going to malta maybe changed my life. and i know i haven't talked about it here, mostly because i've beaten it over the head of anyone who interacts with me or my facebook. and it's a little late to write up a post about just how AWE-some malta was. but i don't even care. because, yes, malta was beautiful and interesting and diverse and it was liberating being there on my own terms and i definitely want to go back (really). but more than anything malta just made me realize...there's so much more i want to see.
this world is so big and vast and beautiful. it's indescribable and different. every corner, crack, and cranny holds something amazing. i loved every second of being lost in something so beyond me. no one there knew who i was (aside from my wonderful travel buddy). but what i mean is...no one had any idea who shelby was, what concerns and worries i felt shadowed or bogged down by. my problems weren't theirs. my dreams weren't theirs. i was merely a face in the crowd of their lives.
it was so absolutely freeing.
we can be pretty selfish people. and with good reason. (mostly.) i mean, this is our life--we only get one shot. we need to be concerned about us and what makes us happy and what gives our lives value. it's right to be aware of oneself. but it was also nice to be reminded that even if my life revolved around me, the whole world, in fact, did not. life in malta went on. life in new york went on. i just totally stepped out of it for a week, caught in the current of everyone else's orbits.
i think there's a reason people say they caught the travel bug or they suffer from wanderlust. because it does feel like a disease. something beyond your control. something that just happens and takes you and changes things. five years ago i thought there were only five places on earth i cared to see. i wanted to see new york, london, paris, italy, and egypt. that's all. i didn't get why i had to travel to appreciate the world. i had books! i had the internet! i had pictures! i didn't feel drawn to any place outside of my (very small) comfort zone.
well, that changed.
i went to london. then paris. i realized the world is pretty cool and maybe it would be fun to see more of it, but no big deal.
then i moved to new york. and i realized moving, going, seeing...it changes you. and i thought how amazing it was to be at this international hub with thousands of people coming and going. i wanted to be one of those people.
and then i went to malta. i rushed through istanbul. and i realized there's a big world out there and i'm desperate to see it all. if only to know what more it can do to me.
and this has all taught me three things: 1) travel changes you. it makes me feel strong, capable, brave. 2) traveling gets easier (no more throwing up on planes!) and so much more fun, and growing up is grand--i mean, look at how tiny and young i look in london compared to istanbul. is it just me? 3) I MUST SEE ALL THE PLACES!
i keep a list of travel destinations on my phone. just places i've always wanted to see or places i hear about or pictures i see and think "that looks amazing." and it's getting lengthy. and i get too excited about each one. and i'm already eager to plan my next trip. but the real question is...where?
i want to see...
the grand canyon
i want to go to...
the french riviera
i thought i could make a "30 before 30" travel list, but there's too many places i want to see. and so many different ways i want to see it all. one could say i'm young and restless. but i think that's okay. and even right. life shouldn't feel settled already. I'm barely 23, i have my whole life ahead of me, and, hey, i can sleep when i'm dead.
i've realized the world is my oyster and i really can do whatever i want because...it is my life. and that is such a scary, amazing, freeing thought. so i've seen bits of the world. i wouldn't call myself well-traveled or wordly. but i wish i was. because what i've seen so far amazes me. and it's changed me. i feel more capable, more brave, more me than i ever felt. i like who i've become and the openendedness of who i can yet be. and maybe that's dramatic and maybe life will get me down and i'll never see another place again. (knock on wood). but more and more my life's mantra can be summed up to simply "Life Wholly Lived."
i want a life of adventure. i want a world of discovery. i want immersion and escape. i want to feel and see and do and be. in the pages of this world and all its diversity, i want to find me.