The rhetoric surrounding travel is a remarkably self-assured one. We talk about travel in terms of grandiose goals, lists, and expectations. We convert travel into checks to be scribbled on torn papers rather than experiences, interactions, events and tests that dramatically shape the fabric of our person, our mold, our brain chemistry. We go about it systemically with imaginary templates. Books with faceless authors tell us what to see, how to see it, and when to see it. We are told what is worthwhile and what decidedly isn’t, as if our Earth is a connect-the-dots game and the space that surrounds each point is somehow negative space, a negligible, almost inconvenient aspect of exploring the world. It’s the phrase: “Don’t go there. There’s nothing there. Go here instead.”
I reject these words and replace them with my own: everything is everywhere.
This blog addresses travel as a holistic process, one that transcends the physical, one that attacks your psychological and intellectual faculties in every foreseeable way, one that is a powerful shaper of identity and sense of self.
With this, I hope to restore and emphasize the notion that travel isn’t seeing new places, but transforming the way you see the world just by going through it. I hope this instigates a departure from the flat rhetoric surrounding travel, and a kind of three-dimensionality results. It goes from, “I went to Zimbabwe. This is what I did,” to “I went to Zimbabwe. This is how it’s changed me and this is what I’ve learned and this is what I’ve been forced to reconsider.” I hope to frame travel as a phenomenon that persists long after the trip is over and the plane has landed because we carry these memories and lessons and mentalities within us. I hope that travel is regarded as the ultimate self-education and a way to better oneself (and indeed, better the world), not just a two-week vacation with closed eyes and escapism in mind; it has never been about producing fixed answers, but more about using questions, big and small, and an open heart and mind to chip away at the grand puzzle. Because that’s what it fundamentally does: foreign adventure either reinforces or instills compassion, empathy, open-mindedness, anti-materialism, gratitude, humility, and more thoughtful consideration and understanding of not only a deeply complex and beautiful world, but one’s place in it.
Ultimately, I intend for The Squeaky Robot to be a space that is equal parts catharsis and provocation, while showcasing humanity as dynamic and travel transformative.
And while I haven’t been to Zimbabwe, I can’t wait to learn something there.