a student of the earth

 
You will never be able to experience everything. So, please, do poetical justice to your soul and simply experience yourself.
— Albert Camus
 

We are here to learn. We are here to imagine and plan and do. We’re better when we’re happy, excited, and enthusiastic about things. We’re better when we’re not so cynical about everything.

For much of my life I have concerned myself with what I deemed “higher quality.” You know how it goes - Starbucks is basic, being a tourist is uncool, listening to bubblegum pop is shallow. And in some ways, I agree. or at least I have a natural leaning toward those opinions. I used to scoff at people who read Twilight, or Fifty Shades of Grey (although this one is still hard for me to accept). I still think Times Square is the least New York thing about New York, but I won’t tell you not to walk through it at midnight. And if the only thing you saw of Iceland was the blue lagoon it’d be a shame, but I would never tell you to skip it.

I used to think if it doesn’t make you feel something then it’s worthless. But I forgot that happy is a feeling, and laughter is a feeling, and being free is a feeling. And you can only be free when you’re not worrying about what the people around you think of you.

Just as much as we need heartbreaking art, we need pure entertainment. We need to dance around our living room to dumb pop songs and feel light just as much as we need to cry to beautiful songs. We need to see those tourist attractions just as much as we need to live like a local.

I think there’s a reason tourist attractions become attractions. It’s because they’re worth seeing. To be clear, there is a difference between a tourist attraction and a tourist trap. And I still believe you should avoid tourist traps at all costs. But the Eiffel Tower is magnificent, and you shouldn’t be so afraid of being uncool that you miss out on something beautiful.

I don’t think life is an either/or scenario. I think it’s a both/and. We are here to soak up everything. Everything.

I’ve spent the last several years unlearning superiority. One person is not better than another, and one thing is not better than another. Each serves its own purpose. And as a human being living on this earth, we should open our minds and experience what it has to give us. Give yourself over to whimsy. Give yourself over to enthusiasm. It’s not about being cool and denying the thing that everyone else is doing (even though I feel this to my core). It’s about opening your eyes! Be a fangirl of life. Listen to everything, see everything, go everywhere, do as much as you can in the little time you have here. That’s all it’s really about. Don’t worry yourself with cool and uncool - just do it all and experience something. Experience as much as you can. I promise you’ll find pieces of yourself everywhere you go.

We are students of the earth. Sometimes that means you’ll learn something about this world and yourself while standing in line to see Niagara Falls, and sometimes you’ll learn something because you wandered around a town nobody has written about. They’re both important.

Be a local. Be a tourist. Be a student of the earth.