Top of the World

By Rebecca Radix

“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
-Mark Twain

Travel is a glory-word I think. It conjures up images of the exotic – a crowded market in Jaipur that teems with people and spices and noise, monkeys screeching and swinging through a misty green jungle canopy, a fishing boat slipping quietly through the mist and the cliffs of Hai Long Bay. It equals opportunity and it screams of the bigger world, the bigger picture and bigger horizons. It’s a glory-word because it fills you up and spits you out a more complete version of yourself than when you started.

I know, because I’m not the same girl as the one who sat one cold January night in O’Hare Airport waiting for Turkish Airlines flight TK16 to whisk me away to the bottom of the world. I moved to Cape Town, South Africa and what I anticipated to be a study abroad experience was in reality an exercise of the heart – of deep, searing longing for the ones I loved back home; of the intense and child-like joy of new friendships and shiny, new adventure; of the strength that comes from creating a life for yourself from scratch. I’m not the same as I was, the lens has shifted. My heart has shifted. It’s a funny thing about life – how quickly a place can make a home in your heart.