Sel and I just arrived home from a journey that saw us traverse the vast landscape of the United States for almost two months. Culturally, it wasn’t the smack in the face that we received multiple times in Burma several years ago, but in the way that traveling always does, it opened my eyes to something that contradicted the seemingly long plane trip to get over there.
The world is so much smaller than it appears.
This may be hard for my American readers to comprehend, but in my mind, cities like New York and Los Angeles were fantastical wonderlands that existed in a world far, far, far away. Where the rich and famous played, and where the finest musicians and the most gifted of athletes showed off their envious talents. A world seemingly out of my reach. Almost incomprehensible! Urban landscapes that provided me with the backdrop for classic movies, cool television shows, and famous songs.
After stepping foot on the hallowed sidewalks of New York and Hollywood, and staring wide-eyed at the famous landmarks around me, I realised my view had shifted. Flying across the globe has a way of changing your perspective and allowing your imagination to gently return to the ground.
New York is an incredible city bursting with life. The rich, athletic, famous and musical were all there, exactly as I imagined. But what hadn’t entered my imagination was the vast amount of very ordinary people, who go about their daily chores in the exact same way I do at home. They buy groceries, they pay bills, and they get caught in traffic. Just like me. They aren’t supremely gifted, rich, or famous. New York is just another city. So is Los Angeles. So are New Orleans, Miami, and San Francisco. These cities definitely have their own unique charm, but for the most part they are full of ordinary people just like me. But despite cramping my legs in several plane cabins across a timeframe that almost extended to 24 hours, I realised New York and Los Angeles weren’t really that far away. Nowhere in this world is ever that far away or that far out of reach.
And while it may be a sobering thought that these wonderlands are more like home than I wanted to believe, I’ve chosen to adopt a positive perspective from our adventure; home is a place I love coming back to after a long journey. Those far away cities were absolutely fantastic, and we’ll definitely visit again, but I’ve realised I’m not missing out by being down here in Australia. Sometimes it feels like Australia is too far from the rest of the world. Like the little brother shunted to the end of the dinner table to sit with the other children, away from the important adults.
The point is, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. No matter how amazing the destination is, traveling always makes me appreciate home and makes me grateful for what I have. It’s all about perspective.