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Published: September 30th 2017
So, trying something a little different this time. On the left is a type of liquid bandage - I'm hoping it will hold together my big toe, which always splits into several very painful gashes every time I travel. Sorry Ann, I know you'd love for me to post an example photo of my nasty split big toe, but you're the only one that seems fascinated by it. I don't want to be held responsible for any emotional trauma any other people might suffer, or have to pay for any years of therapy they surely would require to get over it.
On the right - I'm trying out the Axe body wash for this trip. Maybe the TV commercials are right, and I'll get swarmed by thousands of beautiful Spanish women if I use it. TV never lies, right?
Geo: 51.0451, -114.063
Salir Corriendo - it's actually the name of a Spanish-language song I first heard this past winter in the Canary Islands. The translation is "running away" - something I've grown quite accustomed to doing; it's something I always feel compelled to do. What am I always running from? It depends - people, places, things, situations ... and sometimes all of the above.
The need to travel has become a biological response for me - I compare it to the need to eat. When 6 o'clock rolls around, I start to get hungry and begin to think "Hmmm ... what should I eat tonight?" Well, every few months I begin to get restless and feel the need to wander. It's actually become quite instinctual; I literally sit there and out of the blue, I realize that it's time to travel, so I'll start checking into flights.
As if some dormant part of my brain re-awakens, I mindlessly crank out yet another travel itinerary. It's no longer about planning a trip that revolves around places I am dying to see - it's about checking things off of my list of places to travel because quite frankly, I feel the
While buying the liquid bandage and Axe body wash, I realized that I could use some new undies. You definitely want to be wearing nice new undies in case you get swarmed by thousands of beautiful Spanish women! It could happen to me, right? Right? RIGHT??!??!?!
need to see it all, and the only way to do so is to approach it systematically. Don't get me wrong, I still love to travel and without a doubt, will have another great time while away. But the reasons behind it have changed - though I still love to travel, I'm not sure that's still the reason I do it. I think it's simply because I need to do it.
After I complete a trip, it's only a matter of time before I grow restless again - this time it happened in record fashion; I started to feel that way two months after returning from the Canary Islands. All this reminds me of Kabeer, a man I met on a train to Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic (see Euro 2006 blog entitled "Cesky Krumlov - a Horni kind of place" - http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/pwong/europe_2006/1155917700/tpod.html?tweb_UID=pwong ).
He's far more extreme than me in his travels - he does it not because it makes him happy (though it once did), but because he would be suicidally depressed if he wasn't traveling. Every three or four months, he needs to go traveling to battle the depression. For the past 10 years,
John popped by a couple of nights before my trip to play some pool and catch up. While I wasn't looking, he took a picture of himself giving me the middle finger.
Some might find this offensive, but for males, this is equivalent to two female friends hugging, telling each other they are awesome, and that they love each other. Such a beautiful gesture ... I was so touched ... sob sob ....
he's been searching for his "home", a place where he feels happy enough to stop the constant traveling. It's been almost two years since I met Kabeer ... I wonder if he ever found what he was looking for ...
I suppose I can identify somewhat with the homeless nature of Kabeer's travels, but I can't imagine what it is like, when the one thing in life you love doing has become a mundane chore. What would be the point of your life? If that happened to me ... I don't know what I would do.
So back to this notion of running away - when I started the first of these annual European trips, that's exactly what I was doing. It was my way of unplugging from life, and the only way I could deal with things. When I took that one big trip almost two years ago, that changed somewhat - instead of running away, I was actually running towards something.
After that trip, I thought I had almost figured things out (see Euro 2006 blog entitled "The final entry: Reflections on a 'Crazy' journey" - http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/pwong/europe_2006/1164340920/tpod.html?tweb_UID=pwong ). Sitting here now, I'm not so sure any more ... but no matter what, I'm still a better man for having done what I did, and taking the risks that I took on that trip. It changed me in ways I never thought possible.
It's interesting how things have come full-circle again - once again, I'm running away. I suppose whether I am running to something, or running away from something, is irrelevant - travel is escapism for me, still drives me, and still makes me happy. Here I am, and this is what my life has become - constantly cycling between brief stretches of "real" life until I can travel some more. It's just funny that as much as I travel, I seem to end up in the same spot after.
This reminds me of Sisyphus, from Greek mythology, who was condemned to an eternity of pushing a giant stone up a hill, only to see it roll back to the bottom at the end of the day, and have to start all over again the next. I've become his Chinese backpacker equivalent! I suppose that's not really a bad thing, because traveling is definitely a lot easier and more fun than pushing a giant stone up a hill. But if you ask any of my friends that have traveled with me - they'd probably rather push that stone than travel with me again!
And yes, I'm heading back to Spain once more. And for all that are wondering - no, there is no plan to go back to Toledo! Though it's nowhere near any places on my scheduled itinerary, these annual trips to Spain are now a tradition and I'd hate to break it.
I'll always have fond memories of Spain because so much changed for me after my first time there. Afterward, there was a fundamental shift in how I live my life. Visiting Spain is a reminder of why I changed my life's philosophy, and is also a way for me to continue practicing my Spanish. You wouldn't think that the simple act of learning another language could change you, but through Spanish I found a voice that I used to express myself in ways that I never thought I could. Like I said before, this is what my life has become - and hopefully, it will continue to involve more trips back to Spain.
Alright, enough of this introspective, philosophical crap - I'm off to the airport!
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