5. It’s so different. Ever notice how people who are “well-traveled” or who “studied abroad” or “backpacked in Europe” have that “air of arrogance” or “have an inexplicable new speech pattern” or “wear tighter pants”?
As annoying and pretentious as this superiority complex may be, there really is some mind-flexing that happens when you travel somewhere foreign. It might be learning Zulu curse words (!ngosa face) or sleeping in hostel bunk beds with seven snoring strangers and a gypsy. It might be exhaustion. Somehow, it feels like the a-ha moment when you finally figure out how to solve a word problem or find your wallet or realize Jess from Friday Night Lights is Denise from Full House or figure out it was Herman in Guess Who?
You feel weird and exhilarated; you know you don’t really belong, but you want to, even if just for a day or a week or a semester. Everything is new and spectacular and authentic.
Fortunately, being strange and uncomfortable is the reigning M.O. for me, my pal Gonzo, and other weirdos the world over.