MY ADULT LIFE has been largely defined by my travels. Travel, I’ve found, is what I do best. Whether it is through Washington’s forests or the jungles of Laos, I am happiest and at my most creative when I am traveling.
But now, two years since the last stamp has dried on my passport I pace the room with a melancholy restlessness. It feels like nebulous grieving. The turning of the decade set my desire to get lost somewhere, anywhere, snapping photos, climbing trees, blogging and drinking with locals.
First the longing made me angry. This is bullshit! I protested, I am traveler, not some laptop jockey on a coffee binge! Depression followed anger, moping. Slack faced I pitied myself and riffled through old travel journals and scrapbooks. Digging through my closet, I pull out backpacks, pocket knives and dog-eared phrase books, surrounding myself with the stuff of travel.
Today the sun breaks the monotonous Seattle cloud cover. As I set my feet to soggy pavement something about steam rising off 1st avenue prods me to shed the travel doldrums.
I can still travel. I am traveling, right now. I don’t have to leave the hemisphere or a national boundary (it would nice), I just have to leave my preconceived notions of what travel is and isn’t and step out with traveler’s eyes. There is a strong argument for local travel and god knows I have much to discover about Seattle and the rivers that flow from mountains in three directions.
A feeling this strong can be a very powerful agent for action. But I had to run through these emotions to reach a place of resolve. The longing is still there, stronger than ever. But now I claim it and wait with bags packed.
How long has it been since you last traveled? How do you deal with the longing to travel? Share your experience in comments please.