I often feel as though travel transports me back to toddlerhood. I must learn how to read, speak, and navigate an unfamiliar world. Sometimes I think it is a miracle that I venture out of my front door on Wood Street, yet alone, our hotel in San Salvador. People often ascribe me such bravery but alas, sometimes navigating simple transactions like answering the phone or hailing a taxi, leaves me shuddering in the the shadows of my shyness. That shyness is exponentially magnified when I travel, especially when I travel in a place where I don’t speak the language.
Travel also affords a new lens on ourselves-so many opportunities to observe how I/we negotiate the ordinary transactions of new places. For me, these past two days, I see how I use visual cues to make my way. I watch how others do things. I read signs. I look at maps. I google. I watch. I wait. I make tentative forays. I watch some more.
I am so grateful for my deeply felt/held curiosity which provides the impetus/the call/the bravery/the courage to push through rather than cower. The temptation to stay put, to stay where comfortable, to stay where I know how to do is very strong;fortunately, the curiosity is far more powerful. It invites me out, it coaxes me, and it cajoles me while I gather the wherewithal to do what others think I do so easily.
So travel is work for me. Serious work. Serious work coupled with joyous exploration and deep seeing. Seeing myself and points of struggle, seeing other ways of being and seeing, seeing new, seeing old. Seeing beyond and within. Nurturing that innate, deeply dwelling curiosity that wants to learn, experience, and share while at the same time, being compassionate with my “wiring.” Wiring being code for being shy, being sensitive to crowds, chaos, and cacophony, being excited about knowing what is around the next corner, and being willing to push myself again, and again.
And so I go…out again.