a travel epiphany moment
I had an epiphany moment on my flight back from Ilhéus, Bahia to Rio.
I had finished the book I had with me “Desde Cuba Con Cariño” by Cuban blogger Yoaní Sanchez, and so lacked reading material. Flipping through pages of the GOL airline magazine I came across one of those celebrity profiles: astrological sign, favorite book, what other career would have followed, what plays on their iPod, what sport they play, marital status, favorite movie, a remarkable trip.
That’s my favorite one – what trip was a significant one.
I’m always in doubt when having to reply to that question, and it’s often that I end up on the spotlight when the subject appears in a conversation. I’ve been asked where to spend a honeymoon, what I country I would go back to, which country I liked best, where I would like to live (as if I didn’t ask myself this question often enough), What city? What country? Where? When? Why?
I don’t know. Truth is I have no idea. I liked all places I´ve been to. There’s always something good, appetizing, striking, delightful, cheap, unique… I´ve had culture shocks, plenty of them, and still do.
When I lived in Miami I missed Washington DC´s public transportation system. When I arrived in Valencia (Spain), I missed American pharmacies and supermarkets (CVS, Whole Foods, Target, Walmart). I looked for thank you cards and resume paper and couldn’t find them. I also missed Staples. I later realized they weren’t that important after all. I started enjoying and actually seeing a bit of charm in buying fruit at the fruit shop, bread at the bakery and fish at the fish store. None of that one-stop-shop life. When I arrived in Larnaca (Cyprus), I missed Valencia’s bus lines and America’s efficient customer service. When I arrived in Rio, at first, I didn’t miss anything. But every now and then I do. A little bit.
Where would I go back to? Everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The planet is huge, life is short. I only have 30 vacation days total. There are 192 countries (recognized by the UN). And my curiosity is infinite and insatiable.
How to define the best trip? What are the parameters and standards?
The destination? The exoticism?
While traveling alone in Asia for thirty days I remembered the phrase from the movie Into the Wild: “Happiness is only real when shared”.
Is it defined by company then?
What about the mishaps? Getting sick on the road, having to pay a fine on the subway, an overpriced cab ride, the feeling of being in the wrong neighborhood… Do they make a trip less pleasant? And thus fall in the travel rank?
It’s always hard for me to categorize and rank my trips, not because of quantity, but because I always see beauty and richness wherever I go.
So then which is the best trip after all? That was my epiphany moment.
The best trip is the last one I went on.