A few months ago, a friend mentioned that since James and I don’t have children, we’re free to take these amazing trips—and isn’t that just wonderful? Maybe. I started to write this post in response:
Tolkien wrote that “not all those who wander are lost” though sometimes I do wonder if I’m looking for something.
This year we’ve taken a break from Europe to save a little money and relived my childhood in the Outer Banks. James had never been, and it had been 10 years for me.
From our home base in Duck, we visited the Wright Brothers Memorial, climbed to the top of the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras, took a stroll on the white sand beaches of Corolla, and left plenty more to do on our next trip.
James loved it so much he was ready to book the house again for next summer.
And… I’m going stir crazy for Europe. We’re currently planning our 2017 trip to the Mediterranean.
People comment that thanks to our infertility we have this awesome ability to travel. Maybe it’s true, but really, what do they mean by that? Would they really trade their own children just for a chance to fly across the sea every few years? It’s not like we live some glamorous life as jet-setters.
Maybe travel is my rebellion.
Maybe I fly because I need to. Because of grief. Because of pain. Because there is such a big world out there, and maybe if I search wide enough, I’ll find what we’re looking for.
Throughout my life I’ve often had this image of myself in the future as a grief-hardened and fearless Diana, sailing around the world with her pack of hounds, running from the hole in her heart and searching for her next escape.
Never mind that Diana was a land-based goddess, not a nautical one. But you know, teenage Connie Ann had an imagination.
I was wondering quite a bit, while writing the above, if I was indeed lost. I don’t think I am lost anymore, or at least, I don’t mind if I am. Still…
“Maybe I fly because I need to.”
Maybe I fly because for as long as I can remember, I can’t bear to live in a world where there is a London/Rome/Paris/Athens/you-name-it and I haven’t actually seen it.
The first time I set eyes on Europe from the tiny window of my airplane, I cried.
I cried because it was real. There was this place I had heard of so often, and it was actually there, waiting for me all this time.
It was almost sacred, like a pilgrimage. I wasn’t fasting and praying and crawling on my knees to get there, but travel is sacred in its own way. God made this big, beautiful world, and even though he (and the world) is much too vast for me to ever understand, seeing more of his creation helps me to understand a piece of him.
How amazing is it that you can be 3,000 miles from home, yet everyone looks like your cousins? How amazing is it that you can be in a place where no one understands your religion, but everyone understands your smile?
How amazing is it that after spending only a week in a country where no one knows your language, all of a sudden you bump into another American, and it doesn’t matter that she’s a democrat or a republican or an atheist or a Jesus freak—she’s an American. And right away, you’re sisters, you’re friends, because no one else in the room knows about buffalo wings and George Washington and Saturday Night Live and amber waves of grain.
I haven’t traveled very much, and I haven’t lived very long, but I’ve done both enough to know that my life has been better for it.