What Travel Did to Me
By Manuela Domingos
There’s this sort of inexplicable appreciation and gratitude that you get after a period of travel. I’m currently sitting on my bed right now, staring at a pile of luggage that needs to be unpacked, overly jet lagged, but nevertheless content.
The minute I stepped on American soil, I was greeted by the bustle of a familiar language that had somehow become distant after a month of travel overseas. Even though I wasn’t gone for that long of a time, coming home felt sort of foreign – bizarre, since my reality was way different the day and weeks before.
A close friend of mine picked me up at the airport and we casually chatted about my stay overseas. During my ride back home, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of retraction. It was as if I was speeding for a while, consistently on the go for such a long time, and now I’ve finally halted.
For those who crave and seek adventure, my stay overseas was an amazing experience. For practically five weeks, every single day, I was in a constant whirlwind of movement, visiting places, meeting people, easily influenced by the people I met, and those closest to me by blood.
I left every worry I had at home, although the occasional nagging of responsibility would wander back into my mind every time I thought about what needed to be accomplished once I got home.
But then, it was the times that I visited the Seine river of Paris, appreciated the historic monuments of the city, enjoyed a picnic at the Eiffel Tower and rushed to catch a train 30 seconds before missing it that I was reminded that my thirst for adventure was fulfilled.
I oddly became a “citizen,” blending in with a group of strange, diverse, beautiful, ecstatic people that taught me about change. Each one, somehow, painted a picture in my mind that would last forever.
Whether it was the mother on the street, sleeping peacefully on a mattress with her children; the solemn man with the unmoving facial expression on the train; or the tourists high on wanderlust, I was reminded that I was somehow a part of that story.
I’m back with gratitude. Feeling blessed, quite frankly. I don’t want to hop out of this feeling for a while. It’s the best feeling in the world, I tell you.
Travel will do that to you.
Keep up with Manuela on Instagram, @_manuelad!