“The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it,” -Unknown
Though most of the country felt afraid to travel in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, I felt moved to hit the road. I needed to be with people, in a way that my current lifestyle did not afford. I felt an immense desire to live my life in direct opposition to the insularity that had befallen our nation more ridiculously than I had ever seen in my lifetime.
So, on September 13th I quit my job, sold almost everything I owned and set off in my small red hatchback riding on the strength of my convictions.
I began my journey in the southern states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. The South inspired me to cross the Atlantic. Three months of winter in Europe inspired me to go to Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia made Central America suddenly attractive.
Since September, I have found myself in 14 different countries.
Though I have traveled great distances, the real miles have been sojourned within my mind, my heart and my soul. While fear seemed our knee-jerk collective reaction, September 11th inspired me to look my own fears between the eyes.
If you asked me a year ago if I thought I could travel with little more than a backpack and a dream, I would’ve laughed. Today, nothing seems impossible, and the world seems so much smaller than it did before I went.
Today, when I walk down the street, I don’t think twice about stopping to say hello to people, or even just to flash a smile.
If September 11th taught me anything, it is that life is precious, and we should take every opportunity to celebrate it with people we know and those we don’t know yet, while we can.
-Miriam R. Warren
Ethnic Studies Major