The spring of my college graduation, I stumble onto a campus screening of The Razor’s Edge, a moderately successful Bill Murray movie based on the book by Somerset Maugham. It wasn’t a “great” movie. Murray has a tendency to do schtick when he should probably be playing it more seriously. Nevertheless, the film hits its mark. I leave the theater inspired, like the protagonist, to leave a conventional life behind and visit exotic lands in search of enlightenment.

Fast forward 3 years. I’ve finished my 2-year stint teaching English in Japan and am now backpacking my way through Asia. My path has taken me this day to the top of the world, literally. Kathmandu, Nepal! I climb the steps of a palace and take in the scene of Durbar Square: white-washed buildings, 3-step pagoda, prayer flags flapping in the wind. It is exactly how I imagine Shangri-la to look like. Pinching myself, I wonder to myself, “How does this place still exist? And how is it that I’m allowed to be here?”

The impact of travel is always contingent on who you are at that specific point in time.

I was 23 years old, still spreading my wings in the world, still coming to grips with the realization that the world was my oyster, that I could go anywhere and do anything.

When do we lose that sense of utter freedom?

What if we could preserve that consciousness? What if, every day, we woke up believing that we can still go anywhere and do anything. The world is still our oyster!