I fear that my last post may have maligned travel. In all my exhaustion, I’m nonetheless in a constant state of awe at how, in the past five or six years, I’ve developed a group of friends more incredible, more diverse (yet also somehow strikingly similar in ideals), more open-minded than would ever be possible on home turf. This past week, in Stockholm, I sat with two of my favorite new(ish) friends at dinner, having sneaked away from the larger crowd (I do get overwhelmed; apparently I’m not the only one), and one of the two–who strikes me as a constant optimist in the best possible way–was talking about how he’s amazed, constantly, at how he’s found so many amazing people…and that it’s because amazing people beget more amazing friends (whereas, he noted, the “not-so-good” people in his circle can all be traced back to one or two not-so-good acquaintances).

The best part, to me, is not what is planned, but what comes as a total surprise. So often do I arrive somewhere to find someone I hadn’t planned to see, or someone who’d inspired me recently and who I’d been hoping to dig into a bit deeper. In coming weeks, I’ll find myself in Berlin–where inspiration is rampant, where I’ll take my good camera–and Oslo, then the Netherlands for my birthday, Austin-not-during-SXSW, and after that perhaps Rio, Madrid, DC, New York, and Nairobi…and all before my self-imposed, swear-I’m-going-to-stick-with-it break. And in those travels, despite the sleepless hours in airport lounges or perhaps because of them, I will find more inspiration.