Homebodies & travel bugs
In efforts to procrastinate on an essay about the relationship between development and decarbonization in South Africa, I was drinking a glass of wine and playing on Facebook when I came across an article titled “15 Reasons Why Frequent Travelers Are More Likely To Be Successful.” And while there’s a chance the wine was making a greater impact than expected, I began to think about what it is about travel that fascinates and has always fascinated me.
In truth, I’m really a huge homebody. I love curling up on our couch at home and snuggling with my dogs. And to my mind, there are few more perfect places than sitting on the patio with my family drinking a glass of wine or trying one of my sister’s new homebrews while my brother taunts Daisy and Maggie with old clips of Chip & Dale (the chipmunks obviously, D&M are ladies). But nonetheless, I can’t help staring at maps, and my “to do” lists will include “Eat a Banh Mi sandwich in Vietnam” before “Do Laundry” or “Find a job with Health Insurance and Retirement benefits.”
And even on my worst of days, I still can’t regret a decision to travel. It’s as if something sits in my soul begging for just one more trip, bargaining and justifying for just one more experience, for one more sunrise on a foreign horizon, and for one more taste of an unknown dish. Even here in Cape Town, I look at fights to other parts of the world and write out hypothetical budgets for trips to Namibia, Zanzibar, Morocco, Thailand and Australia, while also using miles and points to make my way back home for semester breaks and the Christmas holidays.
I suppose that’s the best part of traveling for me. I love the people I meet, I love the sites I see, and the adventures I go on, but even more, I love the feeling of going home — even when home isn’t necessarily the only place your heart lives. I spent two years complaining about Boston’s weather, and yet I’ll never forget the image of the sun setting behind the city, as we stood rain soaked and lobster stuffed on the Harbor Islands. A great meal makes me wonder if I can find a similar dish at the North Market, Brick buildings and tolling bells take me back to Oxford, Ohio and any site of Mountains remind me of Pau.
And that list doesn’t even include the stolen trips and short holidays that now hold pieces of my heart and dwell in my daily imagination.
But back to my procrastination and the 15 Reasons Frequent Travels are more successful, the article mentions managing and moving past fear, embracing change and managing emotions. And as someone who tenses over creepy-crawlies, enjoys a good itinerary, and has the tendency to cry in banks, on sidewalks and in classrooms, I read this article and thought: “Well shoot, maybe it just means I haven’t traveled enough. I should plan another trip.”
And so the cycle goes. But then again, maybe it’s not all about the skills acquired, resume lines or checked off to-do lists that you read on Facebook, BuzzFeed or whatever website I stumble upon. Maybe just as the Grinch rediscovers Christmas, maybe Travel, perhaps… means a little bit more!
From time to time, it’s a nice to reminder that just as those small pleasures of home keep us holding onto our nostalgic memories, these small pleasures abroad may one day accompany those by-gone days and leave us longing even more. For now, I’ll spend this time focusing on the small things, the everyday moments and the forgotten times… and perhaps loose myself in another glass of wine. But then again, there is that essay to write…