Does Travel Make You Age?

Update: I am back in Medellin after 3 months away from her.

I must say I feel different.

The three months were partially spent back in my hometown, then on an exhausting 2 month romp through Paraguay and Brazil.

Brazil, by the way, is like another continent. It has it’s own language and culture and is so freakin’ massive, a quick blitz through it– even just through the south– just doesn’t do it justice. (I am definitely headed back there in the future, once I attain a certain level of income.)

But I think maybe I found the trip exhausting because absolutely everything was new… new language, new people, new cities (not to mention they were huge). Excitement with the novelty was only one part of the equation– expended mental energy absorbing novelty was the other part.

I also ventured to places in Brazil that don’t have a ton of easily accessible English websites that provide good information about them. I don’t know what it is, but trying to find locations and explore cities without much prior knowledge or many local friends is definitely tiring.

There was also the Brazilian girls and nightlife that seemed very different from Colombia. I had a really good time, but I still don’t think I really wrapped my arms around it. There was still so much more to see and experience, even in the few cities I went to.

But now I’m back in Medellin, and in some ways I feel similar to how I felt when I returned to the USA after my first extended trip abroad. I feel more relaxed, more at ease, less impressed with everything. I’ve visited the same ‘watering holes’ that I use to adore, and they are still great, but the novelty has worn off a bit. I meet up with some of the same friends, but it’s different.

I don’t exactly know what’s different… It’s just different, and I know it’s me.

I feel older.

It’s like more than just 3 months have passed… For me, so much more seems to have gone on.

It reminds me of a science fiction book I once read. The protagonist visits an ‘unfallen’ planet and speaks to a lady who views things quite differently than people from earth do.

In one instance, when she tells him she was “much older” than she was yesterday due to all of the things she was learning, the protagonist tries to tell her that yesterday was “only one day.”

She responds:

“I see it now,” she said. “You think times have lengths. A night is always a night whatever you do in it, as from this tree to that is always so many paces whether you take them quickly or slowly. I suppose that is true in a way… I have never done it before– stepping out of life into the Alongside and looking at oneself living as if one were not alive. Do they all do that in your world, Piebald?”

If I were to talk metaphysics with you, I’d say that perhaps time is a matter of experiences rather than objective lengths. The universe might be ultimately a subjective, rather than an objective, sort of thing (check out the latest particle physics which hint at this). If this is the case, then time may have a very different meaning than hours and days.

I mean, I know we keep our schedules and our time tables, but is this really the ultimate truth of the matter?

Honestly, I don’t know.

All I know is, travel makes you age.




Published August 26, 2012

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  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    I think “mature” is a better word to use here. I actually think that doing something you love and that doesn’t really stress you out has the opposite effect, it delays aging.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

    • http://ryangoesabroad.com Ryan

      Humbug! I’m aware of the word “mature” but that’s not what I meant, any more than you meant doing something you love having the opposite effect makes you “immature.”