No, in case you’re wondering, this is not a post about Zovirax.
Glad we cleared that up. As it were.
I think about travel all the time. It kind of goes with the territory, I suppose. With travel related blog comments, social media conversations and emails flying around me all day every day, the wanderlust that has been part of my life for so long is never far from mind.
The thing is, though, that despite daydreaming about it, writing about it and incessantly talking about it … well, for most of this year I haven’t been excited by it.
It’s hard for me to get excited about hiking the Inca trail when the only hike I’ve been doing is from the cubicle to the photocopier.
It’s hard to get excited about the sun on my back and the sand between my toes when I’m trudging through the rain on my way to work.
It’s hard to get excited about the wonderful conversations I’ll have with people around the globe when the conversations around me revolve around last night’s reality TV show.
I can dream about all those things, sure, but that’s not the same thing as being excited by them. Not the same thing at all.
For me to get excited by something it has to be more than a pipe dream. It has to have a chance of happening, and I have to actually be doing something about it. Dreaming isn’t doing.
I made the decision to hit the road with no return date recently, but even booking the ticket didn’t really get me bouncing off the walls. Despite knowing that I was departing in a few weeks, despite starting to tell all and sundry that I’m moving on again, I still wasn’t feeling it. I was starting to wonder if I had just become numb to the entire thing, which would have been a truly terrible thing to discover.
Yesterday, however, I started to feel the tingle.
It was a cold, rainy day here in Melbourne and one look out the window told me that I was going to be spending the day inside. It took several hours of quality sofa time, but by the time I went to bed I had achieved a number of things:
I had caught up on all 300+ unread posts on the travel blogs that I follow
I’d been out for some delicious pho with a good friend, washed down with strong Vietnamese coffee
I’d compiled a list of the dozens of things that I need to get done before my plane takes off five weeks from now
I’d spent at least 10 minutes gazing at my backpack, for reasons that somewhat escape me
I had finally … finally … started to get excited about my upcoming trip. Not scared, not worried – excited!
Damn it felt good.
Reading all those blog posts helped me regain that tingle of excitement I’m sure, and mindlessly gazing at my pack for a while didn’t hinder things much either. Each little piece of dirt on it tells me a story about a bus in Cambodia or a street corner in Paris – it’s really another form of travel diary. A large, dirty, kinda smelly travel diary.
As tragic as it seems, though, it was actually writing down all those things that I need to do that really got my juices flowing. Not because I’m a fan of lists – in fact I’m generally against them – but because doing so bought it home to me that I’m actually leaving in a way that nothing else has.
I realised that when I’ve done all of those things (or more likely, done some of them and given up on the rest), I’m going to throw on that grubby backpack and head off to see the world once more.
When that happens the excitement won’t just be a tingle any more.
It’ll be a fully fledged scream.
How long does it take for you to get that tingle of excitement? Does it happen when you first start dreaming of places to go, is it not until you board the plane, or somewhere in between?
[Backpackers image courtesy of garryknight]
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