All I Want To Do Is Travel

I’VE LOVED TRAVEL shows since I was twelve, thirteen years old. Travel and cooking shows. Anthony Bourdain is more than just an inspiration to me.

He’s not exactly my hero, as the man was undoubtedly flawed just as we all are. Yet for some unknowable reason, through his shows and books, he’s been like an anti-hero whom I spar with as I journey through life; my mentor; my friend.

I wanna make him proud.

Some of my other favorite shows growing up were Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Adam Richman’s Man v. Food. I loved those guys.

Now, the only things I really watch are Seinfeld for some cheap laughs and travel/cooking shows.

My favorites are The Chef Show (Jon Favreau and Roy Choi are one understated, hilarious duo); Ugly Delicious with David Chang; and Somebody Feed Phil (can’t help but love the guy).

I can’t explain why these shows have always gripped me. Yet last night, after watching a particularly captivating episode of Ugly Delicious in which David Chang travels throughout India trying to understand curry, it hit me hard and true:

I want to go everywhere.

I want to see the sunrise in India and the sunset in Thailand. I want to feel the dirt beneath my feet in Argentina and make new friends in China.

I want to sit on frozen park benches in Germany and feel the heat of Spain. I long to breathe the air deeply in New Zealand and float upon turquoise waves in Australia. I want to lose myself in Iceland and watch the moon travel across the night sky in Africa.

The moon.

I contemplate it constantly. Imagine if we didn’t know what the moon was. What if we never discovered that it’s nothing but a shimmering stone? That doesn’t mean it’s lost its magic.

The way the letters look together — ethereal in nature — grips my imagination, perhaps because I can look at it without having to look away as if looking at the sun.

When I gaze upon the moon I wonder, what’s really out there?

I look for it, a semblance of inordinate light drifting in a sea of darkness.

It hides when it pleases. Shines for us all. And that’s the thing: it’s the places, yes, but more so, it’s the people I long to know, all those out there like me who may also look to the moon and meditate on what life might mean.

I care about success, about progress, about making it, but only because I feel it as a weight. I want to make enough money to survive, to thrive, and that means being free. I want to live. Really, fucking, live.

We’re supposed to want these things which make us look successful to keep up, to be rational, responsible.

But what do I really want — what do you truly want? Sincerely and honestly, what would make you happy? I know what makes me happier than anything else.

Entertaining my limitless curiosity. Travel.

“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel — as far and as widely as possible,” said Anthony Bourdain.

“Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them — wherever you go.”

I’m nearly twenty-eight, and I hope to put Bourdain’s words into action.

I want to make friends of different cultures, for we’re all the same within our hearts, yet we call different lands our home and that’s often all we ever know.

How much variation is out there? Ways of living which seem like the only way for each of us with our limited perspectives. There’s so much more.

I know so little about this world, about life. But I have an insatiable fire within me that longs to explore, discover, learn create and feel.

Because travel to me isn’t about seeing shit. It’s about feeling love, the only word that can describe the sensation which rises in me out in the unknown, exposed to what I can never truly understand.

I feel love for people.

For the streets of another city.

For the heartbeat of another language and the essence of a culture. You hardly need any money for that. All you need is the will to go.

I write this from my apartment in Osaka, Japan. I’m here, living in a foreign country; I’ve made it. In my morning self-reflection, I thought about where I was a year ago.

I was back home in Los Angeles, counting down the days until I’d leave for Japan. I’d look at my Japanese Visa in my passport in absolute disbelief.

It was a dream.

And now I’m here, and as much as I contend with not letting the miraculous become mundane, living in Japan has become my new norm. I’m caught thinking about the next thing.

Why is that? Is it wrong?

“Human beings appear to be happy just so long as they have a future to which they can look forward,” writes philosopher Alan Watts in The Wisdom of Insecurity, “whether it be a ‘good time’ tomorrow or an everlasting life beyond the grave.”

I’m going to be living in Osaka teaching English until at least next April. Still, I’m constantly wondering what’s next.

It’s scary not to know what the future holds.

It’s scary because it’s an inevitable change. Change takes work, effort, decisions. Change means confronting the unknown.

I have some ideas, but I can’t possibly imagine what life is actually going to look like a year from now.

When we’re only thinking about the future, it’s like we’re one foot in and one foot out of the only thing that matters — now. Yet, it seems irrational not to plan, to consider, to hope for the future we imagine.

We pine for that sense of security because it makes us feel like we’re in control. Life is nothing but flux; we’re never really in control.

It’s a breath of fresh air to let go. Flow into the unknown with all the tenacity you can muster.

I want to travel the world. I want to watch the people passing in the streets of countless countries and know what it’s like just to feel the heat.

But I’m here, in Japan, with time before me that will pass far too quickly unless I really, truly, be.

It’s okay to plan for the future; we have to in some sense. But not at the expense of losing our peace of mind, our gratitude, our perception of the present moment.

It’s a beautiful summer morning. Today, I’m going to the beach in Kobe. I’m going to do nothing but cherish where I am with the people I’m with or if it’s just me, all the same.

All I want to do is travel, and I’m doing it.

So how to continue: how to discover what you truly wish to do with your life. By asking. When you do, the spirit is drawn in ways that can’t be comprehended.

We can’t rationalize with it or bury it, but we do. As we do we slowly lose our grip on who we are, who we could be, if instead of rationalizing we simply followed our curiosity.

Courageously follow it.

A meaningful adventure is the most important thing I long for, and I don’t care if that sounds naïve or like wishful thinking. It’s what makes me feel alive.

I wanna live my life and there’s so much love in that, I’m ripping at the seams.

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