I cannot recall any point in my life when I had a passion for traveling, in fact, not only was I adamant at traveling, but I also thought of it as a waste of time. So often, I would see my big sister packing her bags and going for adventures with her pals. She would return after a couple of weeks or even a month, exhilarated with endless stories of the people she encountered and adorned experiences that she would never trade for anything. Irrespective of how colorful she would make them, to me traveling was still pointless. I often considered that the time “wasted” on traveling I would better spend with my friends or learning new things. However, it was not long before my thoughts towards traveling altered and took a new perspective. What I once abhorred has now become my new thrill. I have a new aim in life, which is to explore as many places as possible and interact with new cultures that I never knew existed. My discovery started when I got the opportunity to travel to St. Kitts and Nevis, an island betwixt the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. After traveling to St. Kitts and Nevis and interacting with the people of the country, my thoughts towards traveling never stayed the same, and my discovery was the thrill that one finds in adventures, as there is no bliss to measure it.
It was in early days of December, the chills and thrills of winter were overwhelming the neighborhood; a sight so familiar yet different every year. I recall that evening my dad arrived and called us to the sitting room where he announced to my family that in two weeks time we would travel to St. Kitts and Nevis. My heart crushed at the thought of spending Christmas away from home, away from everything I had known. None of us had ever been to the Caribbean Islands except for my dad who traveled to Honduras a couple of years ago and came home telling us how magical Caribbean islands were, and this is one of the reasons my sister took traveling as her primary hobby. That night I spent hours on the phone with my friend who gave me courage and convinced me that maybe it would turn out to be the biggest discovery of my life.
Two weeks had quickly gone by, and suddenly we were seated in a taxi taking us to our hotel room. I was still depressed by the encountered unfamiliarity; a land with no snow, and a land that was hot even in December. On our first night, everything seemed different apart from the familiar faces of my father, mother, and sister. I was unexpressed in most of the conversations. Most of the time, I was on the phone with my friends as I explained my sentiments of lament to accept the offer of traveling away from home.
They say best adventures are the ones unplanned and approached with low expectation because you cannot be disappointed if you are already disappointed. The city of Charlestown was not quite what I expected it to be and what I thought would be a town behind in development, turned out to be quite similar to what I am used to, apart from the strange faces of course. As we traversed the streets of Charlestown on the first Saturday, we were welcomed with a lot of courtesy as the people were very friendly. At no single point did I see anyone not offering us a grace-filled smile. It was at this point I noticed the beauty of traveling and the wonders of this fascinating city. We were in a marketplace filled with hundreds of people from different countries and cultures admiring the curios displayed for sale. It was unbelievable that such a small space held so much magic to attract individuals who interacted with each other as they bought souvenirs and decorations. The ambiance was peaceful and jolly even as the midday sun pierced through my forehead leaving me feeling sweltering.
The next adventure came when we drove miles away from the city to a game reserve. I must say it is a different thing to see and feel the moment. Before this day, I heard of flamingos, great barracudas, monkey and the Nevisians culture only on television or through reading traveling books and blogs. On this day of adventure, I was marveled beyond expectations. I conceived it right that no pleasure surpasses being in a moment you never thought existed. The Nevisians people were nothing like I had ever seen. After many years, it was amazing to see there were certain cultures that modernity had not tampered.
A famous quote says, “Wherever you go becomes a part of you.” To me, my home was always the part of me that I never wanted to let go, but I learned from this discovery that it is until you free what you hold in your palms, do you get to receive something greater. From experience I shared with the friendly people of Saint Kitts and Nevis, I learned that traveling is not just a matter of enjoying the scenic route or having the silent moments of wonder as you are on the airplane or bus, but rather it is about challenging oneself. I discovered that traveling to new locations shares similar scientific discovery; it is about encountering ideas and people you did not know existed and having new perspective towards life. For example, I realized how there are many things we take for granted here at home that other people would pray to have.
A conversation I had with one of the people we met at Saint Kitts and Nevis shaped my idea of finding joy in moments and not things, and the best way one can achieve this is by denying oneself the need to put a value on everything. There is a greater lot of stuff that shapes my being than something I get to learn from the books I read or from the sitting at home. Such include how to make meaningful relationships and how to the opportunity to change the world. By seeing that there are several basic things that people lack, I found the need to get out of my comfort zone and use whatever I have to influence the world.
The discovery I made in the last one year is the beauty embossed in adventure and the hidden moments betwixt unexplored cultures and seeing life from a different perspective. My aim is to travel as often as I can and if possible travel back to Caribbean Islands so that I can explore its vast beauty.