Monday, March 2, 2009

Inexperienced; Or, Why I Want To See It All

I will be the first to admit that my life experience is not at all what it should be. Idealistic as it may be, I want to experience everything in life. I want to go out and see the world, and everything in it. I don't really know why; I can't explain it. I just want to see and do everything, big and small. I want to go climb mountains, and swim in all the oceans, and walk through a tropical rainforest. I want to stand at the Athenian acropolis and look up at the Parthenon. I want to touch a real Egyptian pyramid. I want to visit the Louvre, and walk through Venice, and ski in the Alps. I want to walk on the Great Wall. I want to see wildlife in Madagascar, and drive through the Australian outback, and see the sights in New Zealand. I want to see the cities, and the museums, and the monuments, and the artwork. I want to experienced nature in its most free and beautiful state. I want to meet the people, and eat the food, and hear the music, and feel the rhythm and motion of someplace new.

I want to see all the beauty the world has to offer, and I want to do the things I've always been too scared to.

It has dawned on me recently exactly how little I have experienced in life. I've really travelled, seen, and done very little. I have left the country once, and it was on a cruise to Canada. My passport, which was obtained specifically for that trip, sits otherwise untouched. I look around at people I know and realize that I have not seen or done half of the things many of them have. And it's not as much a jealousy I feel when I realize this as it is simply disappointment at my own inexperience. In a world where there is so much to see and to know and to do, I sit here on my couch wondering what it would be like just to even see the Pacific Ocean for myself. And I guess when I say I want to see the world, it brings to mind thoughts of grand trips and big goals, but the things I want to experience in life range from the grand to the seemingly insignificant. I have never bungee jumped, or gone scuba diving, or hiked to the top of a mountain, or seen a volcano, but I'd like to. I have never watched a meteor shower, or been in a helicopter, or watched an eclipse, or caught a fish, but I'd like to. I'd like to go on a really, really big roller coaster, and scream my head off the whole way down. I'd like to build a sandcastle on a beach in the Caribbean. I want to play poker in Vegas. I want to try absinthe. I don't want to look back and my life and feel like I wasted it by not trying as many things as I got the opportunity to try.

It kills me that I spend my days in a classroom, looking at photographs of works of art, and ancient buildings, and mountains, and cities that are all out there for me to see for real. I remember last spring, as I studied for my Archaeology final, I joked about how frustrating it was to be sitting there staring at a photo of the Parthenon in an art history textbook when a friend of mine was visiting it, and actually seeing it.

And maybe what I'm looking for is a little perspective. Maybe I feel like if I could see and do all these things I would be able to look at my life and myself differently and be a better person for it. Maybe I feel like I could finally understand how small I really am and how nothing I worry about actually matters in the grand scheme of things.

I wonder if we all get to a point that we realize that sitting on our couch watching it on TV, or in a classroom looking at a book, or on our computers reading about it isn't enough. I know that the whole world isn't beautiful. For every beautiful place in our world, there is someplace else that is tragic. But it's all there. What good is the whole world if you never get to see it?


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