Just a quick thought for this week.
In the course of our travels, I am always affected most by the streets we stroll upon. They are so different to the bright, wide, open streets I am used to growing up in Michigan, or now living in Houston. Besides the grand boulevards and touristy thoroughfares or open plazas and piazzas, the streets where most of the locals lives are lived are narrow and darker.
They seem to hold secrets that, as an American, I just can't quite crack. They are not streets planned especially for traffic or for gaggles of tourists or walking tours full of people with cameras out, shutters clicking on repeat. They are streets from another time, a different era, for different people with smaller lives that I suspect were in many ways, richer, than those we live today.
It is in those narrow streets that I feel the closest to discovering a city's secrets. The nearest in being allowed a peek into something that I cannot quite fathom. A culture different from my own, an existence that isn't mine, but could have been, or a life I could have claimed as mine, if only the world were a little different.
But that is traveling, isn't it? Grasping at the world around you, trying to find where you fit in it, broadening yourself to see life differently. And the paradox of both lamenting when you return home that the life you glimpsed was not yours, and gratitude for the experience that has shaped the new you.