I took my first red eye from San Francisco this morning; my head is bobbing as I write. I had the most amazing time there and because my friend Sid runs an AirBnB, I was able to spend time with really interesting people. Truth be told, I met Sid two years ago when I happened to stay at his AirBnB, we have since become friends and I am convinced that he is the most welcoming host alive.
Last weekend, a girl named Clover from Beijing was staying with Sid too. I found her to be inspiring. She is passionate about writing and her goal each day is, to sum up what she remembers from the day before in only three sentences. Three sentences are easily obtainable because it’s not too much that you procrastinate the task. It is a great experiment and since my mode of thought is drawing, I would like to implement something similar for my sketchbook. As it happens, she works for AirBnB and was in town for their national conference. We talked for a while about traveling and how she likes working for Airbnb. These conversations really provoked some thought. Clover had listened to a speaker describe how stressful travel can be, managing your workload the few days before, packing and securing accommodations. Once they arrive in said city, they might have many things that they want to accomplish and not everything always goes as planned. People can return home feeling that they need a vacation from their vacation! I suppose that I never thought about what traveling means to other people.
My travel goals have changed over the years. For example, I used to think that because I am an artist that I needed to stop at every art museum in the city. I might still quickly walk through on a rainy day or if the right time presents itself but my goals today revolve around socializing. I actually prefer staying in hostels or an AirBnB that has a shared living space to a hotel room. It would seem obvious that someone like myself would have realized that sooner, meeting friends has always been a priority for me! I still experience culture; like Clover explained, “…it is learning about the culture that is alive today ”! I prefer to go with the flow and take everything in – it is amazing the connections you make with people that you think are so different from yourself. It is much more enjoyable for me to hang out with someone from the city – listen to their music and eat the food they recommend. This makes it possible to have an emotional attachment to that city, how people and the new environment make me feel. I will remember those experiences far longer than I will remember the two days I spent walking through the Louvre.
San Francisco is young and embraces change; it is an exciting place to be! I am having trouble concentrating this week, and I know that I need to put a plan into action soon. We tend to get caught up with our day-to-day, but travel can be a glimpse into what the rest of the world is accomplishing. It is difficult to put yourself into vulnerable situations, but I’ve learned that I am a lot more aware of my surroundings when I am just a little uncomfortable. It is a good reminder to try new things, and you just never know when I might collaborate with Clover or any of the other kick-ass people I’ve met along the way.