Monday, May 13, 2013

Keep on rolling under the stars

 Despite my surrendering the last two days to actually living my life, I can't help but feel guilty for not blogging and I feel compelled to apologize (to myself) for missing it. But in my ongoing quest to become an adult (I'll get there any day now), I'm training myself to both apologize and to accept apologies. So, onward...

 “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”
Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll

I've been thinking quite a bit about travel lately since I will be doing some this summer for work and am going away in mid September for a long vacation and I enjoy planning the travel almost as much as I love arriving at my destination and then back home again when it's time. 

And it just so happened that I also just read this wonderful article in the New York Times Style Magazine written by a travel writer on the benefits of traveling alone. I have never really traveled to far away places alone, though I'm not opposed to it, seeing as I do quite a bit of things alone when I am in my familiar surroundings. But this author made the case for me in a big way. In fact he writes about travel in general in such a beautiful and relatable way. Here are some things that truly resonated with me:

"Show me the world, says the group traveler. And show me two weeks when I don't have to think. Fair enough. But not for me: I want to think new things on holiday and the best way to do that is to go it alone, allowing yourself a space--a beautiful space, with any luck--that is circumscribed neither by your need to perform nor your need to blame."

"I wasn't on these travels for visions or transformation, but simply to feel the force of the world, for a day, for a night, as it operates outside the chatter of commerce or media or mass psychology. I love these things, but not on holiday, when one might hope for a place where you can resist the temptation to be drowned out. "
Although I did not travel alone to Paris alone, the best parts of that trip were the parts where I could wander and think and process everything I was experiencing and seeing. Thankfully I had wonderful traveling companions who also cherished this and they just happened to be people I love dearly. However, I definitely see how this could be amplified if I was going solo. I completely see the appeal. The last time I traveled alone was when I was sent to a conference in Denver. When I did the sightseeing outside of my work duties, I felt precisely what he describes: the force of the world presented itself to me clearly because I was without distraction. My brain, usually on observation overdrive in its natural state, goes into hyper-drive when left to my own devices. I love the idea of letting it wander freely through someplace completely new.

He also says this (which I think applies to all kinds of travel, not just solo):

The wanderlust of the solo traveler doesn't kill homesickness, it partners it, making the vacation all the better for involving one's profound wish to go home to normal life a little changed.

I haven't really been able to ever put into so eloquent words why I love to travel and this is so concise and lovely that I wanted to share it and encourage you to read the article in its entirety.

And as I sit at the tail end of my workaday work day, my mind is overwhelmed in the knowledge that there is nowhere to go but everywhere.

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