Collectively, we romanticise the idea of traveling. Experiencing new cultures. Being somewhere new. All the memories and stories we can share.
Traveling sucks, it does. Airports are messy, going on and off them is time consuming. Packing a suitcase is a nightmare — it’s a last minute activity that I drag for hoooours and end up packing way to much, or way to little. The list is endless, carrying your luggage around, shady cab rides in the middle of the night, the credit card issues blocking you from moving on with your trip, and those pillows that are either too soft or too hard – oh boy I’m privileged.
Of course, I’m writing this on a plane, with someone’s leg rubbing against mine – I’m lovin' it. These days, I enjoy the time spent on a plane, no internet, no distractions. I use it to write some notes – it’s me time.
My sister and I had a wonderful few days at Azores. It was amazing to bound with her and discover a new place together. We bonded for hours on the road while karaoking, and over food on the many restaurants we visited. We projected new trips for the future, and it’s like the chaos of traveling was never there.
Traveling is an opportunity to immerse ourselves in a different culture. Part of this cultural exchange comes through food. Bounding over a meal gets me closer with someone – it’s hard to match. Around food, it’s easier to speak with people that I may have nothing in common with – it opens me up to new experiences. I like asking what they are having, and order alike. I challenge myself to say yes to that nasty dish. It’s a mini adventure, ordering something I would never order on my own. It's either a story to tell or a new favourite flavour to discover.
We can have similar experiences locally. Visiting a restaurant we’ve never been. Allowing the sever to pick the food for us. Have a conversation with someone next to us. Traveling echoes this feeling in me. I’m unsure what frees me up abroad, I'm more open to explore and to plan less. Does it come from laziness or am I tapping in into my dormant inner explorer?
I live a comfortable life, I have my routine and plan most of my days. When traveling, I live in chaos, it’s like I’m a different being. I’m comfortable in this temporary chaos, and temporary is the right balance for me. I’m comfortable speaking with strangers, and having experiences that my comfortable routine doesn’t set me up for. I don’t look forward to travel, but I always look back to those memories.
Jumping on a plane always reminds me of a poster from one of the many wonderful Anthony Bourdain shows. On the background, you can read a poster that says “be a traveler, not a tourist” – I love that quote. I don’t identify with this idea of a “tourist”. When I’m somewhere new, I like to explore, to get lost, to dive in as if I live there for that short moment in time. Traveling is exhausting. Exploring and embracing the chaos brings me joy. Some of the most beautiful memories I have unfold from the chaos.
Until the next adventure, get lost. Traveling is meant to be romanticised when you get back home.
PS: I’m already draining the task of repacking this week. How does one keep sanity and clean clothes with back to back flights?