The Beginning

Look at a map of the world, and what do we see? Is it the outlines of continents, with oceans filling the empty space in between? Yes, that is true, but that is not all we see. Life brings experiences, and it is those experiences that we see when we focus our eyes closer on the areas we may call home, be those old familiarities or newfound discoveries. For me, my eyes wander to the left edge of the Americas, about halfway between Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and Alaska, a point that I called home for 18 years – Vancouver. When I scrunch my brow and stare harder, what I can see are the memories, experiences, relationships, and emotions associated with that speck on the left edge of the Americas. In that little speck, I have laughed, cried, and ridden a bike for the first time.

Looking at your world map is not just about places you have known forever. Just recently, a little sliver of land just above the top edge of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, otherwise known as Holbox Island, transformed from just another speck on my world map, no different than any other, into my definition of paradise. Holbox is complete with white-sand roads, empty pristine beaches, and a lifestyle that only the world’s most clever individuals have discovered.

For me – this is the beauty and power of travelling. Spending time in new locations, new little specks on that world map, allow for not only a better understanding of the world, but bring a sense of belonging. This sense of belonging is developed through new friends, unrecognizable but delicious food, and the moments that only you will truly ever understand, no matter how long you try to explain the experiences that mark your world map. Every person sees the same outline of continents when they look at a world map, but scrunch your brow, blink your eyes a couple times, and look deeper into those places and see the faces and memories you know all too well.

This blog is an experiment in adding meaningto my own world map. It will begin for me in Ethiopia, but for you, it may be beginning in the place you have called home for years, or a small town that marks the destination for your next weekend getaway. I will be chronicling my adventures through Ethiopia and beyond, bringing meaning and a love to a new speck on my world map.

It has been a goal of mine to start a blog for years, as some of the opportunities I manage to find myself in seem hard to believe. Nothing brings me more happiness then sharing the skills, passion, and experiences I am lucky enough to have with other people. This blog is not just for me, but it is for all those wanting to bring meaning and life to their very own world map. Feedback is massively important to me, good, bad, or otherwise, please tell me your thoughts. I know I am not the world’s best writer, not even close, so whatever thoughts cross your mind, post a comment, send me an email, mail me a letter, whatever your preferred means of communication, I am ready to receive it.

Before I finish this inaugural post on ‘A World of Oysters,’ I should probably tell you who I am – Taylor Benjamin Quinn, a 20-year-old student and hopeful social entrepreneur. I call Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada home when I am not doing things like lying down on an airport runway in Jimma, Ethiopia (more about that in a future post). Those are the basics, I can’t give away all my intimate secrets right now, or else you would have no reason to keep reading future posts. For example, do I really enjoy eating oysters? Is that the reason behind ‘A World of Oysters’? Keep your eye out for blog post number two to find out the reasoning and meaning behind the strange ‘A World of Oysters’ blog title.

That is all for today, if you have liked what you’ve read so far, or are simply confused by this whole “my world map” thing I keep talking about, subscribe to my blog, and we will go on this adventure together.

Final thing, look at the world map below, scrunch your brow, blink your eyes, and what do YOU see? Feel free to post what your world map looks like in the comments below!

Better Blank World Map

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Reay Richter says:

    Great to hear from you. I heard about Holbox Island :). Looking forward to being inspired and hearing about your adventures. When I scrunch my eyes, I smile and see a world of opportunities. Travel safe, Reay

  2. George Woodhouse says:

    Taylor your writing grabbed me and hit home. I look forward to following your travels, thoughts and questions my brother. When I look at the world map that is literally in front of my eyes right now, I see art. I see the portrait of our host mother… she’s old, she’s hip, she’s moody, and she’s got a strange sense of humour. EARTH!

  3. Thanks for the comments Reay and George! My partner in post-harvest management crime here in Ethiopia, Amanda, has a great blog providing a very different perspective on our time here in Jimma, check it out: http://amandalevy91.wordpress.com/

  4. Mary Jane Adams says:

    Taylor, thank you for sharing with us the adventure you are on! I absolutely love the name of your blog…have you read Drew Smith’s book “Oyster A World History”? I recommend it. Travel safe, learn lots and I look forward to reading more on your blog!

  5. Tessema Astatkie says:

    Hi Taylor,I looked at the world map, I blinked my eyes imagining where Taylor and Amanda are right now, and then when I opened my eyes, I saw that you are located at the center of the world (east-west, and south-north). You are located at the origin of mankind that dates back to 3.5 million years where Lucy was found. You are at the center of opportunities to learn many things including humanity and humility! I look forward to reading your and Amanda’s blogs. Stay well.

  6. Lisa Odland says:

    Taylor, I’m so glad to see you enter the blogging world… I thought you should have been blogging years ago. Beautiful first post; I am excited to hear about what you learn, the things you see, the people you meet, and the experiences you gain. Thank you for inviting me on your journey!

    When I scrunch my brow, I see the home of 7 billion people, who despite all circumstances, belong to a common species. Regardless of our extreme differences; we all share the same blood.

    Currently, N50.32195 / W 115.86600 is where I am calling home. Living in an old motel, nestled in the Rocky Mountains, laying on highway 93/95 somewhere between Banff and Cranbrook. Each morning I wake up to an incredible view of the surrounding Purcell Mountains. I love mountains because they are a beautiful reminder that we humans make up just a minuscule portion of this earth. We play a crucial role, indeed, but we are not on earth alone.

  7. barbtaylor2013 says:

    Taylor, this is wonderful. So eloquently written from the heart! All you need to be a good writer is a genuine passion and you’ve got that in spades. So looking forward to the next installment. Take care of yourself xoxoBarb

  8. Hima Merdan says:

    When I look at the world map, I see a world that used to be one, but now is separated into different continents with people that share a lot of negative feelings towards each other. I just hope one day we’ll all be one again!

  9. Nat says:

    Lovely blog Taylor.
    When I look at the world map it makes me feel overwhelming tiny, not even a fleck. And all the millions of other flecks and all their lives, friends, family, loved ones, routines, habits, problems. etc. and we are all tied in together. Even across the ocean, there are invisible links uniting everyone.
    It also makes me so excited and anxious to its experiences and only wish I was doing the same as you!
    Take care on your travels and look forward to your posts.
    Ps. You are far too modest and an excellent writer!

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