Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Travel

I love to travel. Rather, I love to see new places and people. That isn’t tied merely to a trip. Anyone who knows me well, knows I can sit at a table near the sidewalk and be happily distracted for hours watching the people go by. I always have loved that, and this city feeds this distraction like few other places, of course.


Here I can watch hundreds of countries, heritages, customs swirl about me as I stand still at any corner of the city. The orthodox man, dressed fully in black, careful not to touch me as he navigates past. The Indian woman, herding her children before her, her skirts and rings creating a magical music and dance in her wake. It seems there is no country, no point of view, no precious custom overlooked here. We are all thousands of miles from where we started here, making a home amidst the wonder and strangeness of a new foreign place.

And while I do love my home here with all my heart, I do know the only way to truly see the world - where all these beautiful people and their customs come from - is to actually go. To traverse the miles the city has misleadingly condensed to the lands across the seas, across the continents.

When I was first out of college that was my goal, to reach the point where I could fly to Rome as easily as to LA. I was lucky enough to have jobs where I could (and often did) hop a plane whenever I felt the urge. But I never made it past the borders. I flew to California, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York (so many times I lost count) to name but a few. I adored going places, exploring new cities and towns.

That, of course, came to an abrupt stop when I decided to move here. Going to school full-time, working full-time and living alone in this uber-expensive city made it next to impossible to travel anywhere but home for holidays and an occasional trip to Chicago to visit old friends.

But now, thankfully, Sam and I are in the blessed position to go places. To travel. To see the world as I had wanted to all those years ago. But things have changed, somehow. Where I used to blindly and gladly jump on a plane, bags barely packed, book in hand with no more thought than if I had remembered perhaps my ID; I now hesitate. I now take deep breaths while waiting in line, get horribly nervous on take off, cross my fingers and close my eyes as we land.

I have so much more now to lose, is the difference. Before, there was nothing but the next destination, the next adventure. I was living a good life. I was happy. And I figured if something went wrong, that good life was enough.

It's not anymore. Flying has never been my favorite way of traveling from place to place, but these past couple years it has truly become something I only do because I need to. Because it's easy and time efficient. Because it's necessary. Now, today, I have so much to lose. My life is better than I had ever imagined it could be, but I'm not ready to accept my fate anymore. I find myself increasingly saying a silent prayer to the gods that be, "Please, please, keep me safe. I want more time with this man - we have so much more to do and see. Please keep us both safe."


I chide myself, of course. It's silly. Selfish, ridiculous to think such things. But I know, that never will I board another plane without closing my eyes and saying a silent request. Our map has just been started; we have so many more pins to put in. This world, so small out our window, is so vast. And I want us to see every bit of it, together.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

Thank you so much for writing this. I never used to get scared flying and since I married Andy, I get nervous everytime, really nervous. You put it beautifully and make me feel normal.
My Grandma passed away last weekend, I was in Kansas for 4 days for the funeral. It was sad, but good to family and snow!