The thick National Geographic Tour book arrived in my mailbox. Well, technically it was on the floor of my apartment building’s vestibule. My box is too small so the mailman just throws it down. Thump.
The catalog is big and glossy and bursting with the stuff travel dreams are made of. And I feel nothing. It’s like the numbness I feel from an old lover…just nothing. I used to pore over a book like this – dreaming and wishing and hoping. And then I traveled to more than fifty countries…and loved it, but grew a bit weary at the same time. Somewhere along the way, I’ve lost the pure joy of travel; the wonder and awe — that feeling of utter excitement when I was heading on a trip, smiling at the clouds outside my airplane window.
“…Eventually saturation sets in. I’ve found that if I experience too much of the staggeringly stunning, my threshold for awesome goes up and up until the inevitable happens: I lose all ability to really see it. When burnout sets in, I know it’s time to take a break….The best travel happens when you open yourself up to all human experience and activity, not just the “beautiful.” Sometimes the lowbrow end of the spectrum is where your best travel memories are waiting.”
Is it gone for good?
Can I get it back?
What’s Next for Me?
I don’t have an answer to these questions…yet. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for all I have been able to see and do. And I still have more to see and want to. But it’s not the same.
I continue to travel, if a bit more locally (or at least comfortably) lately; seeing not only more of the USA, but more of my region of the Midwest. I know and love my hometown of Chicago, but it is time to venture around a bit around my own backyard. I just visited lovely Door County, Wisconsin, growing Indianapolis, the Motor City – Detroit, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. And I have to admit…I was excited again. Is it possible that the Midwest reawakened my travel love? A little bit, yes. It is energizing to see these former industrial cities reinventing themselves and building something new. Stay tuned this year for a new series of posts: My Midwest. Oh, but of course, I’m also heading to Canada and Mexico in early 2014. I didn’t say I was done with travel, just doing it a bit different from now on.
Until then, thanks for encouraging me, commenting, and continuing to read along.