After a fantastic month in Germany we packed our bags and said good bye to the Bavarian city of Munich. We arrived in Chicago early Tuesday evening or around midnight in the time zone we started the day in. Returning back home invites the stress of traveling, but stepping off the plane we’re greeted by small comforts of familiarity. Conversations with strangers aren’t prohibited by a language barrier. You don’t have to fall back on asking for a schnitzel or bratwurst when ordering food because the items on the menu don’t seem strange and intimidating (I’m still unsure what a pork knuckle is exactly).
Traveling to new countries takes away the comforts we may have take for granted. Traveling forces us into the unknown. We’re forced into new opportunities. We make new friends. We immerse ourselves into the culture and lifestyle of others. We learn the common histories and traditions of people who may have once seemed foreign and odd.
In my time in Germany I visited the birthplace of Luther’s Reformation, a major landmark in human history. I celebrated with thousands of Munich’s finest as we watched the city’s soccer club play the world’s uniting sport and clobber a rival five to nothing. I visited Dachau, a site that seems to place the burden of the world on your shoulders as you remember the tens of thousands who perished in the face of hate and persecution.
Traveling beyond my home, my state, and country forced me into these often uncomfortable, yet remarkable experiences I had in the past month. Traveling beyond our comfort we are always adapting, always changing, always becoming.