by Jacqueline Smith
I always knew I would travel. I had no idea I would have touched Asia before Europe* -– specifically, Italy and France. I've always imagined myself indulging in Neapolitan pizza and red wine on the cobblestone streets of Italy, or swimming in the Mediterranean Sea after climbing the French Alps –– all way before eating fresh ¥100 sushi, skiing in #japow, or learning (attempting) the Korean language.
Recently, I'm home from a trip to both South Korea and Japan where good food and a well-presented style appeared to be highly valued (along with education, tradition, and strong work + study ethics). I think the obvious perks of international travel are just that –– seeing the world, and being grateful for the opportunity to do so.
For me, over time, the benefits of travel have become seeing how small and special my tiny world is, to me. Meeting people en route, discovering lovely trinkets, eating delicious food, and being immersed a culture I knew absolutely nothing about –– they're high up there too, especially the food.
After Asia, I've come to really value my home, my health, my family, and find a solid inner confidence that I am doing what makes me happy. That's maybe the biggest perk of traveling –– realizing, that after it's all done, it really just is geography and no matter where you go, there you are.
"...and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time.” -T.S. Eliot
*Technically, Iceland is Europe –– apart of the Scandinavian countries: Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. With it being so far away from Europe proper, and not sharing land borders, it felt more isolated, not border-hoping-easy as I hear it is in Europe.