And now for the final reason behind my going to Guyana: see that world. Is this everyone’s ideal dream? To “see the world”! What does it mean? I know it can mean different things to everyone.
Some people want to literally “see” it. From a plane, from a cruise ship…laying eyes upon a portion of a piece of land that is owned by a government counts as “seeing” that country. Maybe I’ve tried to figure out layovers that stop in countries where I would need to change airlines and ensure a passport stamp for simply being in the airport, maybe I haven’t.
For others it means: climbing mountains, eating at every pizza place in Rome, walking the Great Wall, boating down a river towards the Amazon, climbing to the top of a Ruin, looking out over the Grand Canyon, seeing a baseball game in New York. This is the category I typically fall into. I want to see the world via touring the world! If Trip Advisor says something is worth seeing or doing, well, I’m going to see or do it. And this is so much fun! You get to actually be IN the picture that you envy other people being in! What’s also great about these kinds of trips are what falls between the hot spots planned by onliners for you. Walking past the random alleyway that has a mural covering a whole side, or going into a random coffee shop and finding that it has both the best croissants AND wine in your neck of the woods. Those things…they rock.
I went to Rome during my senior year of college for a ten-day “class”. We didn’t learn anything, just toured the city and the wrote a 5 page paper a month later. This was my first time out of the USA and I was so excited to be 1) going to ROME 2) be getting credit for a philosophy course that I otherwise wouldn’t have had 3) being in ROME with my best friend Heidi 4) feeling like an adventurous traveler 5) the amazing pictures I knew I would have by the end of the trip.
The ten-days were actually as amazing as I imagined. Rome is incredible: the history, architecture, European classiness and demeanor, the food. Seriously, that food though…
When I came back after the ten days, obviously I wished I could have stayed forever. Does anyone actually ever not think that? I loved the city, the crowds, the Italian language, the Italian culture (eating and eating and eating). I loved looking around and realizing I was a minority, as the dominance in Rome is dark hair and dark eyes, rather than blonde and blue. I loved hearing a crazy mashup of languages being spoken at any given time–there were so many people from so many places all surrounding me. This was extraordinary to me. So you can imagine how much of a downer it was to return to my college, where we were (practically) all white and middle class and speaking English and not constantly eating pasta and gelato.
Seeing this tiny glimpse of the world outside of the one I had known up until that point was enough to hook me in. I loved being surrounded by people who didn’t look, sound or (most likely) think like me. I was living my life with the viewpoint of me, and I discovered in Rome how many other people are living l lives with their own viewpoints. And this is really magical.
It was a pretty quick realization. I wanted to be surrounded by people who were different than me. I wanted to experience what a being a “minority” was like (soon I would find out that a blonde hair blue eyes white girl is never actually the minority). I wanted to see the world, but also LIVE the world! Pretty revolutionary of me, huh?
I wanted to live my life with people who were living their lives; but I wanted this to be done with people who I didn’t understand, who were seeing life from a different perspective than I was. I wanted to see humanity happen in a new context. I had seen it in the same context for 21 years! I wanted to see it beyond the borders of what I had already experienced. Was I going to stay in the same spot forever? There is an entire GLOBE of world out there. And there are people in almost all of those places! Why was I living so small when the world was so big?
And so I went to Guyana. I challenged myself, I left my support system behind and I went to see the world.