Travel changes you. It digs into your mind and converts your eyes from the inside. It grows your vision, develops your heart and your soul. The world has a tendency of cradling you, of nursing you into a new form. It rocks you back and forth, experience after experience like an innocent child, and you come out new. You come out wiser, and transformed, more ‘you’ than you had ever been before.
But travel also changes home. You weren’t born in the places you visited, but you were reborn in each one. Your feet will never feel truly still or at ease in any boundary, for your roots are foreign, they are universal. When you think about home you can no longer smell your mothers cooking. Now the Atlantic creeps into your nostrils like a playful memory. When you think about home, you no longer think of a suburban townhouse or an urban duplex. Now you think about the car you lived in along the West Coast, the roads you made your domestic oasis, the beaches you turned into bedrooms.
Travel changes vision. You see things differently, as if everything you had experienced before was a foggy apparition of what it truly was. Before you leave all you can remember is the warmth in your mothers eyes, the strength and the beauty she tucks behind her ear like a blossoming flower, but travel changes that. You have to leave to cleanse your eyes, to see that your mother is tired, that she unraveled herself to knit you together. You have to leave to come back and notice all of the things familiarity sheltered you from, all of the laugh lines you never noticed, all of the freckles you never picked up on. Travel gives you a different kind of twenty-twenty vision, a clarity that comes from rediscovering even the most acquainted parts of your life.
Travel changes love. Before you left you thought you knew what you wanted, because you thought you knew yourself. You thought you needed a savior, you thought you needed to fill the spaces of the world with warm bodies and beating hearts, but travel proved to you that the world itself could hold your hand. That you could feel love at the top of a mountain, that you could feel grace in the middle of a quiet ocean. Travel changed your heart, and now its contours look like the frayed edges of a map you once used. Its beating sounds like the crashing of the waves against the shorelines you woke up beside. Its surface looks like the Grand Canyon, the Alps, the top of the Redwoods, the back of a tattered boarding pass you hungrily press between your palms right before you take off.