Love Letter to My Fellow Travelers

This is a letter to all of my fellow travelers who have been afflicted by the travel bug - thank you for being the adventurous people you are! | Study Abroad and BeyondDear fellow travelers,

As I find myself blissfully on the road again, excited for this journey, I can’t help but think of you.

My travel compatriots. Fellow hikers. Serendipitous sidekicks in adventure. Language novices and pros alike. Those who believe in the healing power of cross-cultural dialogue and sharing.

Think back to that time when you first caught it.  You know what I’m referring to. The travel bug, which afflicts many in our community.

Can you remember the exhilaration?

Finding something new around every corner?

The opportunity to experience the unknown?

Feeling somehow utterly out of place, and yet completely at home?

And admit it – you will always get that electric sensation every time you book your next bus, train, plane, ferry, or maybe even tuk tuk.

Your openness to new people and ways of thinking is inspiring.  The smiles and laughter you share while on adventures near and far make the world a better place. You are at home amongst new friends, faces, and contexts.

And you believe that no one is undeserving of your compassion.

You’re willing to go the extra 500 miles to help a new friend.  Not only are you willing, you can recount times when you put someone else’s needs above your own wishes.

(But you’d sooner relinquish your passport than share others’ personal stories of woe.)

While on the road, you listen to others’ stories, and happily share your own.  Learning new things is exhilarating.

Because, let’s be real – traveling makes us all better storytellers.

And even when you maybe screw up a little (or a lot), you roll with the punches (hopefully not literally).  You know that you can lean on your travel community during rough times.

They – we – have and will continue to deliver the support you need in the moment.

Listen, I know you have crappy days while traveling.  And maybe there are days when you’re just going through your standard travel motions without fully engaging with anyone or anything.

…Or perhaps there are days when you’re feeling particularly guilty after a YouTube bender when you had planned to explore a city.

There is such a thing as travel burnout.

But you carry on, knowing full well that a little part of you would die if you were to stop exploring the world in which we live.

You have seen the darkness of this world, yes.  It’s not like you have been impervious to pain in your life’s journey.  You have experienced grief, and devastating loss.  But – somehow – you didn’t let that all-consuming loss consume you.

You found a way to take loss as a part of life, and even explored the way that other cultures perceive loss in order to process your own.

It’s an incredible thing to be vulnerable and open at the same time. You are brave. So incredibly brave.  And you might not know it.

But let me assure you that you are.

You are strong, and I aspire to be like you.

I’m so proud and fortunate to be part of your community, fellow travelers.  Thank you for all you have taught me and shared with me.

You will always be in my heart.

To quote Rick Blaine from Casablanca, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Continued safe travels, my friends.


A fellow traveler

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