The Unbearable Lightness of Feeling Ordinary

When do we lose that childlike excitement at traveling?  That excitement, so easily inspired in me just 10 short years ago by a trip to Disney World (and I’d been abroad by that point), has ceased to exist.  The last time I felt it was Prague, but then could Prague inspire anything less in anyone?

It breaks my heart a little each time I land in a new city and feel simply ordinary.  It’s normal, of course – the more places you see, the more you are able to draw comparisons and find Casablanca in Budapest, or Munich in Montreal.  The farther away you go from home, the smaller your world becomes.

I’m hoping that same feeling can be rekindled by traveling somewhere so unlike anywhere else I’ve been, if such a place exists – China, perhaps, or Japan.  Bhutan?  I don’t know.  I haven’t been to Asia, nor really to Latin America, but the latter echoes European culture strongly enough that, while I’m dying to go, I doubt my worldview will be altered.  Asia, though – for a long time, it’s been so far down on my list, but now that I’ve conquered Europe (okay, strong word choice – not conquered, but seen a little of each section save for Scandinavia) and lived on the African continent for two years, traveling a bit in that region as well, it strikes me that I must go east.  The wanderlust is there; I can only hope that it will be met with butterflies.


As I wrote this, I realized I was wrong.  The last time that sense of excitement burned in my belly was when I landed back in the US after being gone for an entire year.  It was the longest I’d spent outside my country.  I gathered my bag and exited, looking for the friend who’d come to pick me up.  Due to a parking situation, he was outside, though – I didn’t have a phone, he couldn’t reach me, he’d sent his mother to find me (and she was afraid she might not recognize me!) – finally, from somewhere deep down, I managed to remember his phone number.  I reached him, rushed out to meet him.  And as we drove through Queens, and it surprised me that nothing had changed.

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