Tonight I just bought another suitcase off of Amazon. I am an avid collector of suitcases. They sit, ceiling high, in a pile in my basement waiting to be used. They’re as impatient as I am to be filled with amazing things that they have seen and collected, things that they marvel at.
I have a picture of Venice as my wallpaper on my work computer. I catch myself staring at it, morning cup of Monday 9:45 am coffee poised half way between my desk and my mouth as I float off into a montage scene of me living in that picture: me reading Dickens in a little Italian cafe, sunlight pooling over the pages; me riding a gondola down a rusted canal; me marveling over the beauty of slight decay in this sinking town.
We all have a list of places we want to go. We keep these in our breast-pockets and look them over whenever we feel ourselves growing disenchanted with present circumstances.
Oh, our boss is yelling at us. I wanna go to Pans today.
The cable bill is late. Gabarone.
That guy never called me back. Nxamaseri. Ubud. Makgadikgadi.
Say these words out loud and see what happens to you. Picture it: a dilapidated castle in Wales, a bull elephant pulling himself from the Chobe River.
I can count the number of countries I’ve been to on two hands. I want to have a passport fat with stamps. I want to collect experiences like some people collect lovers or silver spoons. I want I want I want.
Traveling is surreal for me. Nothing makes sense and everything is new. I am swept up in single serving friends, conversations with people I meet in hostels or airport bars that I’ll probably never see again.
I want to swell with memory. I want to go so far away that I start realizing how precious everything was that I left behind. I want to travel between lonely airports and snowy highways and couches of people nice enough to open their homes to me.
There is that thought that if you strip down your life, cut the flesh of friendship, of families, support systems, a regular paycheck, a bed, and peel it all away you’ll reveal a stronger version of yourself. You’ll have better posture and a deeper appreciation for humanity and a solid ability to say “no.” You’ll be whole.
Go, go, go is the refrain that keeps haunting the normalcy of my life. I find it at 3:30 pm on a Sunday as I’m writing. It sings to me while I am cleaning my kitchen, driving to work, foodshopping.
It’s an ellipses. It’s a never ending need to pack a suitcase, grab a reliable camera, and put all my shit into storage. It’s a fierce longing to stuff my eyes with wonder.
I want this more than I want to climb the career ladder, more than I want a steady boyfriend or children or a Gucci handbag. More than I want to stay.
But how do you fulfill an addiction that draws you out of your life? How do you arrive into yourself without leaving yourself behind? How do you bloom where you’re planted if you don’t allow yourself to have roots? Show me how.