Travel is...

Today I feel like rounding up some of my favorite travel moments.
To me, travel is...

the thrill of a new arrivals terminal

beat-up backpacks by brands like Quechua, Osprey, Deuter, Macpac, North Face

losing count of bug bites

cinnamon hot cocoa & roasted bananas around a beach fire

watching sea turtle hatchlings enter the surf for the first time

the momentary devastation of being at the wrong airport

hot showers as a luxury

the smell of incense and an echoing call to prayer as the sun sets

sleeping under mosquito nets

the free food bin of a hostel's kitchen

biking alongside Danish wind turbines and flowering mustard fields

seeing more stars than you've ever seen before

accidentally knocking scuttling crabs off a palm tree as you climb high enough to jump into a deep lagoon below

eating fruit right off the trees in Denmark's apple capital

ferry rides across sapphire seas

native Fijians shouting "Bula!"

roadtripping through emerald green Appalachians to Asheville, NC

throwing your bags in the back of a stranger's car after waiting with your thumb out

guanábana smoothies & jugo de tamarindo

holiday lights illuminating Duval Street in Key West, FL

street art that transcends language boundaries

hiking in the dry desert air of the Mojave

pikelets with butter and milky tea in Kiwi gold country

loud karaoke ricocheting off the walls of your termite-riddled beach shack

crumpled maps in the bottom of your bag

accumulating sun freckles after weeks in the sun

laying on the sand, watching a meteor shower with my second family in Emerald Isle, NC

thunder storms pelting a tin roof

sharing wine and songs with new friends

stumbling upon yet another WWII bunker on the Baltic coast

never tiring of the Central American breakfast staple of rice & beans every morning

the sound of a hot water kettle boiling

succulent plants & ferns that are taller than people

voting absentee & then trying to find a news channel reporting the outrageous election back home

jewelry that will forever remind you of the person and place you got it from

watching a nesting green sea turtle disappear into the waves as a shooting star streaks across the sky

hanging your clothes on a washing line during lulls in the daily rain

hoping for a decent English-language book at the hostel book exchange

being scammed by an overly friendly taxi driver

snorkeling above the technicolor of a coral reef

sewing new patches onto your backpack

biking the streets of Boston on a perfect New England summer day

picking wild apples on a quiet, distant Scandinavian island

sleeping in train stations and airports that are always cold

getting spooked by coyotes in your campground

trying not to knock someone over with your overstuffed pack on public transit

a surprise showing of the Northern Lights

being invited in for tea and cake by complete strangers

walking on a 14th century Chinese fortress surrounded by endless sunflower fields

unforgettable food that you can't recreate at home (no matter how hard you try)

being taught basic words in Swedish by a polyglot toddler

crowds of soccer fans chanting the win of their home team as they swarm downtown San Jose

spending holidays abroad sharing traditions, stories, and food with newfound friends

actually being in awe of incredible architecture

finding your own personal waterfall in a thermal spring

miscommunication due to mangled words and heavy accents

hiking high above turquoise Norwegian fjords

seeing a familiar face in a foreign location

the chaos of Chinese traffic: mopeds, cars, old women with fruit, dogs, and cyclists all in one place

late night conversations starting with a new friend asking "What book changed your life?"

stunning mountain vistas around every bend of the road on New Zealand's South Island

sand that gets everywhere

iguanas that jump down from the mangroves in the canals of the Florida Keys

having Chinese tourists surreptitiously take pictures of you, the only Westerner around

a nearby natural disaster worrying family and friends back home

seeing a seal pop up in harbor water

a dusty, open window bus ride in the tropics

learning about international battles you've never even heard of

being told "f--- you!" by smiling Chinese strangers because it's one of the only English phrases they know

getting a room in exchange for physical labor

meeting people with incredible stories

locals laughing at your poor Spanish pronunciation

stalls upon stalls of the same souvenirs for the same price

feeling relief when hearing English again for the first time

the incredible heat of volcanic sand in the midday sun

being woken up every two hours by polite Icelandic airport workers saying "You can't sleep here."

the exciting arrival of a package from home

drinking mulled wine at a fairy-tale castle in Bavaria

incredible mountain vistas as seen from 20,000 feet

waking up from a bus nap to see copper city lights dotting the Adriatic coast at night

beignets and sno-balls on humid New Orleans evenings

thinking "oh no, another church" in europe

hearing about the next best place to go from other travelers in your hostel lounge

finding a handmade souvenir that you love

struggling with foreign currency withdrawal at the only ATM around

everyone, upon finding out that you're American, asking about Donald Trump

showing up to a new city with no plans late at night

the taste of fermented tofu

walking along ancient stone streets 

joining a crowd watching lights projected on the Brandenburg Gate

mushroom hunting in Norwegian woods

white water rafting in the New River Gorge of West Virginia

falling in love with Slovakian sheep's cheese

that one guy who always snores like a freight train in the dorm

swimming through mineral-clouded hot springs

befriending the local sheep

scribbling away in your journal until your hand hurts, trying to capture every detail of the day

lighthouse-spotting in coastal Maine

worrying about your camera's exposure to cold rain

"sorry, we are closed for the off season."

something you are very lucky to be able to experience