Waves splash softly against the white-stained sand. You mush your toes into the soft, warm ground and lay your head back as you gaze at the beautiful, large clouds. Ah, this could be one of several places: Hawaii, Mexico, even Bali. This is paradise on Earth, and you think you've seen it all.
As you walk along the edge of these gentle waters, you stop on a cliff, one that displays the seemingly-endless beauty of this island. The lush, tropical forest spreads out one side, and on the other, the teeming sea meets the gentle island waters as it fades into a turquoise green.
You feel at peace with the world as if you could not be happier than this, but in all reality, this is not your greatest moment; this is not paradise in itself, but an illusion of it.
After your trip ends and you return to the stressful life you lead, the new and improved you slowly ebbs away. You return to your old customs, mannerisms and ways of thought. And you can't understand why nothing has truly changed.
But why try to change the you that lives in the Midwest by going to the Bahamas? How can a new you emerge from a new place and remain that way in your daily life?
We place so much value on the exotic destination that supposedly inspires self-discovery, resulting in a newwho supersedes the person we were before. But in reality, you must not travel in the hopes of returning a new You should travel to understand more about people, culture and humanity as a whole.
Self-discovery is a journey that needs no location, especially not if it is so far from one's daily reality.
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "traveling is a fool's paradise," and it can be when we create unrealistic expectations for ourselves while sitting on that pristine, white-sanded beach. But, however hard we try to escape the pain that plagues us at home, "[our] giant[s go] with [us] wherever [we] go."
So the next time you are face to face with the lush, unmistakable beauty ofremember that the bliss you feel in that moment is ephemeral. And if we never combat the issues at home that made us want to escape, we are missing out on the true beauty of