Over-wrought ponderings on travel: what defines it, what orbits it, and all the ways to explore it
This is one of my favorite pieces I’ve read from this blog. There are more killer sentences and interesting thoughts than I can count (and as soon as I saw the Anthony Bourdain mention, I knew I was in for a good one). I’ll list some of the stuff I loved most here:
- the idea that novelty can appear “like a rabbit in a hat or be consciously cultivated or temporarily injected into our lives”
- the novelty that greets us when we travel is “a special, mystical force” that “prompts us to put things in our mouth we otherwise wouldn’t” (and your use of the word “bewitch” for this is very on-the-nose)
- the idea that demarcating between real life and vacation is a way for us to escape from parts of ourselves (“knighting ourselves the plan-it-all fun master” — extremely relatable, but uniquely put)
- “when you travel… you have to both lose and integrate yourself into the new environment. You have to balance observing with participating.” Really powerful insight.
- “I’d screw on a smile” such good verb choice.
- “I started to wear indifference like a suit of armor…” I think this is a very keen observation of the effects of the 9-5 lifestyle, and something that is probably relatable to more people than who are willing to admit it.
- “We fear as coming off unavailable, aloof, or inflexible: marks worse than the scarlet letter in the workplace.” Wow.
- The entire “Lately, I’ve longed to laundry” paragraph. Beautiful.
- The “chair that knows how to support and hold me in all the right places.” YES.
- “In the spaces where familiarity is normally kept but remains missing, loneliness and nostalgia take up residence.” This is one of the most relatable lines I’ve ever read, which perfectly punctuates this entire piece.
My one critique of this piece is that I wonder how it would feel if it ended at the sentence above — not because I don’t love what you included after, but because I think your thoughts on what lay ahead of you post-return feel meaty and compelling enough to make-up a separate piece. (Also, I really enjoyed your intro note and the wire headphones metaphor.)
You should be so proud of this.