I went to Zurich a few weeks ago to visit my Swiss friends from Tennessee. After a long week of traveling through Norway and running the marathon, I wasn’t particularly going to Switzerland for the sights (although, they were wonderful), I was going for a taste of home. Living abroad, it’s always nice to meet up with friends who understand where you come from. People who get the deep regret of binging a late night sack of Krystal’s after a long night at cool Beans on the strip. People who miss the things about America you only notice once you leave- like the ridiculously friendly culture, the feeling of blasting music with the windows down in the car, or dipping sauces.
Three Canadian girls were also visiting my wonderful friend Ladina in Zurich. These girls were backpacking for four months, and I found myself envious of their adventures. They were headed to Interlaken from Zurich. I want to go to Interlaken, I thought to myself. How come I never go anywhere cool? I will now admit to the absurdity of these thoughts, and to the fact that the need to travel while your already traveling (really while already traveling- I had traveled to Italy, then I traveled to Zurich, now I want to go to Interlaken?) could seem a bit selfish.
I don’t know where I’m going with all of this. But I pondered the idea further when we dressed in crazy clothes and went to a Latino festival in Zurich. Mambo-ing in the street, I realized that I went to Switzerland to feel like I was in Tennessee, but then ended up at a Latino festival feeling like I was in South America. And then during the festival, I ended up at a Greek Bar owned solely by Greek men taking free shots of ouzo. So then I just felt like I was in Greece!
What’s the point of all this travel anyways? If when I go somewhere, I just feel like I’m somewhere else. Last year around this same time, I flew from Nashville to Europe. On my first night, I found myself sitting at a bar called “Mississippi” in the small German city of Bochum. I walk up to a bathroom filled with rebel flags and southern trinkets. I couldn’t help but laugh. We flew all the way across the Atlantic to end up in Mississippi? But the truth was, I loved this Mississippi! And dancing around Bochum taking swigs of L.I.T’s, I didn’t really care where I was, it was just about the experience. So here’s what I’ve learned- It doesn’t always matter where you go, it’s just about what happens once you get there. I don’t care if I’m dancing around a bar in Germany called Mississippi or I’m actually in Mississippi, I just want experiences, and those my friends, can be found everywhere.