I love the feeling of going somewhere new for the first time. It’s a special kind of exhilaration, a sense of being alive and experiencing the world.
I’m always anxious and scared as I prepare for a new journey. The comfort zone feels so…comfortable. It’s so safe and so easy to stay there; sometimes I wonder why I would ever leave.
But then I force myself to take the leap. Suddenly, I’m on a plane and a new place is coming into focus below me. My eyes are glued to the window, my heart quickens, and I am so in awe of this world. So big, so beautiful and so different, yet similar everywhere.
It’s a powerful feeling to know you can show up in a new city, country, wherever and be able to figure it out.
It’s not always graceful or glamorous (in fact, in my experience, the first few days in any place are rarely either of those things), but it’s possible.
After years of hurling myself into the terrifying unknown over and over again, I have learned how to get by in a new place. I can find a place to stay, navigate public transit, work through the exchange rates and adapt to a new currency, all while using Google translate and charades to convey a message.
But each time I turn up somewhere unfamiliar, I still feel that first jolt—a mix of excitement and fear. And I still feel like I am bumbling through the first few days.
I love traveling because with every day that goes by, you start understanding your destination a little more. It’s like putting a puzzle together or doing one of those connect-the-dots books. Each time you have an interaction in the community, you add a few more details to your picture of this place you didn’t know before.
There are so many small challenges and rewards that keep life interesting. It’s in first words you learn in a new language and the smiles that people give you when you use those words. It’s the first local friend that you make. It’s the feeling of accomplishment you get when you figure out how to do something that would be ordinary at home, but different and confusing in this new place—laundry, grocery shopping, taking a bus.
Each time I step off a plane, train, bus or boat in a new place, it’s like starting a fresh challenge, a blank slate. There is no formula, no blueprint that will work everywhere; each place is different and will hold different experiences and possibilities. And I love that.
Author: Christina Kay
Author Bio: Christina identifies strongly with the E.B. White quote: “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Her blog, There Is Hope Here, is a reflection of this. She currently lives in New York and is working on a collection of stories about humanity, grace and finding beauty in unexpected places.
Link to social media and website: Instagram @thereis_hopehere | Twitter @ckay44 | http://thereishopehere.com