Yes, this is my passport. And yes, it’s brand-spankin’ new. When I went to the town office to apply, they asked me if I needed it by a particular date. Was I planning a trip that required an expedited application? No, I replied. But in about a year I’ll be 40, and (I joked) I might want to go somewhere someday.
I have been the stay-at-home parent to two children, now 11 and 9, and though it wasn’t my original intention, I have followed that job description almost to the letter. During that time I’ve also owned two home businesses, so my life revolves around home. I am a homebody.
I don’t mean to make it sound like I never leave my house. I traveled a bit with my husband before we had kids, and as a family we’ve taken vacations. Those trips have included several to Canada, just a skip away from us in Maine and a border crossing which only recently has required a passport. You can see here the beaches of Prince Edward Island and the architecture of Quebec City, which I would love to visit again with my camera and much more time.
Honestly, this is what makes travel difficult for me: the lack of time. Most of my trips have involved itineraries and clocks, following the lead of a host (or a spouse) with a list and a plan. I’ve felt hurried and harried, with pressure to go, go, go, to see more and do more. I find it overwhelming. My brain just doesn’t work that way. So while I long to visit Tuscany, to see Paris or the Orkney Islands, I fear that rushed feeling. I don’t want to come home with a pile of photos and no memory of where they were taken, or when. Without the time to sit somewhere with a cup of tea and watch the people go by, a moment of quiet to take pictures and absorb it, I won’t feel like I really was there.
Some people are appalled when they hear that I don’t travel much. It seems to imply a lack of interest in the world. I enjoy the writing of Henry David Thoreau, who advised: “Live at home like a traveler.” When he wasn’t traveling (to places like Maine, where he took extensive notes in his journal and about which he later wrote the book The Maine Woods), he was reading about others’ travels. He read hundreds of personal accounts, which informed his views of the world as well as his writing. He lived vicariously. In this age of Twitter and Facebook and Skype, it’s even easier to “live at home like a traveler!”
There’s a lot of go, go, going all around me all of the time. I love to follow the travels of others (Lela Barker, for one, blogs and tweets amazing details of her African adventures) and they do inspire me to plan future trips of my own. The passport is the first step!
But I’m mostly content to stay in one place. Thoreau also said, “I have traveled a great deal in Concord…” There are a lot of places you can go without ever leaving home. There’s a journey happening here that has nothing to do with passports or suitcases or “going.”
What do you think? Where are you “going” right now? Does it involve reservations and time zones? Please share your thoughts! And wherever you go this week, have a great Monday!