I have my answer. And my ticket.
I have my answer.
March 2008 I went to Belize. My first international trip (nearly the first time I’d left California) in ten years, it touched off a wanderlust that made me a homeless backpacker by the end of the year.
March 2010, after trying for a couple months to resettle in the US, I gave up and went back to vagabonding abroad.
March 2012, same.
March 2014, would the pattern continue? That was the question. When I moved to Oakland, I asked “Will I cross the ocean in March, 2014?”
The answer: yes.
But I came back. It felt good to leave, and it felt good to come home.
Sometimes I feel torn, wanting to be here and wanting to be There. I miss exploring a new place, even as I exult at knowing how to get where I’m going. I remember the simplicity of having three shirts, even as I happily browse my (relatively) massive wardrobe. It’s relaxing to know where I’ll sleep tonight, though I yearn for the days when I don’t.
But as Walt Whitman said, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
I can encompass it all. And I’m finding the balance.
I can love the air here, the climate that (partially) justifies our exorbitant rents, and smile at skin’s memory of Icelandic glaciers and Malaysian jungle sweat, knowing I will feel the like again. I can practice cooking my mediocre meals, knowing I will again order street food I can neither pronounce nor identify. I can throw a moderately dirty shirt in the washing machine, knowing I’ll be fine hand-washing my own grime someday soon.
I can try to maintain spiderweb friendships made on The Road, but add another layer of cement to the ones here that have already lasted 20 years. And I can marvel at the process as new ones form, hoping they last just as long.
I’m doing a rotten job of being around for family birthdays so far this year (with one more to lapse on this next trip), but I’ll be back for belated birthday dinners, and better yet, the random Saturday lunches and movie nights that crop up at a moment’s notice.
And as for travel? I cherish the one-way ticket to a continent of unknown proportions, but now I can shift focus to smaller scales. For now, I will give up the endless wander, and focus on getting to know finite spaces, at home, and abroad.
I look forward to exploring the museums, exhibits, hikes, and niches of the San Francisco Bay Area. And I will spend the rest of this month on an island, learning from and about its people, then come straight home.
I wasn’t a complete tourist before, in the most negative interpretation of the word, and have been blessed to meet and know many people. But there’s a layer of insulation that can creep in when your road seems endless; by belonging everywhere and nowhere, you get just that.
Yesterday, I belonged here. Tomorrow, I will belong in…another place. (I’ll tell you about that There when I get back to this Here.)
Right now I’m poised at the fulcrum, belonging to both, to neither, to everything.
I anticipate no internet connection for the rest of the month, but I’ve scheduled blogs to post every three days, a mix of travel and Home. I hope you can enjoy them both. The way I do.