Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Curse

Photo of Tokyo Sky Tree and Mt. Fuji taken from the roof of our City Hall.
I moved abroad to gain a new perspective, to broaden my horizons, to have an adventure.  I wanted to see what else everyone was talking about. I wanted to be uncomfortable. I wanted to question things. I wanted to learn from strangers. I wanted to "talk" to someone who didn't speak my language. I wanted to learn about my life from living in someone else's environment. 
And I have. 
I have experienced all of that, and then some. 
I have been uncomfortable. I have been confused. I have made cultural faux pas. I have questioned my beliefs. I have been awkward. I have been the entertainment. I have been a nuisance. I have been a saving grace. I have been a teacher. I have been a student. I have been a tourist and I have been a local. 

What I didn't expect, was to still be hungry for more. 

I have found, the more I learn the more I want to learn.  
As soon as I come up with one question, a thousand more follow.
Curiosity is a never ending cycle.  
Through all my questions, and wonderings and wanderings, 
I have found adventure, new people, food and experiences, 
but what I have failed to find is answers. 

And yet, regardless of the frustration at the lack of answers, I find I am excited.
Thrilled, in fact, at coming up with more questions, meeting more people, taking on a new environment and challenging myself even more.

I have discovered the traveler's curse.

It goes like this...
(taken from here)

The more places you see, the more things you see that appeal to you, but no one place has them all. In fact, each place has a smaller and smaller percentage of the things you love, the more things you see. It drives you, even subconsciously, to keep looking, for a place not that's perfect (we all know there's no Shangri-La), but just for a place that's "just right for you." But the curse is that the odds of finding "just right" get smaller, not larger, the more you experience. So you keep looking even more, but it always gets worse the more you see. This is Part A of the Curse.
Part B is relationships. The more you travel, the more numerous and profoundly varied the relationships you will have. But the more people you meet, the more diffused your time is with any of them. Since all these people can't travel with you, it becomes more and more difficult to cultivate long term relationships the more you travel. Yet you keep traveling, and keep meeting amazing people, so it feels fulfilling, but eventually, you miss them all, and many have all but forgotten who you are. And then you make up for it by staying put somewhere long enough to develop roots and cultivate stronger relationships, but these people will never know what you know or see what you've seen, and you will always feel a tinge of loneliness, and you will want to tell your stories just a little bit more than they will want to hear them. The reason this is part of the Curse is that it gets worse the more you travel, yet travel seems to be a cure for a while.
None of this is to suggest that one should ever reduce travel. It's just a warning to young Travelers, to expect, as part of the price, a rich life tinged with a bit of sadness and loneliness, and angst that's like the same nostalgia everyone feels for special parts of their past, except multiplied by a thousand.

P.S. Read more about what this is in response to, here.

[The Latest]

Google Search: Nikon P310
Tune: It's Time By Imagine Dragons.
Accomplishment: Consistently studying Japanese in the mornings at work.
Obsessions: Museli.

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