Our generation has romanticized and idolized the idea of travel more than anyone before them, and between the countless travel blogs, curated instagram feeds, and glossy vacation magazines we see daily, it feels impossible to find contentment while staying in one location. But traveling is not the key to finding joy or filling our souls.
The invention of the internet forever ruined the contentment of the adventure-seeking soul. Since I first logged into Facebook as a middle schooler, I’ve drooled over pictures of people sitting on cars hoods at the rim of the Grand Canyon or throwing their hands in the air in front of a volcano, dreamed of places with names like Machu-Pichu and Lithuania (that I couldn’t have dreamed of being able to place on a map, of course) and insisted the old globe in the storage closet be pulled out and placed in my room. I had Pinterest boards filled with pictures of mountain ranges with quotes like “Jobs Fill Your Pocket, But Adventures Fill Your Soul” pasted over them. I was a world traveler who just lacked opportunity, I was certain.
So when I had been in college for a few years and began to hear talk of the study abroad program at my school, I was in. That was all the convincing it took. I stood in line at the post office and ordered my passport, and when it came in the mail I made my roommate chase me around my city with a camera to capture the perfect Instagram picture and share my good news with my friends: “I’m going overseas. I finally get to travel the world.”
Two airplane meals and one accidentally stolen airline blanket later (sorry, Aer Lingus!), I’ve been spending my summer taking classes and wandering through foreign countrysides and cities. And while it has been an amazing experience and I am learning so much, I am also here to testify that, contrary to what my Pinterest board would tell you, “adventure” does not “fill your soul”.