“I love traveling” is such a misused statement. I notice that often what people really mean is they like a place with a beach or they want to visit typical well known vacation spots – like the Caribbean. Or they don’t want to go anywhere if it’s cold. Or they do some ten city trip in two weeks or less. Or they travel because they think it makes them sound philosophical in conversation. None of these is what traveling should be about. Traveling is a privilege. It is a chance to stunt ignorance and evolve.

When I say I want to travel the world I mean I want to go to Paris in the winter when there are little to no tourists so I can sense what the city is really like because the winter quiet is just as beautiful as the summer noise. I mean I want to go to all the gritty places in the world like Venezuela despite the fact that they do their local food shopping in prisons and the children of the Piaroa tribe roast goliath spiders like marshmallows until the air escapes from their knees because you can’t be a picky eater in the jungle. I mean I want to swim with jelly fish that don’t sting in the lakes of Palau. I want to climb the mountains of Machu Picchu. As a matter of fact if there is a mountain nearby I want to be on top of it. I want to watch the burnt orange sunset while camping in Morocco. I want to go through the Wisteria Tunnel in Japan, the Tunnel of Love in the Ukraine, Halong Bay and Pongua falls in Vietnam. Then maybe set my feet on the cliffs of Ireland. I want to visit Norway, Namibia, Montenegro, Cambodia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Jordan, Madagascar, the stone forest in China and Lake Retba in Senegal.

Before I continue let me explain why these places interest me. It is because I firmly believe that if you travel well – the right way- it is the best form of self- education. That visiting Egypt will teach me about the history of the world. And India. I want to get lost in your vivid southern temples, feel alive during your dazzling elephant festivals, and weave on a traditional loom. When I travel I want to meet happiness and harmony. Therefore take me to Tibet where I can meet a nation in exile whose leader taught them that retaliation by violence is weaker than retaliation by peace. Take me to Indonesia. Take me to Croatia. Take me to the Dead Sea. Take me anywhere because I have the curiosity to experience the world, not travel it.

-Tatiana Ristev