Last week, I went on vacation. It was a lovely vacation, complete with those items from a stereotypical vacation ~ tropical climate, sandy beaches, wonderful time with friends, and very little on the agenda other than reading books that don't really matter all that much. Not only that, but we even got to travel out of the country to a famous vacation destination. It was a wonderful holiday, but I found myself missing something.
For the last 5 years or so, I've felt compelled to write, and especially feel compelled to write when I travel. (Fortunately for my 7 readers, most of that writing doesn't make it on to this page.) I love noticing the differences between what I experience as normal, and what is ordinary for the place to which I have traveled. I love seeing people who are different from me, who have different life experiences and assumptions about the world. And I love the experience of moving through space, feeling the longitude and latitude sliding past as I make my way from one place to another.
Much of what I notice when I cross latitude and longitude forces itself into a journal I carry ~ which is why I was surprised in our recent travels by the complete and utter lack of desire to write anything at all. And I'm trying to sort out the reason why.
Most of the time, when I travel, I do what I can to not be a tourist. I don't think there's anything wrong with tourism; the thing is, though, that tourism seems contrived, and in some ways fake. I'm more interested in experiencing a place I've never lived while I'm in the company of someone for whom that place is their home. Of course I recognize that even this kind of travel experience is contrived ~ the only way to really and fully get to know a place is to live there, and then you're no longer traveling.
Part of what I like to reflect on in the journal I try to keep is how a new place affects me, and how that place is different from that to which I'm accustomed. Perhaps this is why I didn't feel compelled to write on our vacation last week ~ we were only sort-of in the place where we were.
The resort where we stayed was amazingly well run, our time was more relaxing than I expected, everything was beautiful and everyone was friendly and nice. In other words, it was wonderful, and it was not real life. Don't get me wrong ~ it was a wonderful sabbath time away, at the end of which, I was ready to be back home.