I was born with a few vision issues: amblyopia, nearsightedness, third-nerve palsy. So, I always wondered if I saw things how other people saw them.

Once I was camping in the mountains in Washington with friends, and one of them looked off into the evergreen valley below us and commented on how amazing it was. I scanned the trees and the mountains trying to see what my friend saw. “I don’t get it, “I said. “All I see is green and brown.” After a second of silence, my friend Grant said, “I think brown is a beautiful color.” Did I not see the beauty in nature because of my eye problems?

A couple years later, my family and I traveled to Mexico and climbed the main pyramid at Coba. There were a lot of stairs to climb, and I just trudged my way up as fast as I could. But when I got to the top, I turned around to look at the view, and for the first time in my life, I understood what people meant when they said nature was beautiful.

In this issue of Stowaway, you’ll learn to see the beauty in travel through different eyes. You’ll read about Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, an interactive art exhibit mixed with science. Then travel will take on a new meaning as you read about immersive travel, where people become part of history and can see what it was like to live in the USSR. While travel brings you to beautiful locations, there’s always a story behind what you see. You’ll read about how climate change is affecting islands and how people are using graffiti to express their political views. And you’ll read about a street that used to be the site of war-torn destruction but is now bustling with life.

Not everything we see will at first inspire awe, but as we look again, we might just see it.

Jesse King