look to the skies and notice a Delta Airlines jet soaring through the skies, picture me in seat 2A, looking out the window with a smirk on my face which is now my new expression for true bliss!
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