I’ve always known the world was bigger than the safety of the town I was born in. Whereas I grew up in a country one can cross in a mere two hours or so, I have always had the privilege of tagging along on my family’s journeys. The relativity of distance vaguely occurred to me when we soared through the desert for hours once, remaining in the same big bad country the United States is. Still, a day trip to Maastricht or Groningen seemed like the end of the world and living an hour away from my family seemed like a lifetime.
Now I’ve spent almost five full months in one of the biggest countries in the world, a new concept has dawned upon me: the connection between the relativity of time and distance. Never had I crossed a time zone driving a car myself, nor had I even dreamt of driving 14 hours through a terrible snow storm to spend Christmas in the Rocky Mountains. Birthday wishes started coming in way before midnight, moving with the clock as the sun rose in Asia, Europe and North-America. I started to wonder when exactly I should consider myself 21. My mind had become a time traveler the moment I stepped in that plane last summer.
The world has shrunk. Suddenly I have friends who live on what I used to call “The Other Side Of The World”. I can see their houses, towns and childhoods on Google Street View, I chat to them on Skype and Snapchat and I casually catch a plane to visit an amazing friend I met back in the Caribbean. If nothing, it has given me hope. I say goodbye to many of you now, and I’m counting down the days to see those again whom I said goodbye to in summer. However, I know that whoever it is I will be missing in the future, I will never again be far away from them.
The world has shrunk, and I can fit more of its wonderful souls in my heart than ever before. Be warned.
“You have brains in your head you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
– Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!