…says every human being when you tell them about an upcoming trip.
People have always told me to blog when I’m embarking on travels, especially extended ones. They are clearly unaware that I’m not used to or comfortable with writing for an audience. Interestingly enough, though, the two times I have blogged regularly are (1) when I moved to a place where I felt like there was nothing interesting going on in my life, and (2) when I felt like there was nothing interesting going on in my life so I forced myself to do one new thing each week. I’ve never written publicly when doing things that would traditionally be considered “interesting.”
When I do get out and travel, I like to take it all in and process it for myself, but I often don’t get around to processing it for anyone else. When people ask me how travels were, I sometimes show pictures (they’re worth thousands of words, right???) or give somewhat generic answers (‘it was great,’ or ‘the food was amazing,’ or something equally as noncommittal), but it’s difficult for me to go into detail about the things I experienced. Part of this comes from feeling a little strange pointing out differences when traveling within cultures that are significantly different than ours. I mean, of COURSE this is what people want you to talk about. They want to hear about squatting over a pit to shit. They want to hear about the untreated medical conditions you see in the educational centers. About the chickens between your feet and the goats in the back of the matatu. And I get it. I totally get it. I am a lover of stories. But sometimes it feels like these stories contribute to the perception of “them” and “there.” Almost like I am lengthening the distance. Building the wall.
As I start this blog, I plan to write about things I do close to home as well as across the globe (and YES, I realize what an insanely charmed life I lead to be able to even write that sentence, much less live it!). I can’t possibly predict whether this will create more distance between you and the people, places, or events I discuss or will create a greater understanding of the wide range of experiences both near and far. Or maybe neither of those. All I know is that people have said, “You should blog about it!” So here goes…