Destination Unknown

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This post was originally published on Beacon Reader, an experiment in crowdsourced publishing that has subsequently ceased to exist. RIP Beacon Reader. 

As you may know, I’m traveling around the world right now. I lived in NYC for five years which, as any legit New Yorker will tell you, is like being in an abusive relationship with the coolest guy in the world. Even now, as I sit in my big French apartment in Toulouse, which I will leave in two days to head to my next apartment in Paris, I can’t help but think to myself that I miss “the grind.”

Remnants of that grind are what propels me in my current journey. New York was my boot camp, and it gave me the confidence to know that I can stretch my tentacles out and get what I need no matter where I am. So far, the results have been awesome.

I’ve been an official expat since July 22, 2013 when I took a 21-hour train ride from my hometown, Ann Arbor, Michigan, across the Canada border. When I tweeted the duration of my journey, my friend and e-doctor Peter pointed out that the trip only takes five hours by car. “Are you walking there?” he asked.

This was the moment I recalled a token of wisdom that Max, one of my loft-mates in downtown LA this past June, had given to me one night while cooking steaks. I was worrying out loud about how I was going to get from place to place by myself during my upcoming journey around the world, and he turned to me and said: “The journey is the destination.”

I had him repeat it a few times, rolling it around in my mind. He told me about Dan Eldon, the man who coined this phrase, and we flipped through his travel journal with wide-eyed wonder that night while we ate our steaks. I liked this concept. It meant that, while lying on a blanket in the grass outside the Buffalo AmTrak station reading Peter’s tweet during the seven-hour layover I overlooked while booking the cheapest ticket possible, I was content because I was already where I wanted to be: traveling.

I have recalled this nugget of reasoning frequently over the past three months, and it’s taken me to places not found in any tourist guide. I’ve been to the top of an Icelandic volcano, to middle-of-nowhere England in a town full of characters that may have inspired Alice and Wonderland or vice versa, and into the mountains of Catalan country where I worked on a farm. And I’m just getting started.

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