With the exception of a handful of places – northern Myanmar, the top of Green- land, the deepest sea – this pla-net has almost run out of untouched land. We have nearly mapped the whole of it, and this, combined with tech-nology, has shrunk it down to something so small that our ancestors would barely recognise it. Right now, Los Angeles is an 18-hour direct flight away from Singapore. That’s almost 9,000 miles covered in less than a day with no lay-over. While our hyper-connected globe makes the dream of exploring virgin land harder to fulfil, it has made travel and adventure so much easier for the rest of us. And when travel is available to more and more peo-ple, what’s left to explore for the first time becomes increasingly personal.
Anyone who loves to travel knows that unmatched feeling of walking off a plane in a foreign land. It’s what hap-pens when a different kind of air hits your face, the language scrambles your brain and even the way people move around each other feels new. Your mind is tired but also racing – and all you want to do is hold on to that feeling, right there, of being in between two places and two time zones and two “you”s, for ever.
This exact experience, no matter how many people you might be travelling with, is acutely personal. Because all the times you’ve ever arrived in any new place are layered in a certain way inside of you, building the lens through which you are looking. All the airports you’ve navigated and streets you’ve roamed, all the expectations of a place you’ve fulfilled or had dashed are trailing behind you, this time, too, and you are the only person who has ever existed with exactly those experiences informing your here and now.
That’s how in today’s world, where “there’s nothing new under the sun”, you can still discover a place for the first time in a way no one has before you and no one after you ever will. The collision of these two dimensions – one that is utterly personal and memory- driven and the other that is physical and geographic – is where travel holds its power and magic. The drug that best soothes wanderlust is found right where those two worlds meet.