Sunday, June 01, 2008

Wanderlost

The weary travelers have returned again, this time from Spain, where we have just spent the week of our final school Half Term break of the year exploring Segovia, Madrid and Toledo. (Oh my God, did I honestly just say the weary travelers have returned? I've written so many of these trip recaps by now that I'm resorting to overused cliches. But if ever an overused cliche has summed our experience up so succinctly that it just screamed to be used, it is that of the weary traveler right now. Because people, we. are. weary.)

I personally am so weary that I hardly have the energy to give this trip the enthusiastic review that it surely deserves. It was, after all, a great vacation when viewed in isolation. We loved Segovia, liked Toledo and tolerated Madrid. We visited the most amazing castle we've seen in all of Europe, enjoyed some stupendous scenery and took great pride in our horrendously abysmal attempts to sound like locals. We stayed in just the right places, ate in many of the right places, visited as many of the right places as we could realistically pull off with the kids in tow. We enjoyed it all. It was a well planned trip. It ought to have been -- I've planned over a dozen like it in the past two years.

OK, gang, you know the drill... smile like maniacs while some stranger snaps our photo.

And that's my problem, I think. I viewed this trip not in isolation but in the context of the dozen-or-so trips that came before it, and from that vantage point it was all a little but unsettlingly ho hum. In the face of all of those pack-it-up-and-move-it-out adventures stacked one on top of the other, my wanderlust is beginning to make way for something else, stability-lust, maybe. I'm beginning to think that in our haste to see and do it all before our time here is up that we've seen and done too many things, to the point that our travels have begun to lose some of their lustre and charm. This was yet another good trip for us. We've got this travel business down to a science. And that, I think, is kind of sad. Because travel should take you out of your ordinary and give you experiences that you would never get to enjoy in your regular day to day life. When it becomes the ordinary and the day to day, an essential piece of what makes travel so exciting disappears.

Do I sound like a spoiled brat here? Oh poor me, I've just dragged my kids to too many fabulous places in the past two years. That's not it, of course. I'm incredibly grateful for this opportunity and well aware of how fortunate I am to find myself among the cliched travel weary of the world. But I'm also grateful that our jet setting days are drawing to a close this summer. As hard as it will be to say goodbye to our life here, I'm ready to say goodbye to this lifestyle. I'm ready for roots and routine and a same-old-same-old that's supposed to be a same-old-same-old. I ache for a calendar filled with soccer practices and playdates rather than one which reads like the index of a Lonely Planet guide. I look forward to settling into real life again, to unpacking the layers of tissue that protect my old familiar things and dusting off my old notions of normalcy. And maybe it's too much to ask for, but I'm hoping that I might just find my wanderlust there again too.

4 Comments:

Blogger Suburban Hippie said...

I can totally imagine how that could be. My in-laws are what I call compulsive travelers; they aren't home for more than a few weeks at a time before they set off to at least a timeshare on the California coast if not a three-month European or trans-Atlantic sojourn. I can't imagine it. I agree that travel would get sort of ho-hum if it's the exception rather than the rule.

Glad you enjoyed Spain though. And your hair looks awesome.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Oh, I know that feeling well (though my "ho-hum" has never come at the end of a castle-filled trip...so. jealous!)

Welcome back from your trip! LOL at the photo caption! BTDT!

11:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I get it, I do. I admit that my May -- literally, back-to-back-to-back soccer games, baseball games and school functions -- has me less able to relate than I have been at other points in my life. But, I still get it. ;)

Gorgeous photos!!

11:20 PM  
Anonymous steve said...

I give you until September before you are bored of us... : )

1:30 AM  

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