It’s become a joke between my husband and I how funny it is we’ve never seen any of our country’s big landmarks. We’re planning this trip to D.C. in April, knowing we’ll have some time away from the conference, and there are a few must hits on our list, but we really had never put too much thought into it. We live in a city with some awesome things to see where we are… and yet I’ve never been to most of the museums here. But I adore exploring them in other places.
What is it about traveling to a new place that makes these things stand out so much more? I would think my life a little less complete if I hadn’t climbed the Eiffel Tower, stood in the Sistine Chapel, checked the time on Big Ben, or stood with my toes in the water on Bondi Beach. But I’ve never had a real desire to see much of my own country.
Maybe it’s simply that foreign places are, just that, foreign to us. There’s something to learn from seeing their culture. You just want to take it all in. And you just never know when you’re going to get back there.
Last night we were talking with a friend who is doing the program this summer that we did two summers back, studying international arbitration in London. I went having no idea what international arbitration even was before I went. I just wanted a summer in London with my fiancé. And then we traveled… all over Europe, just like this friend is planning.
And as we talked about how to navigate London, and where to visit, and what to see, I got jealous. I will be in a classroom, studying things I should had just learned for three years, and then going home and studying some more… She’ll be wandering around London looking up at
and taking silly pictures of these
and obviously trying to catch the train here
I always want to see a little bit more. It’s a constant pull towards irresponsibility. I don’t really understand how anyone can not want to go out and see the world. I’ve always loved going places, even places that weren’t foreign but were just special to a kid growing up in Wisconsin. But the day I came home in high school and announced to my parents that I, their sixteen year old daughter who had gone almost nowhere, wanted to go to Australia with a big group of kids… that changed everything. It gave me a taste of what was out there. It hooked me. It gave me a different idea of what I wanted my life to look like.
But since I can’t enjoy exploring far off lands this summer, I’m proposing a different adventure to my husband. That we see all the things we never see right here. The museums and the shows and the parks and the sights. Because if I left this city tomorrow, I could honestly say I barely knew it at all. Not half as well as I know cities I’ve only spent a few weeks in. It won’t be nearly as glamorous, but it will have to sustain me. For now.