Since my last blog post I traveled internationally for the first time in almost seven months. That period of time represents the longest time I’ve stayed in one country since 2008, I think. It was a weird experience for a number of reasons and made me reflect a lot on travel and being stationary.
In some ways I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve liked not traveling. Or, rather, I think that my lifestyle of nearly constant travel caused me to forget about the benefits of staying still. Staying in Vegas I’ve enjoyed seeing the seasons change, connecting a little bit more with local people, having a rock-solid routine, and doing projects that require longer sustained periods of time.
That said, I have of course been dying to travel.
The first thing that surprised me was what a big deal it felt like to travel. Before COVID I would go all over the place with very little planning, but planning a 3 day trip to Mexico felt like a big deal. It gave me a little glimpse of how most people think of trips as “big deals”.
Once I got on the plane, though, it felt normal again. I was practically giddy going through immigration and customs, which is certainly not how I normally feel about the process.
I was surprised at how quickly my Spanish came back to me and how much fun it was to speak it. I probably hadn’t been to a Spanish speaking country in over a year, so it was like this portion of my brain got to wake back up.
The biggest thing I felt, though, was that my world was so small without travel. I felt like I had been cooped up in a bedroom for seven months and was only now allowed to walk around the whole house. Saying that my world felt small sounds like a bad thing, but it isn’t entirely bad. I think I got to know Vegas and the people and things in it better because I was there for so long.
In a normal year I fly between my usual places: Tokyo, Budapest, Hawaii, Vegas, Halifax, a few other places where I don’t have homes like London, New York, and Chengdu, and some random one-off places. Throughout the year I see all of my friends, most of whom don’t live in Vegas. I see all of the seasons, usually multiple times and in a weird staggered order, I visit many of my family members a few times per year, and I see pretty every climate.
A few days before I went to Mexico I realized I hadn’t seen rain in months. I’m not necessarily someone who craves a lot of rain, but I found myself yearning to sit at the window seat in Zhao Zhou, looking out over a rainy Budapest.
While I didn’t take the privilege of getting to travel all the time for granted, I took a lot of these little details for granted. You don’t crave rain until you don’t see it for months, and you don’t miss your friends until you don’t see them for a while, either.
I don’t see myself doing a lot of international travel in the near future, mainly because the borders are closed everywhere I would normally go. But this one little international trip helped remind me what I’m missing out on and how eager I am to be able to expand my world again. It also helped me appreciate even more just how great I had it when I was flying around several times a month, and will hopefully make me even more grateful for it when it comes back.
Oh, and I lost my earphones going through security, which I think is the first time I’ve ever lost anything going through security. I guess you do lose it if you don’t use it.
Photo is the Parochia in San Miguel de Allende. I flew my drone really far there.