I wanted to title this post Why travel is bullshit, but then I thought bullshit was a rude word, I shouldn’t use in a headline and so I changed it. But really, it is bullshit. You would think that I couldn’t dislike something that makes me so unbelievably happy, gives me butterflies like no guy ever has, and turns me into a better version of myself with each step I take out into the world. But I do.
Oh, how I wish I could have been content with what I had when I was little, alas I wasn’t. I always wanted something, I was always curious, and had parents who supported me, eventually lovingly pushed me out of my nest, making me go and explore the world. Yes, of course I am grateful, but sometimes I wish I would have stayed home. Now I have the daily dilemma of wanting more. More to see, to explore, more new, more same same but different, less ordinary and more ordinary away from home. I hate it, but I can’t help it.
My mind doesn’t stand still and quite frankly it is exhausting. I dream of Bangkok when I’m in Cape Town and wish I was in Marrakech, oh no, rather Essaouira when in Florence. I get a plate of Pad Thai and I want Japanese, I find a great Mexican restaurant at home and wish I was back in New York for Venezuelan arepas. It’s not about the grass always being greener elsewhere, I don’t care for the grass, but it is about the sky being bluer, the horizon wider, and the smells more exotic.
When I lived in New York, I lived close to a mosque and the sound of the Adhan mixed with a warm breeze in summer was irresistible to me. It was stronger than any siren song, asking me to go, leave, come – welcome to the world! With that irresistible pull came excitement and misery to equal extends. Always moving, always searching, sometimes arriving, but already planning ahead for the next step which could be just that or a plane ride or a country away. I am always somewhere, but am I ever here?
Yes, you will say, but don’t I like to broaden my horizon that comes with travel? Of course, I do, but sometimes it’s hard. Not to fall into a trot of familiarity even if nothing is familiar. We are creatures of habit and it doesn’t show more than when on holiday. I have eaten at the same Japanese restaurant (which is awesome by the way, go check it out when you come to Koh Tao!) for the past four days for lunch. Not breaking out of my comfort zone makes me feel even worse when I’m traveling, because shouldn’t exactly this be the time to do it? Talk about enjoying a little guilt trip.
I have friends in many places and I love them. I don’t love that they are in many different places, because the reality is, I never get to see them enough. I constantly miss one or the other. My heart always breaks a little when I leave somewhere, because I leave someone I love behind. That doesn’t change just because I am going somewhere to hang out with someone else I love.
I see your ocean and I raise you another and all bets are off, the urge won’t go away when I go.
So no, this traveling business is not for the fainthearted and while I’m not fainthearted, I don’t like it very much. However just like my chubby toes and my impatience it is part of me and I have made peace with it over time. I still hate it, but that is no reason not to love it too.
*Picture of me courtesy of my wonderful friend Julia who caught me in a rare moment of serenity on Koh Tao.