For young Armenians today, our homeland can be seen in many different ways.
It is seen by some, as a destination visited on a family vacation, or with a graduating class. Comparable to a coming-of-age Euro trip, these visits despite being limited in scope and depth, can spark an initial connection to a far-away land.
To others, Armenia evokes romantic sentiments of a hallowed land, almost too pristine to be real. Captivated by flawless mental imagery, they may be too apprehensive to see it, lest they leave disappointed by reality.
To others, it is a foreign place on a map, or a country that exists—by default—on a list of places to be visited “when we get the chance.”
To still others Armenia is a fledgling nation with an ancient history, a country of treasures both hidden and in plain sight; treasures from the past and treasures that are just materializing.
Regardless of background or starting point, discovering Armenia is meaningful because it brings to reality the rich history and culture of our people. It takes our history out of books and places it in a tangible context that is ours to experience. The firsthand adventure of bringing to life the stories of our childhood has more value today than ever before, both in terms of feasibility and necessity. It gives us a glimpse into understanding why we struggle and what it is we are struggling for.
We struggle today because we want a better future for our homeland—the land we want to make our homes in. We struggle in solidarity with those who struggle within our nation’s borders. We struggle to give our next generations an understanding of the previous chapters of our story. We struggle because the beauties of our land are worth the struggle.
We struggle for our country because it is the unifier of our people and is the link between our past and future.
The journey of discovering Armenia is one that starts with the curiosity and drive of the individual. Curiosity to learn, curiosity to visit. Having the audacity to ask the not-so-simple questions, “Why am I here?” Wanting to know, “Where am I from?” Where do I belong? Where do I want to make my life?”
The answers to these questions are provoking and are different from person to person, but they are found during the course of a journey. That journey will lead to discoveries that will give you pride, purpose and determination.
That journey is a fun one. It’s an eye-opening one. It’s a frustrating one. It’s a personal one. It’s an empowering one. It’s a challenging one. It’s a rewarding one.