I’ve been back from my trip to Northern Thailand for barely two weeks; next Monday, we leave for Kaua’i. Back in December, when I reflected on what I wanted to have happen in this, my 50th year of life, I knew some travel was in the cards. But I never expected, barely half way through 2005, that I would already have been to Alabama, Mississippi, and New Orleans/Louisiana; Thailand and Laos; and now the Garden Isle of Hawai’i, on the horizon next week and southeastern Alaska in June. When it rains it pours? Well, it might be raining in Kaua’i and there was a lucky rainstorm the first day of songkran, the Thai New Year’s festival, when we were in Thaeng’s village of Ban Na Sam. And it rained here in the Coast Range of Oregon yesterday and the best moment of my Sunday was going outside during the downpour to smell the air, a mixture of compost and fir pollen and dirt.
I’m not complaining about getting to run around the world just now. Travel definitely puts me into Zen mode: I surrender daily routines, my desire to be productive, and try to be a good, now aged hippie, going with the flow. Still, it’s hard to sit still and feel like I want to be doing much of anything focused re: writing when I’m between trips and there’s a suitcase to fill, travel guides to read, a house instructions list to edit for the person who will be here to take care of the cats.
I don’t know how people travel day in and out for business. I like having at least a few weeks, a pause between one adventure and the next. Come to think of it, when I had to travel for business in my past life, I hated it. I often lost interest in the meeting of conference within the first couple of days and sought excuses to bug out, learn a bit more about where I had landed, even if it was somewhere less than wonderful like Denver or Indianapolis. There’s loveliness and detail to be found wandering just about any spot on this globe.
That’s why I like to think of travel as flow rather than destination. No expectations. Go, open your eyes, and see.
The public domain image above is a 1929 map of the League of Nations by George Phillip & Son of London, England.