Over the past couple weeks, I’ve now booked my last two excursions of the year. In only three weeks, I’ll be arriving in Montreal for my first time visiting French Canada. Then in late October, I’ll be attending my first true music festival in Live Oaks, Florida.
I had forgotten. Among many other things, I had forgotten how exciting it can be to plan a journey for no reason other than personal exploration. I have actually been able to maintain a respectable frequency of getting out of town, leaving Charleston three times in the first six months of 2017. But all of those occasions were already fully planned out by either friends of colleagues, and all I had to do was buy the plane ticket to the right place at the right time. It is a wholly different experience to make the conscious decision to go somewhere you’ve never been before entirely on your own, only having vague ideas of what to expect. For some, that may seem quite stressful, reckless, or even irresponsible. But this is not my first, nor second or third time making such a decision. It has simply been a while.
I’ve learned, several times over, that travel is the cure for the humdrum, routine, and the norm. Travel is invigorating; it is revitalizing. Rather than the standard, everyday established cadence, its so very rejuvenating to not know what those days will bring. Of course I will plan the basics. I’ve already booked a hostel for my entire trip to Montreal, for example. I’ve already bought one camping pass for Hulaween. I’ll research when and where the bands I’d like to see most are playing and where the best food and photo-ops are in the city, but part of the thrill is remembering how to simply wander and take it all in. With no destination in mind, no itinerary. With the only intention being to understand what a place and a thing looks, smells, sounds, and feels like. That wont be easy for me now that I’ve become so accustomed to having calendars dictate by weekly routine and daily agenda. But I look forward to detaching, to unplugging for just a few days and not thinking about emails that need to be sent, projects that need to be completed, or errands that I need to run. I had forgotten how intoxicating that feeling can be.
It is a constant battle to not allow all the traditional needs of a stable, productive life to dig us into a rut of comfortable repetition. While all the planning and then all the waiting can seem stressful and tedious, I’ve rarely taken a trip that I didn’t think was worth ever bit of trouble and more, in retrospect. I look forward to being reminded of this later this year.