[Not the name of a hip, pretentious restaurant]
As time cruises toward my moment departure for my next venture – a little over two months in Myanmar – the dual nature of a travel-filled life becomes more poignant, more sharp. Life at home is pleasant and joyful and comfortable… but I know there’s more out there that I feel compelled to go out and experience. Yet, when I am preparing to leave, the wonderful things that I leave behind seem even more vivid in stark relief against the prospect of being away. I suppose I shall always feel unsatisfied… [cheeky grin].
Two months seemed like a negligible little hop for me when I was doing fieldwork for my PhD, but it’s actually now been a solid 4 years since I’ve been on a trip longer than 4 weeks. And my life at home has grown ever richer and more meaningful to me. So, I am finding it difficult to be somewhat nonchalant about leaving for somewhat extended periods of time.
Freya Stark, awe-inspiring traveler, scholar, and writer, wrote: “The beckoning counts, not the latch clicking behind you.” These words have helped keep my focus on a productive, positive track. And the beckoning is getting stronger and stronger – I find myself grinning widely about my upcoming trip, about going back to Bangkok (one of my favorite cities in the world) and stuffing my face at the ongoing vegetarian festival there, about visiting the wondrous and well-known tourist sites in Myanmar, about reconnecting with friends and places in Yangon and Mawlamyine, and about learning and growing.
But sometimes, preemptive nostalgia for “the latch” catches me unaware, and I feel that ol’ tug on the heart…
It’s a fortunate situation to be in: to have a home life that is so great that it’s hard to leave, even when that departure is for a fantastic jaunt to an amazing country. I’m continually grateful for everything that I have here in San Diego – especially the wonderful souls who are a part of my life and who evoke so much joy and inspire so much growth. It’s been a bit of a strange, scattered year with all of my hopping back and forth between here and Mexico, but I was able to have some truly meaningful, quality time with my loved ones. Savoring the relief of cool ocean water on dreamy hot days as we share waves, belly laughing and sharing dreams and ideas over food or while languidly lounging, relishing soulful music played by talented friends, and otherwise enjoying San Diego together… it’s been a particularly glorious past few weeks, and I’ll be looking back upon it fondly during my upcoming trip.
Thanks, friends and family… I love ya.