The definition of “genius” by H.L. Mencken is “the ability to prolong one’s childhood.” I wholeheartedly agree. I miss being a child, and perhaps that is why I love to travel. When I travel, I get to be free. I get to explore. I get to play. I get to discover. I learn new things. And during this process I get lost, and I am happy about it. When was the last time you felt complete freedom, learned of new things, and discovered the beauty of the world around you such as you experienced when you were a child? These are the usual daily experiences of our youth, and it is a shame that it usually ends when we grow up. But it doesn’t have to. At all. If you want to feel exhilarated, try traveling to a foreign land where you don’t speak the language, where burgers and fries are not on the menu, and you have no idea where the hell you’re going. Yes, this may seem frustrating at the outset until you try it. When you learn a new foreign word, you feel proud like you used to when you were a kid. When you try a new food that you discover and you all of a sudden love, your taste buds are screaming at you as if to say, “where the hell have you been?” When you get lost, frustrated and tired from walking all day, and you discover a beautiful place or sight that blows you away, you are in awe at the magnificence of this world. You take that picture-perfect shot with your camera where the moment stays with you forever in your mind. Your brain explodes with activity like it used to when you were a child, and then you want more. And more. At least I do.
The exhilaration of being alive, being carefree, discovering and learning new things, and playing with new friends are the norm during childhood. Who wouldn’t want to feel this way on a consistent basis? But since we can’t stay kids forever (damn it!), we must find new ways to tap into our childhood. I hope you find what works for you on becoming a genius. As I’m always planning my next travel adventure, my thoughts are always, “Yes, the world is my playground…”
outdo each other, going higher and higher, on their swings.
Taken at a park in Barcelona in front of the Sagrada Familia.