“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
There is so much for me to tell you. There’s the conference I spoke at in Manchester with some pretty fantastic people last week. There is the amazing opportunity for work that I have right now pushing my own boundaries to places a sherpa is necessary. There are the stories from Japan, where I am now, working with a team of people who are brilliant and outspoken, winning clients and conducting business in which I am proud to be part of.
I’ve been on 8 planes in less than two weeks. I’ve touched three continents, four time zones. If I was to write down my perfect life, it would include these two weeks of chaos, exhaustion, work, people, sleeplessness. I am happier than I have been in a long time, finally actualizing dreams.
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
So much of my twenties was spent reading travel books. I would camp out in the “Travel Essay” isle at Powells and read through books and essays of people living their lives in a variety of cultures. During insecure times, difficult decisions, uncertainty, I always open these books, my favorites, to read quotes of travel, searching, finding, learning.
Finally, I write my own chapter.
Finally, I go. I go. I go.
There is a misunderstanding surrounding people with a strong travel instinct. It is less about running than it is about being present. I fly, yes, I run, yes, but ultimately my flight, my path, is to something greater than that which I left. I am seeking to be here, in this space, in this strange country with new smells and people I can not understand or words I can not read. I am here at a shrine, I am here at this restaurant. I am here at this train station lost in a sea of people. I am talking to these people, I am experiencing their world. I am grateful to be here, right now, in this space. I am on the wrong side of the road again, I am lost in my life but I am here, presently, realizing my “lost.”
I will take this home with me, I will not forget what I learn while I am gone. I will remind myself to be present in my own country, surrounded by people I love, who are familiar, who know me. I will stand on the proper side of the street, I will understand the menus, the signs, the streets. I will be there, in full, knowing I will leave again. And I will leave again. I will repeat this pattern until I can no longer breathe the air of our world, until I can barely shuffle the lines at the airport. I will be this person, having shed my uncertainty, and when I wake up in my life after this one, I will hold not a single regret; for those I met in every country, those strangers who became friends, those cuisines that became familiar, will always be a part of who I am, who my children know, who my grandchildren will strive to be.
At least, that is what I hope for. Perhaps, even, one day my children’s children will stand in a travel isle at their book store reading a story of their Grandmother and maybe, I can dream as much, they, too, will go. They will go. They will go.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain