"The traveler sees what he sees -- the tourist sees what he has come to see."--G.K. Chesterton
When I was in middle school, I believed that what defined us was our ability to capture the "American dream," how many kids we would have, how big our house was, and how fat our wallet would become. I used to think that to be happy we had to be the lead dancer on Broadway, the Academy Award winner at the Oscars, the multi-platinum album selling artist, or the Hall of Fame athlete. I was trapped into believing that becoming the first female major league baseball player would fill all my needs and make me happy. I believed that the only thing that was fair in life was what happened between the white lines on a field hockey or softball field.
I had a path, and I believed that if I left that path--I would get eaten by some big bad plump wolf in some cottage hidden in the woods.
I lived in a bubble.
.[Insert photo shopped picture of Libby in a bubble].
Clearly, my mindset has changed quite a bit, as I have learned to put my wallet on a diet, live more simply in another country, and take in extremely gratifying moments of silence and aloneness. In fact, I think my "Libby Time" --time spent with self-- has been at an all time high in the past two weeks--but that all time high is about to be surpassed as I take off today for a tour of the north and a detour into Munich...as I take off to SEE the world...as I take off to be surprised by the world.
Today, I venture off to meet new people, to see new things, and to indulge in the many pleasant novelties of the cultures that I have not yet thrown myself into. Someone said to me yesterday, "So now you are a tourist," and I said to them, "No...Now I am a traveler."
And here is the difference.
When you travel: there is no plan. You go. You watch. You see. You smile. You laugh. You talk. You watch. You eat. You sleep. You watch. You dream. You imagine. You take a a hint from little red riding hood and you leave the path--and you discover that there's not always a wolf living at the other side of the forest waiting to eat you... Instead, when you travel: You live.