On ‘no land foreign’

I struggled with whether or not to explain my Travelog’s name and the quote behind it, as I cringe at the 20-year-old version of myself who peppered their Thorn Tree and Eurotrip/trek profiles with quotes from Twain, Chesterton & Stevenson. Why did I “sign” my posts with these badges of approval from history? Did I truly agree with Stevenson when he said that he travels for travel’s sake, not to go anywhere, but to go, and that moving is a “great affair?” Lord, seems like the nonsense of many a ego-maniacal travel-writer lamenting about what a pain it is to pack up from one short stay to another, to live out of a backpack for months at a time. To have the luxury of travel is a gift to be treasured, not one to be dissected and whined about until it seems much like the job you escaped from to do it!

No Land Foreign, however, has a much more simple & pure intention of a title. Stevenson said, “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” Think about this for a moment, and to me at least you have so much more than a quote, but what should be an ethos for travel. It is to enter a new and “strange” land and realize that the people there have done just fine before you arrived and will do just fine after you leave. This is not to say that you can’t “help” as a traveler — much good locally & globally is done by conscientious individuals who give of themselves with time and money to help a community accomplish a task. One should, however, always remember that you are a guest in this new land, and as much as your hosts could potentially learn from you, you could learn from them about life. We all seek to get beyond this with a favorite destination – to be a “local.” What does that mean? Essentially, a “local” has crossed over to the other side and is now the host, and while ever learning, giving, and taking from the land, they are at least somewhat more “at home” in this place than elsewhere. How long does this take? Who am I to tell you — I’m sure there is a BuzzFeed quiz out there that can tell you if you are a true New Yorker/Seattlite/Las Vegan. I believe the journey is essential as you can unlock the secrets of what has drawn many to this place before you and why some have stayed, and some have gone onward.

Oh, and you are probably now thinking “why the hell did he call this a Travelog,” is this some hipster shit to redefine blogging into something more elevated? I can assure you it certainly is not – instead, it is a bit of an homage to one of the leading life experiences that made me into a traveler at a young age – journeys with my Babci and Dziadzi (Polish grandparents) to local cinemas as a child during odd times in the middle of the day when no shows were on so they could hear a person from their Travelog society talk about their latest trip and share slides of the images they captured. It was amazing, to sit in that dark theater as a kid probably no more than ten years old and hear about a retirees recent trip exploring Portugal, or taking ferries along the coast of Norway to the Lofoten Islands. This was far more interesting than sitting inside and watching cartoons or the latest action movie. I think this was partially responsible for giving me the travel bug and may have given me a love for documentaries!

If you’ve read this far, thank you for giving me the time to explain the meaning behind this exercise and sharing it with you. I hope my sharing of the places I am lucky enough to see and the experiences I’m fortunate enough to have inspires you to live your dreams and lives to the fullest. Travel can be relaxing, terrifying, educational, gluttonous, and primal – but in all it’s states it fulfills something for us who spend most of our days in a “universe” that is those who are 99.99% like ourselves.

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