My apologies to my mother and my grandmother, who both apparently are regular readers of this humble blog. You might wish to skip over this entry. This entry is for everyone else out there, but the two of you can just go over to some other corner of the Internet right now, OK?
The rush I get from travelling can only be described as teenage romance.
The crush stage
It creeps up on you, quietly. A whisper of an idea, an article in a magazine, a photograph on someone’s wall, a glance at a map. The cogs in the idea wheel begin turning. You try on the country’s name for size, Google its name.
The crush creeps up on you just as suddenly. You catch a glimpse of this person in passing, you see their photo online (or back in my day, their class picture in your high school year book, bad teenage acne and all). You exchange fleeting smiles. You might write their name in your homework. You Google their name. (Is that how teenage dating works these days? I’m a decade or so removed from my last teenage first date, and back then we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, or any of those modern media of crush stalking. We had a phone book, the first hints of high speed Internet, and a shared family computer.)
You begin pondering the possibilities of running off to this foreign land. How long can you go for? How much will it cost? What do I want to see? Do I need a visa? Is my passport still valid? Where did I throw my travelling gear after the last adventure? Before long, you’ve made up your mind to run off into the sunset.
You begin pondering the possibility that this person likes you back. Could the two of you last? Will it cost you a friend? If we go out on a date, what shall we do? Do I need a new haircut? Has that box of condoms by my bedside expired? (Kay, hopefully not a young teenager’s reflection. Maybe an early twenties thing?) How long has it been since my last date? Before long, you’ve made up your mind to ask the person out.
The first few dates
You begin pricing airfare to see if you like the idea, to see if it is feasible. You price accommodation, activities. You plan your dates. You decide to go on your adventure. You can’t sleep the night you purchase your plane tickets, your heart races. You are excited over the new possibilities.
You go out on a first date. You laugh a lot together, you plan a second date. You think of ways to impress the other person. You get along, and you wonder if this is a feasible plan. You plan your dates. You decide to go on an adventure together. You can’t sleep the night before your first date, your heart races as you walk down the street together. You are excited over the new possibilities.
You arrive at your destination. You are excited but a little lost in this new place. You discover new foods, visit beautiful places, you are exhausted every night when you tumble into bed. You can’t quite locate your toothbrush or your clean underpants, so you improvise.
You slowly develop a proper relationship. You are excited, but a little lost in this new relationship, as each one is different from the last. You discover new restaurants together, you have your “place” together, you keep each other up till the wee hours of the morning, exhausted when you finally tumble into slumber. You didn’t bring your toothbrush with you because that would have been presumptuous, but the other person has one for you now. You start leaving behind a clean change of underpants.
I’m excited for my upcoming adventure to Iceland, and for any future adventures in my life. The possibility leaves me kind of breathless. I close my eyes at night, images of the Northern Lights dancing in my dreams. I research the possibilities. I buy new shoes. I make mental checklists, which I might commit to a proper list in a few weeks time.
The planning stage is almost more exciting then the actual travel. You feel the tingle of anticipation, of endless possibilities, and it fits like a glove.