It's in the thud of suitcases, the scarves and makeshift blankets, or the 21 and counting hotel toothbrush stash. Perhaps, in the haikus you write? The backpacks you sling? The postcards you meant to send? Why do you do what you do and never want to stop? Because one day you looked at the map and saw that the world is round.
Because it started with Disneyland, where the kids have to go. Then you had to take planes and trains. And then you wanted to take planes and trains. You opened an atlas and read the names of cities you can’t pronounce and you knew that was it—you wanted to be able to say them out loud.
So you go. You go to the airport, halted by the realization that every time you go, you're never going to be the same person who left. You don’t know who you're becoming; only that you're going to be more you than you ever were... by changing trains to get to Tsim Sha Tsui, driving interstate across California to Washington State, hopping on a bus to Ifugao, crossing vicious roads of pedestrian-blind buses, and walking. A lot of walking.
At first you wanted skyscrapers, but you started wanting oceans and hilltops, and then you stopped minding and enjoyed wherever your feet took you. At one point it hit you like a dot on the radar: you are in the middle of all this. So you looked around and felt tiny. With a blink, everything's new again. Another blink, you gained perspective. One more, and you're home in the eyes of your friend or your father and you remember just how lucky you are.
These places, they talk to you about things you've never thought about and tell you who you didn't know you were. You go to Starbucks and try to comprehend the sound that is language. The coffee is not the same but it's Starbucks and it's coffee. You thought you go to make the alien familiar, only to find that it wasn't alien to begin with. Don't leave your heart anywhere. Take the places with you and grow big.
They sing you songs of light and darkness, like seeing sweat and tears on children on the street or standing on grounds that crumbled in violence. So you pray for kindness, hope, and love. You thought you were looking for something but realized that all you really wanted was to find something that matters and maybe be found by someone who does.
You see so much, drunk in the magic of seeing words come to life from books written ages ago and all the animals you once learned about—suddenly you're a kid again. You feel like you can walk 70 miles. There are boats and planes and then there are feet and they're yours, and that's the most wonderful part.
Then you come home. You thought dreams only happened in lands far, far away but suddenly it didn't mean trains or roadtrips, but fresh eyes, like rubbing them from disbelief because all is beautiful—because every dirt and flower, mistake and miracle, are coming together every day to make all these. And that's why you're here.
So if this isn't love, tell me what is. If you hear the world call your name, it's out of its desire to know you. Because it's beautiful, and so are you.
This month, we're writing about love—all the ways, forms, and kinds there are. Every Friday, check back for a new article in this section we're calling, Friday, I'm In Love.
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