North

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Heading into Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany, 2011

Security of character would be like a compass, you know? Other people may say that this way is north, or this way might be north. But the compass just says north. That’s what we count on. And I think writers have to count on something in themselves, that means if they’re not going to do it when they’re writing, then who is? They’ve got to make the decisions.
– William Stafford

This blog was a long time coming. I wish I had known I could track my journeys online when I originally left to study abroad back in January 2005. I have a comprehensive account of my trips from piecing together emails to friends and family, entries in the diary I kept for those six months abroad (a practice I have continued for all my major trips since then as well), pictures upon pictures and even handwritten postcards and letters I sent home. I don’t know if it was truly a missed opportunity, though, for the same reason it took me so long to actually create this blog; does anyone really care about my experiences?

I love visiting travel websites, looking for new ways to host photos of places I’ve been, keep track of places I’ve visited, make plans for future adventures, and learn about what others have experienced on their own journeys. There are an infinite number of travel resources online–personal and professional–and the thought of contributing to the wealth of information already available was daunting. What unique perspective could I possibly offer? 

I really didn’t want was to create ‘just another travel blog.’ I thought long and hard about how to differentiate, how to really incorporate my personal flavor when recounting my adventures. 

My final decision to start this blog, after almost a year of thought, really rested on my initial compulsion to write. Obviously someone, somewhere out there cares to hear about other people’s travels. Hence the armchair traveler and all the best-selling books and high-functioning blogs. My interest in travel began on the pages of books and morphed into my own experiences. Those accounts, documented by others, have and continue to inspire me to learn more about the world. But are my own accounts all that inspiring?

At some point in my pondering, I came to the realization that while many people document the places they visit, cultures they experience and people they meet, those recordings are still only one more single outlook on the world. It’s the accumulation of all these tales and experiences that really start to paint a picture of this incredible world we live in, and the more contributors, the more colorful the picture will be.

And so I write on the off-chance that the experiences had by everyone else will not be the same for me, and that my accounts will serve as one more accurate, personal part of the story. And that maybe, occasionally, they will be inspiring,

Travelers will never stop recording their experiences and people will never stop consuming those materials. There will always be just one more book, just one more story, just one more blog.

This is just another travel blog. It is just one more outlook on the world.

And it is mine.

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