“Why do you go away?
So that you can come back.
So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors.
And the people there see you differently, too.
Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
– Terry Pratchett
We have been asking people, “What do you want to do before you die?” for eight years. Among the common response we hear is, “I want to travel.”
Recently, one particular answer to that question got our attention. It was from a girl named Brianna in Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico. She’s eighteen, lives at home, and had never, as of the time she wrote to us, travelled far from Isleta Pueblo. Her dream in life was to see the work of the Italian masters, in Italy. She had learned about their work at school, and through her father, who enjoys painting. She was passionate in her conviction. One day, she told us, she would see their work in person.
With the help of Contiki, a travel company that we recently partnered with (who specializes in travel for young people, eighteen to thirty-five), we decided to surprise Brianna while she was at school and offer her the chance to see Europe. With the help of her friends and family we organized a plan to get her a passport (she’d never had one) and then, while she was in class, surprised her with the offer. She could hardly believe it. “Yup!” she said. We raced to the passport office and got her sorted. Then, as her dad started to realize what was about to happen, she bid adieu to her family and came with us on the plane. Her adventure was about to begin.
I think the video does a better job of telling the story than I will but I do want to say that being on this trip reminded me of two things. First, there is no substitute for travel. Whether it’s hopping in your car and driving to the outskirts of town or saving up to make the big voyage east (or west.. or north or south), there is nothing else like travel to widen your eyes and remind you that:
“Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” via Terry Pratchett @bennemtin
(Click to Tweet!)
Second, I am very lucky. Being with Brianna reminded me of how fortunate I have been to do The Buried Life for the last eight years. Feeling the awe and respect she had for each new marvel that we encountered reminded me of why I do this project: to feel. She made me feel like I was seeing these things for the first time too.
Ben Nemtin is an actor, producer, and writer. He is a member of The Buried Life and the #1 New York Times Best Seller What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? He can be found at theburiedlife.com, Facebook, and Twitter.