I think one of the reasons I have always been so attracted to travel as well as reading is the escape both activities allow me to have. When you’re reading an enthralling book, you feel like you’re alive in it. You’re not paying attention to the outside world. You go to sleep at night thinking about what’s going to happen next. Every once in a while, that craving drives you to being cuddled up in bed with a flashlight when you just can’t take the suspense any longer.
I guess I’m kind of that way with travel too.
When I’m getting ready for a big trip, I like to start packing my things far in advance. I’ll make a list first. I start with how many days and nights I’ll be where I’m going. Then scribble down the essentials, knowing that those won’t be packed until last because, well, they’re essential, and I likely use them daily. Then I start planning outfits. Of course I glance at the weather, but I always bring a few extra of warmer and cooler options in case the meteorologists aren’t so accurate.
I can barely get to sleep before I have to get on a plane. I have only slept on the way to somewhere once–to Italy, because I had to for jet lag reasons–the anticipation just eats at me. I love it.
Maybe this is all because I’m excited to go somewhere new and learn new things and wonder at amazing sights.
Maybe it’s because I’m excited to leave what is often very mundane.
I think it’s good to pack up your things and get away. Not to relax or rejuvenate but to open your mind periodically. You need new ideas, new inspiration, new insight sometimes.
My mother would tell you she has always known I wouldn’t live in the United States when I got old enough. She would tell you she always expected me to be off in the jungle somewhere and not hear from me for a few months. That was when I was little. I think anyone could say the same of me now. If I had those opportunities, I would jump on that plane in less than a heartbeat.
I do often get bored with just daily life. Sometimes it isn’t the most fascinating and it can be kind of dull. Other times it can be horrific and I want to leave it all forever and move to an isolated place where everyone there is peaceful (I’m sure those places exist).
Earlier this morning though, I walked outside and it was still drizzling. The sky was really gray and everything on the ground was bright green. I was walking to get into my car and I looked around. I thought to myself: Isn’t that awesome? Stuff is growing. We are on a planet where things grow. I’m sick with some throat infection that has the ability to grow inside my body, which grew, on an earth that grew things. I smiled and went on my way.
I love that though. Even though I’ve been in Columbia for 2-and-a-half years now, I am still in awe of some things. On occasion they are things that apply anywhere, but sometimes it’s my school. I’ve been known to be walking to class and just smirk and think to myself that I love college.
You can escape within your own location, though. From time to time, I escape into my own thoughts. I’m a pretty talkative person, but I’m actually an introvert. I escape into my room when I’m at home. I very much enjoy being by myself. I don’t know if enough people know the value of independence and solitude.
One day, I will be lucky enough to meet a forest monk, I think, and I’ll ask him if I can meditate in the monastery somewhere on my own. It will be astonishing, I’ll bet. I did take a Buddhism class last semester. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though bits confused the hell out of me. It’s very complex, needless to say.
Escaping is something I love to do. I think I’ll always love doing it. I just have to hope that I will have a thousand more opportunities to do so.