Friday, May 8, 2015

On Travel

I love (loved?) to travel. I love (loved?) exploring new places, finding new sights, stepping out of a plane or car and having that exhilarating sensation that the air is different, here. I love to travel on a deeply visceral level; my favorite mode of long-distance travel is a road trip, where you can't help but feel the rhythm of the ground under your feet, and see the world around you change mile by mile. The hours stretch on, monotony inspires you to dig out battered CDs you haven't played for months (or years), and boredom inspires deep conversations with your travel companions. Eventually the rhythm of the road lulls everyone but the driver to sleep, and the quiet hum of miles passing lends a nice soundtrack to introspection.I'd rather have a journey than a destination. For most of my life I fought wanderlust every spring, dreamed of packing up, hitting the open road, following a ribbon of highway wherever it led.

And yet.
And yet.
And yet..

The last time I traveled was in March; Maggie, Cris, and I caught a plane to Florida, escaping one of the worst cold spells happening at home. We ate seafood, marveled at the balmy weather, went to the beach to watch the sun set, snorkeled in crystal-clear rivers beside tarpon fish, swam in the hotel pool, walked around the adorable historic district.

And I was not having fun.

I thought I was stressed out. I THOUGHT I was worried about work. I thought if I could just get everyone squared away, then I could sit back and enjoy everything going on around me. I thought I was glad to be home because it was easier to solve problems in person than from five states away.

It didn't hit me until I was on deck that night, and realized that I was suddenly, completely, and perfectly content, that I also realized that while all of those reasons were partly true, none of them were the whole truth.

The whole truth was that, for the first time in my life, I was homesick.

I can't ever remember being homesick before. All my siblings got terribly homesick at summer camp; I never did. I dreamed - literally, for weeks afterward - of getting to stay, of not having to go home. There was a lot of conflict in home (there was a lot of conflict in my life) and I was unhappy. Travel offered this illusion - albeit temporary - that I was escaping, that I was setting up a life that was happier than the one I was in.

For the first time in my life, I don't want to travel - I want to stay. I don't want an escape. I don't need an escape. I want more of my life, right now, just the way it is. I want to do more of the things I spend every day doing. While it's true that I sometimes need a rest - a chance to recharge, to regroup, catch up - I don't need (or want!) the illusion of the different life anymore.

I'm getting ready to leave tomorrow, a quick weekend getaway. I'll be home in time to take Abby to school on Monday morning and be on deck again Monday night. If I were perfectly honest, I would have to admit that I'm more excited about getting to go back to my life on Monday than I am about this entire weekend.

I saw a sign once that read "Someday I want to have the kind of life I don't need a vacation from."

I think it's very possible that, for right now, anyway, I'm there.

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