I’m homesick. I think there’s probably some commandment about places travel bloggers aren’t supposed to go. I mean, it does sound a bit pretentious when I say things like “But I don’t want to go to Africa for the third time in six months” or “my back is just so messed up from all the international travel I’ve had as of late.”
But here’s a bit of truth: By June 1, the total mileage I will have flown since January 1 will be just over 80,000 miles. To give perspective, that’s like LA to New York, round-trip, more than 16 times. When I look at it like that, it’s easy to see how I am getting homesick when traveling. In a one month span alone, I made three separate trips between the USA and South America. And while I loved my visits to Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina, I also found myself longing for my humble little one bedroom apartment.
So this I’ve learned over the past few months:
1. Getting old sucks. My back hurts in places I didn’t know my back could hurt. I find myself craving a massage like a middle-aged woman.
2. Movies, over time, also begin to suck. I am running out of movies to watch on airplanes. The other day, I watched something with Keanu Reeves. First, I didn’t know he was still acting. And second, after watching this film, I can’t figure out why he is still allowed to act.
3. Loneliness can be good for you. I am an introvert at heart, so usually time alone is something I look forward to. While I dislike the tight confines of airplanes, I like the solitude they bring me. I find myself reading the words on the pages of my book more intentionally, relaxed and in no rush. I think a lot. I write, I find time for just being present to myself that I can often “busy myself out of” when I am back at home. And so when I do struggle to be alone, I find something most wonderful about the experience: It makes me more appreciative of the people back home. I write notes to them. I think more gratefully about them. In short, I cherish the community I have, and appreciate that so much upon my return home.
I am heading out to East Africa. It’s a trip I have truly only been able to dream of since I first truly got the travel bug 11 years ago. And I am traveling with a great group of students who as always, provide me so much hope and positivity. But I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that I am really excited for the month of June to arrive, when I find myself with no international travel plans for the immediate future. It will be the first time in three years I have been in the USA for longer than a 30 day period.
I travel for the reminder of what a miracle everyday can be. I see new things, meet interesting people, and experience life outside the comfort of my own familiar settings. Little miracles are what keep us going back, facing those funky stomach bugs, those ever shrinking economy seats, and those “I hope that never happens again” moments we encounter on the road. But the little miracle I am most excited about is back in LA, keeping my wife company in our little apartment. He’ll be born in a couple of months, further disrupting my ability to travel near and far. And you know what, I am OK with that. But until then, I’m blessed with the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream. Rwanda and Tanzania, here we come! And come June, I look forward to being rooted back in LA, in so many ways!