Several months ago, a friend asked to interview me about traveling. She was helping her friend create an app to inspire people to travel and they were asking people why they did or didn’t travel. It was the first time someone wanted to discuss in detail my motivations for traveling and it forced me to think about what I have eternal wanderlust. There are a wide number of reasons I love traveling: Escapism, adventure, and relaxation all play a role. However, the thing I love most is that traveling allows me to deepen and adjust my understanding of humanity and the world that I live in. There are billions of people in this world and each of us experience life differently. We each see the world through a range of filters based on our cultural, economic, and political experiences. By traveling, I expand that filter. Each place I visit allows me to meet people completely different from myself and learn more about humanity—what inspires us, what frustrates us, what gives us hope, what brings us despair. In the US, it’s easy to assume that the global south is simply impoverished and unsafe or, worse, that it’s a tourist’s playground. It’s equally easy to assume that other western countries are wealthy and secure. Those assumptions, however, are offensive oversimplifications. There’s a complexity to other cultures and countries that I only begin to appreciate each time I visit a new place. In the end, each place I visit contributes to my never-ending interest in understanding my species and finding my place in the world.
All of which is to say that I never set a goal of reaching all seven continents or even a certain number of countries. I assumed that my wanderlust and desire to understand the world would probably get me to all of the continents, but I never purposefully set a numerical goal. I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have set foot on all seven continents. It’s been an amazing journey, but it’s just beginning. I’m twenty-five years old and there’s so much of the world that I’ve yet to see or understand. I only hope that I continue to be lucky and can economically and logistically afford to continue my explorations.