I’m not going to lie, I become insanely and irrationally jealous when I read or hear about someone traveling. Maybe jealousy isn’t the best way to put it, because I definitely do not feel any negativity towards the person traveling. Why should I? If they’re having a great time, I am happy for them! I guess it’s just being able to travel in general that makes me green with envy. I am so passionate about traveling to other countries and basking in the culture and festivities of each one, that I try to read as much literature about the country in question until I can taste it.
I want to hike the Alps of Switzerland and feel the coldness wrap around my bones and breathe in the fresh cold air. I want to tread through the Black Forest in Germany and smell all of the flowers and feel the bark of the trees beneath my fingertips. I yearn to walk the streets of Tokyo and observe the people in their everyday lives, and just be able to sit and stare at Mount Fuji for as long as I desire. I want to go to Spain and learn to Flamenco dance and sketch the beautiful Gothic spires of the Sagrada Familia. I want to ride the merging rivers of Malaysia and visit the capital, Kuala Lumpur. I want to roam through thousands of worn, withered books in tiny little bookshops throughout France and Italy. I wish to meditate in India, to ride bicycles with the one that I love in Paris, and to actually see a Panda bear in China – among many other things.
Every single culture is so fascinating and beautiful to me, and it inspires me so much to just get on a plane and go wherever it takes me. Each country holds its own unique and powerful adventure, waiting to be read with the feet and fingers of mankind. Referring to my previous entry, however; I feel chained because money is one of the many factors that keeps me from pursuing my fantasies.
My love for traveling started when I was about nine years old when I was reading about Japan in World War II. This was many years before I found out about atrocities such as Unit 731 and the Rape of Nanking. My love for history and culture didn’t blossom fully until honestly after September 11th happened. That in itself is a strange story in that I became fascinated with New York City skyscrapers and architecture, which in turn led me to read about other skyscrapers and architecture types in countries around the world. It started out with the 1970’s block-style architecture of the World Trade Center, then on to the 1729-foot Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower), the Art-Decoes: Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the infamous Eiffel Tower, it’s red doppelganger, the Tokyo Tower, and many others. Whichever skyscraper I was interested in at the time, I wanted to learn the culture of the country in which it resided. Then, I would become majorly obsessed with consuming everything I could about that particular country. If I was into a particular country, everyone around me knew it. Anyone who knew even a tad bit of information that I didn’t would be hawked by me, asking them question after question. Some of my friends grew tired of my fiasco, understandably, but others didn’t. Others contributed to my obsession, which I appreciated a great deal. One of my guy friends from my fifth-grade class actually gave to me a tiny gold Eiffel Tower key chain because he knew I would appreciate it so much. I still have that key chain, and I smile and think about that day every time I look at it. From the time I was eleven, I was fascinated by French culture. I looked everywhere I could to find a classic black beret, and my heart leaped every instance I heard anything about France. I have a huge poster of the night-skied Eiffel Tower on the back of my door as a way to put those nostalgic feelings back in my heart. Over the years I have been completely infatuated with the countries of France, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, Russia, and Germany. Recently, I have also become very interested in Poland.
This little ditty of my life is what has caused me to consider becoming an architect or a linguist. I have loved all kinds of architecture from the majestic skyscrapers of today’s modern world, to the elegant, Second Empire Victorians, to the stately Kirkbride mental institutions planted in the hills of carefully chosen towns, and to the wonderfully powerful image of the Church of Our Lady before Tyn in Prague. The interest that I have for different cultures has also inspired me to learn more than my native English. I am so far teaching myself German, but I know several little phrases and such from other languages as well. It’s just all so fascinating, and it gives me a reason to get up in the morning!
What countries interest you? Can you speak a different language?
“Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in.” – Andrew Zimmern