When I first considered this trip almost two years ago, I quickly dismissed it as an unnecessary luxury. I saw it as beneficial, but perhaps only marginally so given the increased expense. When the opportunity came a second time, I reconsidered and decided it was worth pursuing.
My logic has not changed. I think I know only marginally more about international trade, currency factors, and labor differences than would have been gleaned from the online equivalent. My knowledge of intellectual property law or organizational strategy in the world market is similarly comparable. What I have realized, however, is the intangible benefit.
I have done little international travel in my adult life and my domestic adventures have become unchallenging and predictable. Through my experiences in Finland and Estonia I gained an appreciation for many things, but even more than that, I have rekindled a hunger for exploration. The sites we visited have been impressive, but the understanding that comes from the history and meaning behind them is what drives me. Each of the sections of this journal could have been expanded tenfold with research, reflection, and discussion. It is only due to the time constraints currently upon me that this was not the case.
Even more than all of this, what stands out are the people I have meet. Marlene, Fabian, Eugene, Minna, and Marja have all left lasting impressions on me. They, and the cultures, concepts, and ideas they represent whirl inside me like an approaching wind. The value of this trip is not in what I have learned, it is in what I am now inspired to go forth and discover.