The Magic of Traveling

The feeling I get when I’m finally saying goodbye to wherever I’ve been and traveling to where I’m going is magical. I don’t know how to call it anything else and it’s a feeling that’s hard to describe. For me, it’s a mix of feeling giddy and having butterflies in my stomach like when I’m about to kiss a girl for the first time mixed with the excitement that I used to feel right before playing a basketball game during warmups. Like I said, magical.

Just like when I’ve taken off from San Francisco other times, this time is unique. This time around I’m not traveling over to Manila to start working overseas for the first time. I can still remember how I felt during that first long flight over the Pacific and how I knew my life would never be the same. I had always wanted to travel over to another country and having the opportunity to work while I did it was like a dream come true. I had no idea what to expect and I packed way too much stuff due to the unknown, but I soon figured things out and learned to love the Philippines and the people there.

The first time I traveled to Manila I only thought that I would be there for a little over two months, so I pushed it hard and traveled every, single weekend that I could while I was living there. Of course, those couple months ended up turning into a couple years of living my life over in Manila and the traveling I’ve done both in and outside of the Philippines has been an experience that has changed my life in so many ways.

With my limited exposure to the world, I used to see myself as just a guy from Indiana. Then, after living in San Francisco for nearly 8 years and being exposed to so many different types of people I saw myself as a fairly well-rounded American who had a decent understanding of several different cultures and lifestyles. Now, after traveling around to so many countries and having had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time with different types of people in their own countries, the borders of being just an American have opened up and expanded to the world.

This new outlook on my place in this big world comes with a different type of excitement when I travel. The way I’m feeling this time around when compared to my first trip is totally different, but it’s still magical. I’m no longer a first-time, long-term international traveler and all of the time I’ve spent flying and riding from one place to the next has prepared me for this next chapter. This time around there’s no job and no major restrictions on my time will take away from getting the most out of where I’m living. My goal is simple, learn Mandarin and as much as possible become part of the local community in Haikou.

I’m excited to get started and to once again feel the magic of stepping on a plane in San Francisco and walking off of the plane in another world that I have yet to experience. Speaking of my flight, it’s boarding already and if I don’t get moving I won’t be experiencing anything. Next stop, Hong Kong.

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