Saturday, December 25, 2010

Travel Makes You Happy?

Travel makes me happy. I enjoy traveling. It's odd, because if you break traveling down, many of the essential parts seem to be downright unpleasant. You get lost. A lot. You exchange the comfort of your home for smaller, ill-equipped digs. You don't have your bed. You don't have your pillow. You don't have your familiar foods. You have to concern yourself with the things that you take for granted at home.

And yet I love it. I love the anticipation of travel. I love to read the travel books. I love to look at the maps. I used to love the airport. I still love train stations and have a fondness of sorts even for a bus station.

When I reached my last year of high school, and I got a drivers license, I became eager to move. I began to drive around, relatively long distances, spending six or eight hours driving places. I kept driving around when I went to college, and I took buses and trains, too.

A friend and I drove to California one summer from New Jersey, and then we drove back. 9,000 miles in 12 days. We hadn't been there. We hadn't planned it well, running out of money and not even being able to pay tolls at the end.

I rode trains on the old Eurorail Pass one summer, often sleeping in the compartments to save money. For nourishment there was bread and cheese and wine. I was often filthy, and rarely very clean. And it bothered me not at all.

Take me out of my comfort zone, force me to live surrounded by novelty. There will be suffering, I will suffer. It's not really traveling unless you have points of suffering which serve as counterpoint to the points of extreme joy. I will complain. But if I'm not happy, I don't want to go home, I want to go somewhere else.

The old road has always appealed to me. I can't wait to get going on this one.


  1. You and your friend, slept in the car with the were both so happy!

  2. ...when all the golden land's ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you're alive to see?

  3. Caralee - we were young and thrilled and we argued and shouted and laughed, without food to eat, but there was plenty of gas for the car, and that was what counted.

    Michelle - What's your road, man?--holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It's an anywhere road for anybody anyhow.
    At some point I shall shamelessly pay homage to dear departed foolish genius JK. He takes up a great space in my heart.

  4. I love traveling too. It's a lot different now with two kids than it was as a young backpacker. Less spontaneity, less freedom, but fun in its own way.

  5. Travel is a totally different experience with children. It requires more careful planning, but there is so much pleasure in seeing them enjoy something special. Also, it never gets boring.

  6. This post is the Bryan I know and love :-) Once in college, for a year, Bryan decided to accept every invitation offered him, no matter what/where/who....

    What adventures must have come of that attitude.

    I was so in awe I never forgot.

  7. I hope that I will not be accepting every invitation in the souks and marketplaces! We can't carry everything like that!