August 16th, 2015 | PST
It’s been far too long, and the article I was supposed to have written has escaped me. Some date — I don’t know which — is replaced by today’s. It occurs to me that this is the end of my journey “from sea to shining sea,” and yet it doesn’t feel complete. I’m slightly concerned that this is how one always feels after traveling. Maybe the emptiness that accompanies habitation in a singular locale is something that one only gets accustomed to, never fond of.
I don’t really know, but I won’t go through life wondering. This trip was in many ways my first real trip, and it was a good one. We went through more than 20 states, drove more than 4,000 miles, and stayed in many of our country’s largest cities. We hiked atop sheer cliff faces and down nearly vertical canyon walls. We ate in the same restaurant that my parents did 20 years ago, before I was even born, saw their old house, and even visited the hospital my dad was born in. Along the way, we met new friends from Nashville, Iran, New York, Australia, and New Orleans, and visited old ones in New York and Boston.
There was an incomprehensible amount of experiences crammed into 3 short weeks, and that’s what makes traveling so precious. Your life literally transcends time — or it appears to. The same thing that mystifies me terrifies me just as much because I know I could spend my life doing this; in fact, it’s likely that I will spend my life doing this, but as with anything that I spend my life doing, the opportunity costs involved with such an endeavor are astronomical. Imagine if I had spent those 3 weeks with friends or learning how to draw. Time is precious, and what you take away from traveling is not concrete.
In fact, I don’t even know if the benefits are able to be articulated. It’s just a feeling — shout out to Maroon 5. But it’s hard to justify spending my time — a lot of it — doing something that doesn’t really have a tangible benefit to myself or others. Maybe this blog is it? I’m not really sure, but I intend to find out. I will travel until I can articulate what travel gives to people. I will not be satisfied, locked into the repressive confines of my locale, until travel makes sense. Hopefully it never does, and I’m forced to do it until death.
Originally published on from sea to shining sea by Aaron Yih on Medium.com. For more travel blog posts, go to travel section of my blog. Find more up to date info on my Instagram and video-based content on my Youtube.