“. . .toward what are we drawing our line?. . .The weight of our bones
in every twinkling star. Brief but wondrous lives.”
~ Amy Tingle
A Most Perfect Day – 澎湖, Pénghú Archipelago, Taiwan
We’d just finished breakfast. I heard him say change of scenery, and the longing that stalks me daily rose. I’m home this year. Prudent because our income’s cut in half and there’s little left to trade. Prudent with continuity as I create a new business, knowing interruptions bring me back to my work with different interests, different relationships to it. And I’m confused, unsure what’s best for my intentions. Perspectives new scenery provide, or continuity without interruption. Unsure if this longing is a desire to run away, or that familiar nudge saying space for answers to questions lies elsewhere.
It’s been intense. Revisiting past travels in a hundred exclamations of discovery and joy in friends’ pics of Italy on facebook. Landscapes in the U.S. with another. Elizabeth Gilbert pricked me with “WHY DO WE TRAVEL?” Sparked a smile with “Traveling is expensive, inconvenient, tiring, time-consuming and sometimes — like all interesting things (sex and creativity, for instance) — it’s even boring. You don’t speak the language, don’t recognize the food, the toilets are confusing, the crowds at the museum are ridiculous, and sometimes. . .situations can get uncertain and scary. Airports can be a nightmare, taxi rides can be life-threatening. You come home jetlagged. . .to 900 unanswered emails, to piles of laundry, to stacks of unpaid bills. . .behind on every single obligation. Why bother?” And I think, I know why. Because despite those reasons, I shouted YES! when she said we break the chain of interchangeable days, ignite, jump the tracks of daily life. We’re compelled to taste the new. sigh Oh, longing.
I had one goal until my mid-30s: Experience (capital E). I pushed past comfort, stepped out with courage for it. I said Yes to things that seemed impossible in my circumstances, like traveling to New York by train for a major Picasso retrospective. When I heard something that intrigued me, I didn’t think why I didn’t want to do it, or why I couldn’t. I leaned in, let it roll around inside, felt how it tickled and settled. Then, well, I got married, rolled into the adjustments of honoring a relationship, into justifications. Lots of stuff happened – explorations in work and learning, moving across country (twice), creating-maintaining-remodeling homes, returning to college, activism, attention to budgets, jobs, caring for others, fulfilling shoulds and oughtas, addressing the oh-so-unexpected, like a house on fire and my husband run down by a car.
This last thing, 6 yrs. ago, was the blessing in horror you read about. I couldn’t think about life the same, anymore. I saw one desire remained on My List my entire life – travel. And the files of articles, stacks of travel mags, travel shows and conversations with friends I devoured seemed pitiful. I made a declaration and reservations. Taiwan to see my son and grandbaby, two weeks in Hawaii on the way back. Gone for a month like I always wanted to do.
I’ve learned that the adage we get stuck in our ways can be uncomfortably accurate at times. That I want more comforts these days, and things seem slightly harder than they used to. That my mistakes sting more, and after 5 weeks, I wanna be home. But immersion in other cultures, connection with different peoples, freedom and discovery journeying through landscapes all run deep in me. I will never catch up. But I can return to places that touched me, do things differently. Be braver. Order food in Taiwan, not knowing what I’ll get. Stay longer. Walk streets in Italy until dark. Roam across Crete. Things time taught me to appreciate.
Two hours after I wrote this, Hilton Resorts called. $167 and a 2 hr. timeshare pitch for 3 nights/4 days in Orlando. Not exactly what I had in mind, but we’re veterans to the pitch, and it’s definitely a change of scenery. And until I sojourn to Santa Fe in October, my essential like the cave to the monk, it’ll do. I know, because I feel lighter, calmer. Just what a gift wrapped as coincidence should make me feel.
Tell me. . .do you ever long to jump tracks, travel the unknown?
Portofino (Italy) out the window.
Another small journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
A secret: I enjoy traveling solo. Next best is with my son.
A favorite: Wandering streets in new places.