On Choosing to Just Stay Put

I love to travel. Like most of you I’m sure. I love to read about travel, to watch movies about travel and to hear about other’s travels.

I plan imaginary journeys for three, 5 or 14 day trips in the event that any of the three options becomes possible. I bookmark informative articles about destinations I want to visit, despite not having any immediate plans. I dream and day dream and talk about the places I still want to see, the cultures I want to learn more about, the languages I want to falter through.

So why, despite the fact that I haven’t traveled internationally since April of last year, do I not have a trip planned for this spring? For this summer even? Ignoring trips home (though my bank account doesn’t ignore them) I have traveled throughout Italy since my last international trip, but why am I not planning more of that? A day trip? A fun and inexpensive Saturday in Mantova, Pavia, Bologna, Genova or any of the other countless nearby cities that I have yet to see? Cities that are surely beautiful and steeped in Italian history?

Thinking about it I know that the top reason is the same as everyone’s top reason. Money. My upcoming budget involves a ticket to the U.S., another four months rent until we move into our house and oh yeah, a house. Which of course means all the costly things that come with it.

But we all know that travel is still possible. Perhaps you won’t win the “world’s most responsible person” award, but you’ll surely win the “I’m a normal 20 something and have a normal 20 something’s bank account” award. Floating on average in this case isn’t so bad. I know how to scrimp and save, to squirrel away money to use on a trip and nothing but a trip, to rationalize any spending if it involves travel. Yet I still have no travel plans on the horizon.

It could be because I have more responsibilities. I have a job that involves other people depending on me. Tiny children who look at me with dangerously excited or overly bored faces (depending on the day) to teach them things like “How are you?” and “The frog lives in the pond” and “whaaaaassssuuupppp?!” (that last one just for my enjoyment) and I wouldn’t want to let them down. Or because I only get paid when I show up. It could be that small caveat. Perhaps it’s that, though I have flexibility with my job, Marco does not. My suggestions are constantly met with a “I have to work”, “I don’t have work off those days like you do” and sometimes a resounding, “I HAVE A JOB!” He’s like that lame kid in Ferris Bueller’s day off, always saying “No Ferris it’s bad we shouldn’t.” (lame)

Marco. Probably sad because he's driving to work.

Marco. Probably sad because he’s driving to work.

Yes I have responsibilities, as does Marco, but as a teacher I have summer off – surely something could be arranged. Yet I’m not even trying, not pushing until a trip is added in on a whim, a weekend here, five days there.

I can’t blame my lack of travel plans on money or responsibilities or even on Marco, because the truth is, I’m just freaking tired.

January brought the start of house renovations, meaning that every Saturday since then we’ve worked like it was a full work day, waking up early to move books, take apart 9 foot tall bookshelves, clean them and put them back together again in another room. To move bedrooms and dressers and clothing and more books. We’ve woken up early to go see kitchens and choose ceramic tile and do something else and blindly nod yes yes yes when the choices get to be too much. I’m not complaining, we are overwhelmingly fortunate, but we are overwhelmingly tired as well.

After last year’s weekend in Budapest, an amazing city whose visit fell during a particularly busy time, I’m overly cautious that that doesn’t happen again. I don’t want to plan a trip for May when perhaps in May something will go wrong with the house and we’ll need to stay and supervise and make decisions and get to work right when we start packing to leave, attempting to have a fun light-hearted weekend when back at home things are teetering. I’ve done it, it doesn’t work.

Like I’ve written before, traveling isn’t vacationing and a certain amount of physical and mental preparation is necessary to make it worthwhile. Mentally, I’m too exhausted to be pumped about planning an itinerary, to walk for miles and miles seeing a city in the short days I have there or to try to squeeze in a trip during our already jam-packed weekends. I want a rest, not a travel.

And though I felt slightly guilty at first (I do write a travel blog after all) I know the importance of being honest with myself.

Though I’m still dreaming, still collecting articles and tips and locations, I’ve put any solid planning to the side until my immediate future calms a bit. I know I don’t need to leave the country to live the travel life and I’m perfectly content with books, hiking and dinners with friends to enter the travel mindset.

In the next months I know I will travel but for now I have paint colors, bookshelves and snotty, smiling children to worry about and that’s more than enough for me!

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