When I started college, I took a plane from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon—Alaska Airlines! how exotic! how great!
As soon as I fastened my seatbelt, I burst into tears. Some of my high school friends had seen me off at the gate, along with my parents and brother. I’d been cocky, chirping good-bye! I’ll miss you! as I eyed the departure gate, ready to dash off to my new life. I wanted that new life desperately. Yet I felt such terror that I couldn’t admit it until I was alone in a window seat.
That’s what travel does, even if a given trip doesn’t symbolize the before and after of a major life event. This week, after returning from four months with my family in Singapore, I’ve been thinking a lot about travel and why I do it.