Michael He

November 6, 2021

Travel to The Future

Listening to Rick Steves reminds me of why I love traveling. 

Reading and talking to people are the best ways to learn. Traveling (when done right) is a special combination of both. Instead of reading books, you read and experience the environment, the architecture and scenery, the food, the culture, the atmosphere, and of course, the people. 

Traveling at a young age is a blessing. You not only get the excitement of exploring a new place, but also learn to make choices right there and then. Making an itinerary is one of the most creative things to do in real life, because it's the quintessential design process - creating an unforgettable experience. Of course, choosing where to eat on the spot is also a great skill for adult life.

There were three significant trips in my life. The first was spending the summer in Taiwan at age fourteen, which opened my interest to traveling. The second one was a solo trip to Japan at age sixteen, which revealed the beauty of independence. The third one was a trip to Spain after high school graduation, which showed me a different way of living and the joy in everyday life, something I had not done much by that time.

And of course, if you count moving to America as a long, continuous trip, it is by far the most important trip I've ever made in life. Words cannot describe the experience and significance in full.

But my interest and (shall I dare say) passion in traveling were on the back burner during covid. I gradually shifted to more pragmatic matters, such as job searching, academics, and daily things. I couldn't dream big, nor did I have the energy to do so.

Listening to Rick's NPR interview on a sunny Saturday somehow brought back such fuzzy feelings. Rick's passion seeped through his soft and warm voice. Images and words flashed across my mind. I felt the urge to travel again. 

I need to think big. I need to travel to the future. There are some things I know I want to do no matter what. 

I want to walk the Camino de Santiago and spend that journey to connect deeper with God. I want to live in Japan for an extended period of time. That has been a (realistic) dream since childhood. I want to drive across America, visit the national parks, and talk to people from different regions and backgrounds. I want to drink at an Irish pub and talk to the friendly locals. I want to visit Germany and Austria to see the birthplaces of Bach, Mozart, and musicians I love. I want to spend some time in Alaska for no apparent reason. I want to bike around Amsterdam and experience its charm. I want to drink tea and pickle juice in Istanbul and hop from Asia to Europe. There are plenty more wishes like these!

And of course, I want to take my mother to wherever she wants to visit and my friends as well. 

It's time to travel to the future by living in the present. I know where I want to be (even if temporarily), so I also know what to do in the meantime. It's a blessing to have so many mysterious things in life, yet you can look forward to the journey regardless of the outcomes.

About Michael He

Trying to get better every single day.