Traveling is work. It can be frustrating, terrifying, lonely, exciting and everything else. You forget to eat, and struggle to sleep, and try to figure out how to be brave in between. You’re dependent on a language that isn’t yours. You check and double-check and hope you get on the right train, going the right way, at the right time, to see the right city.
And here’s the thing, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you don’t get on the right train or go to the right hotel or eat the right food. Sometimes you end up at the wrong place with too much luggage and not enough sleep and it’s all you can do to not sit on the curb and cry. Sometimes you get sick in a German hospital in the middle of a Turkish city or miss your flight in a Spanish airport. There are times when you can’t figure out how to turn the lights on in your hotel room so you use the mini-fridge light as your lamp. You rent a car, you get lost, and it’s hours before you reach your destination.* You do your best, and your best is awkward, and tired, and so unhelpful.
So those travelers who are “good” at this whole thing? They’re constantly learning, pushing, living with the awkwardness, loneliness, unsettling moments, and embracing them as part of the journey. They get lost and sick and scared, but they realize that’s part of the trip—heck, it’s part of life—and it’s reason enough for a passport.
The gift of the trip is the opportunity to do those things that terrify us but remind us we are strong and brave and connected to this life. So that is why I love the journey. It’s why I’ll say yes again, and again, and again.
It is why I took a train to Blair Atholl, a place I’d never been and knew nothing about. I walked. I crossed the bridge. I made my way onto a path, through the trees, down to the riverbed. It was my secret place, nestled in a secret town that I may never see again. I leaned against the rocks, listened to the water run by, breathed in the warm air. I watched the light move across the sky, falling behind the green trees, raining light everywhere.
I stood on my tip-toes to see over stone walls and set my camera on the faces of white furry sheep. I did my best not to trespass, reading signs, distracted by everything, excited at the new. I stopped for tea and watched the green hills become silhouettes as the evening started.
Sometimes I need to see simple, hear quiet, remember beautiful things are also part of the adventure. There’s that balance, that push and pull, between rest and work, noise and silence, busy and still, and I think I got closer to it somewhere in Scotland, somewhere in the Highlands.
*All examples based on real life experiences. Sorry if you had a higher opinions of me and my travel companions.
Want to get the latests posts in your inbox and maybe some special messages from me? Of course you do. Subscribe via email.