I don’t know why other people travel. There are all kinds of reasons to do so, I guess. Some of them are really great, some of them are total shit. Apparently there’s been a huge uptick in global travel and tourism in recent years and I find it fascinating in a morbid kind of way. I want to dissect it and see what’s going on and there are all kinds of plausible theories from oil prices to the balance of power and privilege to the sick slow bloom of globalism that offers the tantalizing chance for each and every one of us to be worldly and cultured beyond our bounds. (Not actually each and every one of us, I’m being sarcastic.)
I’ve seen Digital Nomadism become a thing and the idea of “Gypsy” become romanticized whereas in the very, very recent past both nomads and gypsies of every creed were derided for their lifestyles and frowned upon and persecuted by “fine upstanding civilized society.”
What the serious fuck is this all about.
I don’t know. I’ve dabbled in it all. I am a shameless rambler, myself. No, that’s not quite right. There is often something akin to shame creeping under my skin. I think it’s married to the anxiety. I am a traveler with constant and perpetual travel anxiety and stress. I keep pushing myself through these things because I think surely eventually I’ll get used to it. It will feel normal. I’ll learn to go with the flow a little better and it won’t twist my nerves in knots every time. So far, after maybe fifteenish or so years of this…it still does. And I still keep doing it because I don’t know what else to do with myself.
That’s the only reason I travel. I just don’t know what else to do.
Other people have set up careers or they go the family route or they find a cause they feel passionate about and it grows into their soul like some permanent part of themselves. I’ve never had any of that. I feel passionately about things often and invest myself heavily into various projects, but I am not a lifetime cause kind of girl. Everything I learn and read and experience shifts my perspective; sometimes incrementally, sometimes violently. And it changes how I interact with the things that matter to me. I don’t think this is an unreasonable way for a human being to react to the world around them—we should all be analyzing the information coming in to us and adjusting accordingly.
But it does make life difficult. Especially when you’ve never entrenched yourself into any one culture or lifestyle that you’re forced to commit to for extraneous reasons.
Here’s the nuts and bolts of things as they stand now: Way back in March I went out on a limb and booked a big trip with a flight to Barcelona and then a transatlantic cruise from the Canary Islands to Panama. In July, shit kind ofhit the fan in Mexico and I decided I needed a break (so. much. drama) so I hauled up to Alaska with plans to drive my RV down to Seattle to meet with business partners and then hop to LAX for that Barcelona flight. I ignored the fact that funds were running low and I had absolutely zero faith in myself driving my 1978 Toyota Dolphin (stick shift) from Anchorage, Alaska to Seattle, Washington all on my lonesome. It’d all work out somehow, right?
Well, yesterday I had a moment of reckoning in the way of a mild panic attack after jolting my way across town in the RV, clearly indicating I have no business attempting to drive the thing in traffic without further lessons. I sat in a Wal-Mart parking lot for four hours trying to work up the nerve to drive it back to my friend’s house and finally he came and picked me up to try again today. Upon attempting to retrieve said motorhome today, we discover it had been towed. TOWED. Overnight. From a Wal-Mart parking lot which has long since been the iconic redneck urban boondocking mecca.
I’m not really one to believe in “signs” per se. But after the things that transpired in Mexico to make me feel like I needed a break, and the shit that’s going on here now…I feel like I’m doing something wrong in life. I don’t know what to do except keep at it, keep going. If I stop…it’ll be a hard stop and I don’t know what it might require to recover from that.
I don’t know how to fix it alljust now, so I’ve paid the piper and I hit the road ASAP headed South. It’s all I know to do. I’m feeling very…human. Almost fragile, even. There are many worse things happening in the world at this moment, but my own hard won mortality feels like it’s rising to the top at the moment. Kind of bubbling under the surface in thick viscous boils that could pop at any moment. Who knows.
Wish me luck.