One of the oldest songs on my iPod is this slightly otherworldly Peter Gabriel track. It’s about being on the road for a long time, and perhaps it’s no surprise that it’s been stuck in my head for a while now.
That last breathless, earnest blog entry about seeing the world and getting good at living out of suitcases? It was true, but it wasn’t the whole story.
For the first time in my life, I’m tired of traveling, and I really don’t know how to process that.
See, one of my defining characteristics — in my own mind, at least — is my love of travel. New places and people and experiences bring me to life. I’m frequently at my best when I’m on the road, because I am actively engaging with the world. My personality’s brighter, I’m more playful and willing to take risks, and my observational skills are sharper due to the constant influx of new information. Taking notes on all this novelty is a necessary part of the process, and some of my best writing has come from what I’ve scrawled in my travel notebooks through the years. Hell, look at my blog title — it’s a grammatically-incorrect family shorthand for “wandering off in search of adventure.”
But I sort of…don’t want to do that right now. I’ve barely had time to read through all those notes I’ve taken. My own thoughts have seemed to be the sort of middle school teachers criticize in book reports: all summary, no analysis. I’ve not had much time for depth, lately — I’m so focused on absorbing all the details I can that sifting through them has had to be postponed. It’s exhausting, and I’m exhausted. It’s a natural part of a semester-long program like this, I should imagine, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be countered.
So the next free weekend I get, I am very deliberately going to do nothing. And by nothing, I mean refuse to go anywhere that isn’t Riva San Vitale. I’d like to camp out in the garden for a while (the weather’s finally turning warm and the buds on the trees are all going pink) and sort through this arsenal of travel notes, and just be quiet and calm for a while. With all the travel to these spectacularly beautiful places we’ve been doing (the famous ruins in Greece, the rush of big cities over spring break, the raw beauty of volcanoes in Naples) it’ll be good to spend some time with the lower-key but lovely aspects of life here in Ticino.
I’m sure I’ll be ready for my next adventure shortly. Travel is in my blood, and I expect to recover my enthusiasm for taxis and trains and tall buildings very soon. But for the time being, I think I’ll just stick to checking out the gelato shop on the corner. I understand their stracciatella can’t be beat.