The Tug of War of Travel

I thrive when I travel. Travel shakes up my routine and helps me get unstuck.

2013-03-16 12.11.19

Travel is in my blood, in my DNA. Being a “military brat” probably made it inevitable that I’d either hate travel in my adult years or love it so much that I can’t live without it. I’m definitely not living if travel isn’t an integral part of my life.

When I can’t travel, I’m irritable, antsy, and can be resentful of whatever has stood in my way of embarking on my next trip.

What keeps me from travel? The things that keep me from hitting the road can all be summed up in a single word: Responsibilities. Responsibility to family is at the top of the list. I am married and have a child and therefore cannot just pick up and go like I used to be able to do when I was single.

I love my family. I’m grateful to have a loving husband who is so stable it almost hurts, but I need that stability in my life. Without his grounding presence, I’d be dangerously untethered and possibly just dangerous.

I’m grateful to have my brilliant daughter. After four miscarriages, her presence is miraculous. She challenges me in every way I never imagined a child would do. Being a mother pushes me into places and shapes I’m not always pleased to go into, but like any good traveler, I go on that journey and come out on the other side of it both a little scarred and a little wiser for it.

Despite my gratitude for the family I now have, I’m caught between the pull of the open road and the squeeze of responsibility. What scares me more than that feeling of being pulled apart is my ever-present instinct to run away. Even when I’m in my car and the highway is stretched out before me, the one that leads to the airport nearly four hours away, I must push down the desire to keep driving.

I’m keenly aware of the avalanche of bad things that will happen if I ever give in to a reckless escape.

I resist the temptation to run but try to build travel into my work and work into my travel to justify my going. If I don’t go somewhere on a fairly regular basis, then I feel like I’m going nowhere. When I feel like I’m going nowhere, it feels like death.

I travel to reassure myself that I’m alive. You?

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