Travel Light. Wear Simple Clothes. Just Watch.


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“Travel the world and the seven seas/ Everybody’s looking for something.” – Annie Lennox

Eloquent people seem to travel lots. Or maybe travel breeds eloquence. What do you think?

I don’t travel much. Unless you count roundtrip drives to Mooresville, or the trips I’ll take to the mountains for Elise’s games. There’s my annual work trip to someplace tropical every winter. When you travel, you pick up stories, whether it’s in Madrid or Mooresville.

My friend Brittany tells stories of travel abroad and also to the junk yard in the blog Girl Interrupted, and its superb reading. The clarity of scenes she sets? Downright Hemmingwayesque in its delivery.

My friend Britta writes It’s a Britta Bottle. She undertook a life shift to teach in Thailand. Her stories began when she made the choice and influence her writing today. Her adventures inspired this post.

I envy the traveler. I appreciate being a traveler, when I can sustain the days with three pairs of shorts, a laptop, Star Wars socks and a small stack of V-neck T-shirts. The very mindset when I venture from home evokes in me just the right dose of wanderlust.

In wanderlust, there aren’t co-pays or solicitors or busted Polynesian dressing packets in your glove box.

Of markets, pizza joints and home teams

travel 2There’s no shoddy Internet or dishes to wash. There’s a hike to take and directions to ignore. There’s a local grocery store and pizza joints and a home team you know nothing about. The preset buttons on your car radio don’t mean a damn here.

I’ll be a traveler, though. Not a world traveler.

Mooresville. Swannanoa, Roanoke, Augusta, Ga., places like Lakeland, High Point and Brevard. I’ll come to work early. I’ll work hard, extra hard. I’ll leave early and every pocket of my backpack will have just what I need there and I’ll know where to get it.

My GPS will take me to places I’m not from, and I won’t fit in. I won’t try to.

I’ll travel light. I’ll wear simple clothes and pack an incomplete set of UNO cards and a couple of stormtrooper figures. I’ll drive through places like Enochsville where I hope Gabi won’t break down. I’ll look for McDonald’s but hope for a pizza place I’ve never heard of.

I’ll roll down the windows and eat where there’s free Wi-Fi.

I’ll remember my sunscreen, and I’ll pull my Rockies cap down tight. I’ll stand on sidelines familiar as family and visit fields I’ve never seen before. I’ll see my oldest girl on her mountain campus and watch her younger sister grow with an incredible team.

I’ll write

travel3I’ll make it to the sideline to see the youngest rip shots and create her legend, too.

I’ll lead a troupe of boys I know so little about but whom I can’t wait to see what we’re capable of.

I’ll write. I’ll write because this journey, with pain and hairpin turns and soft landings and uncertainty and the most certain feeling of all.

They come in moments of perfect meditation and a sense that being lost can’t possibly usurp an ounce of the tranquility that builds within me.

Lots of this isn’t going to make much sense to you. I feel like I am traveling, in town, out of it. In the structure I try to frame my day in and in the unexpected turns I readily accept. I’ve never felt so much like the visiting team and also the home team all at once.

I’ll log enough miles to capture a little of that eloquence I admire to write about it, too.

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32 Replies to “Travel Light. Wear Simple Clothes. Just Watch.”

  1. I discovered after a couple of trips this summer I prefer home. So much for retiring and seeing spots in the globe. I prefer my bed, a full kitchen, and a backyard hammock. I’m tickled the kinder have taken up travels. Ireland and Thailand so far for one.

    1. At the end of a trip, there’s nothing like home. Well, there’d be finding a gold nugget the size of my noggin or getting tickets to see Diana Krall, but not much else tops being home.

      I feel like there’s better snacks on the road. Maybe home is where the snacks are.

  2. Lately the only travelling I do is in the books I read (I’m currently in 1859 Oregon). I did make it to Costa Rica to backpack around for two weeks (a friend had an uncle with a billion air miles and he flew us). I’d love to make it to more places. But for now, I’ll just accept that I’m travelling to baseball fields I’ve never seen before, even if it is just Little League.

    1. Book travel rocks because you don’t need to fill the gas tank. Did you pack the book in your backpack?

      I’ve never even been to Canada, brother. Baseball fields, especially Little League, seem a perfect destination.

  3. I love to travel. I love to come home too. 🙂 Traveling to watch the kids play sports must be extremely gratifying. It’s nice to be able to provide that kind of lifestyle for them. I hope the take it for granted and appreciate it all at once. 🙂

    1. Coming home’s a cool part of traveling, actually. Except for the time we left the toilet seat up, and a bunch of moths drown in the water, when we were kids.

      I love traveling to see my kids play. We should have kept track of how many fields we’ve ever visited.

      It feels like it’s been a good childhood for them. They seem happy.

    1. Every day is a trip, Audrey, and I don’t mean the acid kind. I love that outlook. Sometimes the answers have a little metaphoric and some literal all mixed in like different colors of play doh.

  4. I think it’s all a matter of perspective. I love to travel to places far away, but I also love exploring closer to home. I moved back to DC because I felt like I wasn’t done with it when I last lived here during my internship (well, that, and I just love the city). I’m content to just explore more of this city and the surrounding area for the time being. While I DO want to get back out and see more of the world in the coming years, I feel no rush to get that done right now. If you truly appreciate the place you live in, everyday is an adventure. You really don’t have to go far to consider yourself an explorer/traveler/adventurer.

    1. Perspective means everything, Britta. There’s so much close to us that might as well be a thousand miles away, because we’ve yet to see it.

      Lots to do in DC. The museums took all day (and I didn’t even get to Camdyn Yards or Nationals Park.

      You had a significant adventure early on, Britta. I think the experience of that will influence your journey.

      Plus through writing, you don’t even need a passport. Snacks, yes, but no passport required.

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