Commentary

Why I Travel To Change

Why I Travel to Change Image by Olivia Blaza Forest

Why I Travel to Change

Because sometimes you wake up, and your comfort zone is a bright yellow tent at 9 am in the height of summer and you find yourself desperately struggling with the zipper to get out. The air is hot and damp with your own breath. The air you’ve been breathing all night is the air you’ve already breathed. And maybe you’re not sure what you’ll see when you finally get that zipper open, but whatever it is, your lungs, your sticky skin, your everything, craves that air desperately.

Or maybe it’s less dramatic than that. Less complex. Maybe it just seemed a good idea at the time. And maybe you’re yet to be proved wrong. There was a point in my life where I had a soundtrack prepared for the journey ahead. A filter. A vague idea of the players to introduce. A terrifyingly nondescript dialogue that was sure to quirk your pants right off. But now I want to pat that girl on the head and tell her to toss that shit out. Straying maps the path, kid. Meander in the right direction. Quotes on quotes on quotes.

“Life” Solved!

I’ve learned something pretty recently. At some point along the road, a few months after flying the coop, I thought I’d ‘cracked’ it. I thought I’d already discovered how this travel business was changing me. ‘Nailed it.’ I thought, and of course, I blogged about it.

‘The reality is better. It’s nobody’s movie; not even my own. These people and these places aren’t written. They could never have been expected. They don’t belong to me and they’re not interwoven with my life or who I am. At least not yet. They’re just not mine. Only the experience is. And I’m bound to nothing but this.’

I wasn’t Wrong, But…

I want to add an addendum to this. I won’t correct myself because I wasn’t wrong; not at the time. But I remember how I felt then. I felt untouchable. Untethered. Everything mattered, but nothing mattered enough. But you can’t be impenetrable. Not for long. It’s no way to travel. It’s no way to see new things, to meet new people. Experiences will jar you, places will wind you, and people will get their hooks into you and shake you until it’s time to let go. And even when you’re shaken, out of breath and your clothes are torn, you’re gonna say; ‘Let’s do that again.’

Okay, Travel Changes You

Travel doesn’t mean what it did a year ago. And what it means to me now will be different again a year from now. Okay, sure, travel changes you. But you do the same to travel. You twist and bend and mold to each other as you go along. It is not always cause, because you are not always effect. The thing is—I can leave the tent whenever I want. I can change the soundtrack, introduce new characters. I can even bring back old ones if I so please.

And maybe I am untethered. But I’ll never be impenetrable. These places, these experiences, these people; they won’t allow for that.

Does Travel Change People?

And that’s why I travel. What about you? Do you think travel changes you? 

About the author

Olivia Blaza-Forest

‘Architect’ from New Zealand, currently teaching English in South Korea – with aspirations of becoming a llama in Peru.

3 Comments

  • So are you saying travel, with its constantly relationships to people and place, is helping you to grow closer to the spirit of freedom while, bit by bit, loosening the bonds of fear?

    • Well put. I also think it has a lot to do with accepting the fact that change is the most stable thing you have. But at the same time, you don’t have to just let it all roll off your back in order to keep moving. Living out of your comfort zone will certainly make you braver, but first you need to let yourself be affected by what’s out there.