The life of a travel-addicted person has its own lessons and rewards. Some thoughts from the past few months:

  • If you are under 30 and living in North America, leave for a while to go to Europe. Live in Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona, almost anywhere. Don't think, just go. People and culture are 99% the same anywhere in the world, but the 1% that is different is significant and needs to be experienced. Life here is many ways much richer, more interesting and more layered.
  • Same as the above if you are under 50. Or 100, for that matter. You might just opt for a few less parties and a few nicer places to sleep, but the richness of the experience is the same.
  • There's something to be said for staying put. And there's something to be said for moving around.
  • There are certain things we don't, and may never, have an answer for... why, in a city as amazing as Paris or while traveling themselves, are the French so miserable? Why, in a society as pragmatic as Holland, is hot tea often served in a cup with no handles? Why do the Spanish and Portuguese not pick up after their dogs? Why is Paul Rudd famous at all? Some things we may never know.
  • Trade-offs. More orderly, poop-scooping North America is on time, has safety helmets and bigger dwellings, but can bore one to tears. Meanwhile in the EU, babies being held in one hand while the parent is biking, still-rampant cigarette smoking and trucks that back up with no beeping seem to be the price for a more exciting society. Trade-offs.
Happy to hear your comments, as always.


Anonymous said...

Please see the cover of GQ magazine (American edition) this month. It's your worst nightmare come true. Paul Rudd is more famous than ever!

melissa evanson said...
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melissa evanson said...

I definitely agree but I think a relocation should include anywhere in the world. My sister and I traveled parts of western S. America for almost six months and it changed us in the best ways possible. We didn't live in one place (which gives a different experience) but the journey was just as life altering. I also think there is something to be said for experiencing life in a "non-developed" part of the world.

Also,if a move isn't possible we just need to keep exploring life in general. Shorter trips, classes, reading, visiting new neighborhoods in your own city, and oh, talking to strangers (novel I know!)! We just need to be open and keep putting ourselves in new and mildly (very?) uncomfortable situations.
Being stagnant is death to me, but over the past several years I've had to try and figure out ways to balance my wanderlust with my need to not uproot my life every 2 years. Still working on it...

Kim said...

Great post, I am going to share this with my friends! I am 22 and will be leaving for Malaga, Spain in 2 weeks. I will spend 10+ months teaching English and couldn't be more excited.

Jeff said...

Anonymous.. I know - I saw that cover! Ludicrous.

Melissa - thanks for the introspective perspective. South America is high on the list as well...

Kim - good luck! If you need tips on Malaga, just let me know - you can contact me via funnekotter.com. I loved it there, and would move in a second. Let me know too if they need more teachers... Also, all kinds of photos on previous blog entries, in March and again in May.