The first time I traveled around the world, I really wasn’t running away from anything. It was more like I was running toward something – a dream; doing something I had always wanted to do, but just never could. But then a small window opened and I slipped out into the world and never looked back.
That was two years ago now. Starting October 2006, I left the comforts of my well-appointed home in Chicago and traveled, literally, around the world – staying with friends, meeting strangers who became friends, and having the time of my life. Fifteen months later, I returned to the US. For eight months I bopped between coasts from New York City to Chicago to Los Angeles and back to New York again. And now I actually think I am running away – away from having to ‘root’ myself in an ordinary life; away from having to make a decision about where to live; away from having to work full time again; away from having to pay actual bills and away from the reality of the fact that eventually I will have to give up this vagabond lifestyle and someday buy a bed of my own again. Or maybe I figure I should just keep traveling until I just can’t stand it anymore. But I think that is highly unlikely.
I am sitting in seat 21D on a Swiss Air flight headed to Europe. This time around it didn’t seem as monumental leaving the US and all; sort of anti-climatic actually. No goodbye parties. No big farewells. No major life changes. I just hopped the subway to JFK in New York City and blew a kiss goodbye to one of my favorite cities.
And soon I will be in Berlin, perhaps my favorite city from my last trip. I am returning for several meetings/interviews for some possible freelance opportunities. Then I will be heading to France and Italy for a few months. I’ve been to these popular destinations a few times before, but not on my last trip. Paris was the first city I had ever set foot in in Europe more than 10 years ago and it had me at ‘bon jour.’ And Italy, oh Italia, I’ve been three times and am anxious to return to see if I still love it like I did every time I was there in the past.
Then I’m not sure where my wanderings will take me. As any traveler knows, my list has not gotten any shorter. In fact the more you travel, the longer it gets. This trip is currently looking something like this:
- France (Paris, Normandy, Lyon, Swiss Border towns, Provence, Bordeaux ?)
- Italy (some of these: Turino, Verona, Assisi, Gubio, Orevieto, Bologna, Perugia, Arezzo, Lucca, Roma, Sicily)
- Cyprus ?
- St. Petersburg
- The Baltics (Latvia, Lithuania)
- and eventually back to Berlin and Paris again.
As always, if you know anyone – friend, family, animal, mineral – in any of these locales, please let me know. I would really appreciate it. I love to meet new people and have new friends when I get to a new town.
Unlike the last trip, this time I do have a return ticket. For two reasons: one, I’m taking advantage of all my racked up frequent flyer miles and flying for free to and from Europe therefore needing to book an actual roundtrip ticket and, two, I have a ‘save the date’ in New Jersey in the Spring. I will return home for my father’s wedding. After thirty odd years of bachelorhood, dear old dad is tying the knot and my tiny family is getting just a bit bigger. Mazel Tov!