The curse of everlasting travel
- Homer, the Odyssey
Well, there wasn’t really all that much point in Homer traveling, what with his being blind and all. Couldn’t see much. But, seriously, I think he has something of a point. I say this from the perspective of one who has traveled and wants constantly to do more wandering before my days exploring this sphere are done.
Travel, it is said, is “broadening”, and it is. Travel educates and it increases tolerance and some of the more bigoted people I’ve met are those who ain’t never gone nowhere, nohow.
“I hate the French!”
“Because they’re rude and arrogant and just assholes.”
“Have you been to France?”
“Do you know any French people?”
“No, and I don’t want to.”
Now, if you spend some time amongst the French, you will surely find some rude and arrogant people (they generally work in railway information booths), and you will find some charming people. Just like anywhere else.
I did my first major traveling when I took off for Europe when I was 24. I wanted to leave when I was much younger, but financial and educational considerations prevailed at the time.
So, I spent a very long summer amongst the English, Scots, Irish, Dutch, Germans, Austrians, Italians and Swiss. It was tiring and challenging and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. On a railway platform in Munich I fell into conversation with a young woman who I decided at the precise moment was the most stunning creature I’d ever met. She was from Michigan or Minnesota or someplace and she asked directly if I would like to go traveling with her. “Yes please!” said my heart and my loins – OK, especially my loins. But, “Sorry, but my wife is with me. She’s in the restroom right now.” I knew I’d gotten married too young, and later events proved that to be so. But, that’s another tale. Wonder whatever happened to the beauteous Michigan/Minnesota lady.
What happened from that trip is that I was left with the residuals of life-changing event Number One.
The life change left me with the realization that I could never be sedentary again. I would always ‘itch’. In that I must say that I love my home, and always love returning to it. But, once I’m there for a little while, I want to go again. Wanderlust is like heroin (I imagine, not that I’ve ever indulged) in that it feels wonderful, and then gets debilitating, then the ‘rehab’ of home is sought, but then another hit is needed, and it starts again.
Life-changing Event Number Two came in 1980-81 when I went to live abroad for a year. This one was even more transfiguring than the first LCE in that I didn’t much want to come back at the end of the year, especially after having become embroiled in and entranced by a liaison with a wonderful English lady during my twelvemonth next the Norfolk Broads.
But, I came back. I missed my dog.
But, that overseas sojourn, which also involved newspaper work in a foreign land, left me even more disquieted.
Consequently, following that, my life, and life with subsequent spouses (both of whom have been possessed of itchy feet) has been one of hitting the road as often as time and finances permit. We’ve been to Europe, to Hawaii many, many times, the South Pacific, Mexico, and all over the place in the US and Canada.
I notice from reading the people on my blogroll, I am not alone in my love of travel, and I probably chose people because they are similarly afflicted.
It is indeed a curse of sorts because I know this mild discontent will always be with me and won’t cease until I take that last big journey. But, as curses go, I suppose there are worse ones.
Meanwhile, for those of you who are traveling right now, I envy, and sometimes resent you just the teeniest bit because I want to be with you.
Labels: On the road again