My favorite travel experience.
What does that even mean?
Traveling is something you do, in which the situations change and absolutely everything is different from the last time, but the 'travel' is the same. Every experience is so vastly different from the last, but we still wrap it up in the bundle of 'travel'. My favorite traveling experience isn't one place, it is something that happens to you when you are traveling. It is the feeling of satisfied curiosity. It is the feeling of wondering your whole life, 'what is out there?' and then finally getting an answer to that question.
My richest memories of travel are walking through the marketplace in Varanasi for the first time, the colors and smells and sounds are an explosion of being that is too complex to describe. I remember arguing in broken Spanish with a flirty Spanish boy about how American food is amazing and he just hasn't had the right kind of sandwich. I remember the feeling of absolute silence in the redwood forests of my home town, it felt obtrusive for me to even breathe. And the unparalleled beauty of the white sandy beaches in Thailand, you feel like you are in a post card but you can actually touch the turquoise water.
A favorite experience of mine is the click in your brain when you find your travel groove. When you know exactly where you are and where you want to go, and you feel comfortable in a place you have never been before. When haggling over the cost of something makes you feel sure and secure instead of confused and uncomfortable. When the unfamiliar cobble stones of Nicaragua, remind you of the unfamiliar cobble stones in London, and you realize how far away and how close we all are at the same time.
And the food! Let me not forget the food. When you live in the United States, you are used to seeing lots of different types of food. But the first time you have Tamil Nadu Thali on the streets of India makes you rethink flavor. And when the only Jambalaya you've had is from a cafeteria, and you finally try some at an expensive restaurant in Spain, you don't really know how to feel about sea food anymore. And when you drink your first tiny cup of chai in the marketplace of Dharamsala, you start to rethink excess and how much you really need to enjoy something.
So, what is my favorite travel experience? I'm looking forward to the next one every day!