Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I applied for a passport.
Before I was born, my parents lived in Sicily and Bermuda. My father fought in Vietnam. My siblings have traveled to Jamaica, Germany and a host of other nations throughout this world. But other than a couple of family trips to Tijuana, I have never left the United States. This has always been a point of embarrassment for me.
I have visited 40 of the 50 states, lived in 10 (plus one district) and driven across vast swaths of this nation’s undeveloped land, yet I’ve never even been to Canada. The world is so much bigger than the United States, so much wider than North America, and for all my travels I’ve always felt exceptionally shallow in the scope of my experiences.
It’s beyond time to change that.
I’m going to keep getting that question. It’s inevitable. Every week somebody asks me what I plan to do after the end of 10 Cities / 10 Years, and then a month or so after I’ve answered, “I don’t know,” they ask again. I don’t blame them. I’m asking myself the same question.
I know that my travels aren’t done. I can be proud of what I’ve accomplished (even if it’s an accomplishment with no obvious results), but I’m also acutely aware of how much I still have to see. For these first 6 months of my year here in Brooklyn, I was seemingly surrounded by foreign-born residents, like French, Belgium and Italian students studying abroad, or the European/African roommates I have.
For as much of this country that I have seen, for all the places that I have called home (and I’d imagine I’ve lived in more cities than 99.99% of the people who can be labeled American citizens), I can’t deny that my experience of this globe has been confined to a decidedly small portion of one hemisphere.
Even if what I’ve experienced would be sufficiently diverse for the vast majority of the population, it isn’t enough for me. I’m not done traveling. I’m not done seeing the world. I’ll travel Europe next. And Asia, Africa, South America, Australia. Heck, maybe I’ll lay a flag on Antarctica. And I’ll get around to the other 10 states, too. Count on it.
I’m not sure what the next phase will look like.
I don’t know how I’ll get to all the places I want to see. I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to see all 7 continents. I don’t know what any of the future has to hold. For the first time in pretty much my entire life, I don’t have even the faint outline of a plan.
But in a few weeks I’ll hold an empty passport and I think that just might be better than any plan.
the Road is Life.