Good Will Hunting and Why I Travel
Have you ever seen Good Will Hunting?
It’s one of my favorite movies, and even though it takes place entirely in Boston it completely sums up why I travel. Take a look at the following exchange between Sean the therapist played by Robin Williams, and Will the genius misfit kid played by Matt Damon:
Sean: Thought about what you said to me the other day, about my painting. Stayed up half the night thinking about it. Something occurred to me… fell into a deep peaceful sleep, and haven’t thought about you since. Do you know what occurred to me?
Sean: You’re just a kid, you don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talkin’ about.
Will: Why thank you.
Sean: It’s all right. You’ve never been out of Boston.
Sean: So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that.
That exchange in today’s internet age would sound a bit different, but substitute “art book” for Wikipedia and Google Images and you have essentially the same thing. I can spend all day looking at pictures online, reading blogs, and developing an appreciation for a place, but I still haven’t the faintest idea of what it feels like to be somewhere new until I’m actually there myself.
After having seen Good Will Hunting countless times, I’ve realized it’s much more of a travel movie than it initially appears. Will’s friends continually encourage him to make a change from his boring, easy job, Will’s therapist plans a trip to India, China, and, wait for it… Baltimore, and Will himself eventually embarks on a major journey of his own. The whole movie is about seizing opportunity in spite of challenge, which just so happens to be exactly what travel is all about.
There are many challenges to travel
Money, time, leaving home, language barriers, the potential for getting lost, and I could go on and on. Travel isn’t always easy nor is it always fun. Travel is inherently challenging, but it’s the things that challenge us most that also have the potential to give us the greatest, deepest, and longest lasting satisfaction. That’s why I travel, because I want to know what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel.