At the age of 57, it isn’t quite the same as for this twenty-something, although I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the sentiments.
The Worst Part of Traveling is Coming Home (Perpetual Wanderlust)
Before I had left for Southeast Asia someone had told me that the worst part of traveling is coming home and having the travel bug. I didn’t truly understand the gravity of that statement until I had returned home after traveling and living in Southeast Asia for six months. You leave your home country to be a part of something different, to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, to find yourself. When you come home, everyone asks, “how was your trip?” as if you went on vacation to Florida for a few weeks – not fully understanding the crazy, beautiful, meaningful experience that was your “trip”.
It seems that the older you become, the more you have to come home to, in need of tending: families, pets, work and obligations. Finally you reach an age where these demands have receded — and so have you.
Consequently, I’ve never felt the first pang of regret that I traded “normal” Southern Indiana existence for the chance to travel when I was in my twenties. Opportunities were lost, and other gained; overall, the balance suits me.
Then in my thirties and forties, I was able to parlay relative (trust me) success in business into further opportunities to wander. These days, I’m doing it again, just without the business … quite yet.
Who needs money for retirement when he never planned on retiring, anyway?
One wishes to recapture the innocence, but it’s like trying to forget what you know about playing a musical instrument, which is to say you can’t unlearn what you already grokked. The thrill is gone, but it hasn’t gone away. The rewards are more mature, accepting and knowing.
We’ve changed a lot, Europe and me, but we’re still a team.
Later this evening, everyday life at home will resume. If experience is to be trusted, my psychic batteries will be recharged, at least for a little while. We’ll see what happens next, for so long as next time comes around.
As noted previously, Dossier #37 likely will be remembered as an elegiac journey, though not to say mournful or melancholy. The past year has been a hard one in the sense of saying goodbye to family members and friends who were destined not to experience the “next” time. All I can do is carry their memories forward as best I can, and I will.
It will be good to be back. It will be better to leave again, next time. To my closer friends among you, simply this: don’t ever allow me to read Alan Moore’s novel Jerusalem at such a juncture in my life, ever again.
It was a wonderful book, to be sure (thanks Jon), but a little metaphysics goes a long way. I departed for the trip terrified that I’d find myself gliding through the streets of Amsterdam, hallucinating about stairways to Mansoul, and searching desperately for a cluster of Puck’s Hats.
If this really occurred, there’ll be a likely culprit — and I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.