(on travel)

vda.jpgYou read, dream, plan, save. You make itineraries, book tickets and rooms, buy oh-so-essential travel gadgets that you simply cannot be without.

You wait. Dream. Plan. Save. Read.

You wait some more.

You exchange money. You examine and stroke and smile at the foreign bills, their color, size, texture, different to what you are used to.

You buy new clothes. You wash, iron, fold. You count tops and underwear. You write lists. You take out, put back.

You put your suitcase in the middle of the room and open it. You look at the suitcase, at the piles of gadgets and carefully folded and counted clothes, shake your head, shed a tear, pour a glass of wine.

You print booking confirmations and timetables, check money and passports and phone chargers.

You shower. Try to sleep. Wake up ridiculously early and go over everything again, just to be safe.

Then you go.

And then you come back.

You come back, starry-eyed and tanned, senses overflowing with scents, sights, flavors, and sounds of faraway places. You have seen beauty beyond compare. You have become familiar with the term foodgasm. You have been dirty, sweaty, blistered, dead tired. You have philosophized on the beach, walked hand in hand, dressed up, kissed at sunset. You have smiled, giggled, laughed with your entire body. Kissed again.

You come back a new person, for how could you remain the same?

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”
– Pat Conroy

You come back new, better, bigger, with fresh memories of faraway places. How could anything remain the same? But the same songs are still playing on the radio. People are still talking about the same things that they talked about before you left. Nothing has changed. Those weeks you were gone, filled with more beautiful memories than you can count, passed by unnoticed in your hometown. Are you back already? they ask. Already? You have been gone for a lifetime. I have no desire to travel, some say, and you can’t help but pity them. How sad, you think to yourself. If they only knew!

You come back, and your hometown feels small, old, far too far away from the real world.

Nothing has changed, yet nothing is the same.

Nothing has changed, but you.

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
– Miriam Beard

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12 Responses to “(on travel)”

  1. Gil says:

    Annika, This has to be one of the best things that I have ever read written by you! Not only did you write it from your heart, but it is so easy to relate to by others that have planned and taken a dream trip. It is great that you and your family are taking these trips while you are young and healthy!!!!

  2. And it doesn’t matter from where you traveled or to where you traveled, unless you bought yourself a canned experience. Might as well not have bothered in that case. But you did experience us, and we wish you could come more often, stay longer, get around more.
    Judith of Umbria\’s last blog post ..Fegatelli, ancora for a snowy day

  3. WOW!!! I LOVE this Annika! What an amazing post. You’ve put it into words so eloquently and from the heart. <3

  4. nicki says:

    Time to start planning for next time! The house seems empty without you! xxx

  5. I loved your piece. It brought me back to my first idyllic trip to Italy in 1992, the point where my life changed, not abruptly but almost unnoticeably until nothing at all was the same as before.

    I wish you greater adventures of the soul.

  6. Annika– I admit I have not been the best reader, but coming to your blog and reading this post…wow. I know now I can’t miss these nuggets of gold! So simply written with so much meaning. Carol King says that is the way you can tell someone is a great writer :)
    Em from Ribollita Reboiled\’s last blog post ..Horrible Dreams

    • Annika says:

      Aw thank you Em! I don’t write that often these days… I still read other people’s blogs, but I rarely comment. I should start commenting again, though, because it means the world to know that someone out there reads and is touched by your words. xx

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