I'm sure we have all been asked those questions or a slight variation at one point or another. Whether it was at a job interview, a conversation with a family member, or on an awkward first date, your passions in life have likely come up before. If you are like me, it probably took a while before you could come up with a concrete response. Some of my earlier responses would have been something like music, my family, reading, or education.
To be honest, I didn't really know what to say. Of course I love my family dearly, but that's not really a passion. Sure, music is a big part of my life and so is reading, but I really don't have any burning desire to win a Pulitzer or start writing songs.
It took me a long time to figure out that my passion was travel. Going somewhere new and learning about a culture evokes a lot of emotion in me. I love the thrill of stepping on board an airplane and settling into my seat, ready for the adventure to come. Travel makes me insanely curious. I don't remember studying other cultures very closely in school. It just wasn't taught.
I remember going to Europe by myself the first time and meeting people my age that had never been to America. This was crazy to me. It never occurred to me that someone traveling to Europe hadn't been to America. It just never crossed my mind. I also met people from South Africa and New Zealand. I had never met anyone from those countries before. The idea of traveling to those countries was so out there that it was almost as if those places did not really exist.
On my first trip to Thailand, I remember flying back alone and crying while looking out the window. I was crying because I wasn't done yet. I didn't feel like I had learned nearly enough about the country, or the culture, the food, the people, the language. I went to the beach, lounged by the pool, and by the time I was a little bit settled in, I had to fly home and return to my job. I needed immersion. More time. Nine months later I was living in Thailand.
While I'm back in America now, I hope to create an international career for myself. My Google search history is loaded with places I want to go. Things I want to see. Food I want to try. I wasn't like this before I started traveling seriously. I was content with where I was because I didn't know anything else. Love him or hate him (I'm a lover), this quote sums it up:
“Travel is not always pretty. It is not always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts. It even breaks your heart, and that is okay. The journey changes you. It should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”