Putting the wondering back in wandering

sunset_adam_baker_flickr.jpgWhen I spend any length of time somewhere — whether it’s two months in Paris or an hour at the side of the road waiting on a bus — I can’t help but wonder, “what would it be like to live here forever?”

Giving that question a bit of thought almost always leads to the same conclusion: It would be great to live here, wherever here is, but what about that town just down the road? If there’s a downside to vagabonding it’s that there just isn’t enough time.

Everywhere I go I end up thinking, I should spend more time here, I should live here… I should know what it’s like to work in a cigar factory in Leon, fish in the Mekong, live in a floating house on Tonle Sap, sell hot dogs at Fenway Park, trade stocks in New York, wander the Thar Desert by camel, navigate the Danube, see the way Denali looks at sunset, the smell the Sonora Desert after a rain, taste the dust of a Juarez street, know how to make tortillas, what Mate tastes like, feel autumn in Paris, spend a winter in Moscow, a summer in Death Valley. I should be able to not just visit places, but inhabit them.

There is, so far as I know, only one short life. And in this life I will do very few of these things.

Sometimes I think that’s very sad, but then the bus comes and you’re on to the next town, free to start the dream over again.

Posted by | Comments (2)  | August 6, 2008
Category: General

2 Responses to “Putting the wondering back in wandering”

  1. Jonathan B Says:

    I think what you’ve just said is something that pretty much every seasoned traveler has said at some point, because you stand there and you think “you know what, this would be an awesome place to spend some time, and maybe to live…”

    But then the bus comes along, and you have to move along and then you get there and think “Holy cow, I’d love to live here too!” You know full well if you ever could pony up the willpower and stamina to move there and live there and all that, then six months down the road you’d want to move to the next place, and then the next, and so on.

    That’s why you get on the bus and go to that “next place”; you can’t live everywhere, so visit as many as you can.

    I remember the first time I went to the Lake District, the thought of living in a tiny village with the shop down the road compared to living in London with the stress and everything it brings seemed awesome. But I knew that at some point I’d want to go somewhere else and visit something new as well.

    It’s just the travelers’ curse!

  2. Erin Says:

    This post seems to have my heart attached to it right now. It’s so true. I’ve been spending the past two years, almost, moving around a bit – summer in Troy, back to school on the lake, semester in Italy, summer internship in Oregon… It’s a wonderful and heartbreaking experience. I leave Oregon in 12 days to go back to school so, naturally, I’m dreaming about moving back, spending my life in the Columbia Gorge. But then I look at an online graduate school program and say to myself: you could do that anywhere or several “anywhere”s. Fall semester in the south of France, spring Ireland… train trips between the two.
    Both blessing and curse.