Does travel give an illusion of such glorious freedom that intimacy is discarded along the way? Is this the vibe I give and why the old man on the bench at the beach said to me, “Ah, you are a very independent woman.” When I travel (and I’m talking solo travel) I find myself feeling freer and happier than when I am home in the town where I live. When I travel, I walk with more confidence. When I am home, I feel like there is no passion in my step. I walk with a resigned sense of doing all the normal day-to-day tedious chores. I walk without seeing any wonderous cultural differences, unless you count the occasional wedding party outside the local Ethiopian church. They look so beautiful in their flowing white clothing.
The town where I live is lovely and I am so fortunate and grateful, don’t get me wrong. But I get so easily bored here. There are no splendid cathedrals as in fast-paced Italy. No fantastic tiled buildings as in friendly Portugal. There are no random processions popping up to celebrate fasting during Lent is over, as in colorful Spain. I see no love-locks on the bridges as there are in gorgeous Paris.
What is the soul of the traveler? What motivates those of us who must explore inward and onward to the next destination? Are we fearful of getting too close to the people around us or are we just too easily bored with rote routine and abhor the monotony so keenly we would sell our first born for that next plane ticket? Kidding. I would sell the family jewels first. If I had family jewels. Last I heard, my great-grandfather buried them under a tree somewhere in flippin’ Russia before fleeing the country during the Bolshevik uprisings. There goes that.
I looked for some guidance which would explain this phenomenon of what can only be called “travel addiction.” Would a support group be the cure. Do I want a cure? Do I really want to deaden that part of my soul which longs for the open roads allowing my determined meanderings and fruitful explorations? Do I really want to live out my last few productive years making sure my couch cover is clean, the dust is wiped away, the carpets are vacuumed, and the travel and grandkids photos are backed up properly? Do I really want to live out my life according to the expectations of others? Sure, my grandson misses me when I’m gone, but not enough to make any huge dent in his full young boy’s life. I am only a weekly diversion between now and the next new video game published.
Soon after I stopped working I told someone I didn’t “fit” anywhere. I used to have a career where I knew that my days would be overfilled whether I liked it or not. When some of us stop working, it is a huge difference in lifestyle. We get up when we want. Eat, watch movies whenever. Go online for hours, search for the best fares or research a new place we want to travel internationally, all to our heart’s desire without the worry of being on company or family time.
It’s easy to feel restless without another trip planned. I like looking forward to those plans. There is an exhilaration to cleaning out the fridge of items which will expire while I am gone. I know my trip is imminent when the expiration date on the milk jug is after I have boarded the plane for my next destination.
Travel addiction? It could be worse…