Homeward Un-Bound: Leaving for Panama

August 29, 2011
activities, panama, study abroad
Leaving for Panama

So I leave tomorrow for another country…again.

For the record, I don’t have a “30 countries by 30 years old” goal or an itch to find some deeper life meaning by traveling the globe. No. Instead, I have come to realize that I am, for lack of a better definition, a nomad. Nomadess—that sounds better.

I was born in Chicago, raised in Atlanta, and chose to go to college in Pittsburgh. Regrettably, I don’t call either of these three places home. I don’t call any place home. As a matter of fact, I can’t call any place home. I haven’t been anywhere that feels like it…yet.

Now I know I just stated that I don’t have an itch to find some deeper life meaning, so before the hypocrisy accusations begin, let me clarify that I am not on a profound mission to find a beloved “home” by traveling as I do. I have already come to terms with the possibility that maybe I’ll never have a home. And before the violins begin, I also want to clarify that I’m okay with that possibility.

I travel as a human being, not as an American tourist, a spring break destination junkie, or a Baptist missionary. Robert Louis Stevenson and I have this in common: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”

In that regard, I’m traveling to Panama tomorrow as a student, as a writer, as a “casi con fluidez” Spanish speaker, as a fashion addict, as a lover of all things blush pink—as myself. I don’t have a sightsee list, a travel itinerary, or an agenda (other than the one I’ll be using to mark when assignments are due and when exams will be given).  And I especially don’t have a plan. I just plan to be myself for another three and a half months while in a foreign place that will, if it tries hard enough, be accepted as a “home” for me of some sort.

There’s an immense difference to me between a traveler and a tourist. I read somewhere once that a traveler sees what he/she sees, and a tourist sees what he/she has come to see. Whoever wrote that was genius, and whoever is unsure of its meaning…is either on a traveling sports team or most likely falls in the tourist category. I can find monuments, museums, and displays of architecture at its finest anywhere I go. I can find traffic, rude people, bright city lights, and visible starlit skies above and below the equator. And honestly, I can find a little piece of home on every city, town, and country in which I’ve placed my size 8.5 global footprint, (which reminds me that Costa Rica will have a place in my heart forever).

In closing…If you ask me where I’m from, I’ll tell you a lot of places. And if you ask me where I’m going, I’ll tell you the same.

 

Homeward Un-Bound: Leaving for Panama

About Sierra Leone Starks

Sierra Leone StarksSierra Leone Starks is a multimedia journalist, fashion blogger, and social media junkie. Her work can be found on the print and web pages of some pretty fabulous women’s and lifestyle magazines and her footprints have graced numerous states and landed in several Latin American countries. Following her last extended stay abroad, she now lives by the motto, “If I made it through Panama, I can make it through anything.”

One thought on “Homeward Un-Bound: Leaving for Panama

  1. Avatar
    SolomonJetert
    September 6, 2011
    Reply

    I like now wheres the next one lol!

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