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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Word of the Day, vol.VIII

Word of the Day: TRAVEL

Until I was 20, my passport picture was of me as an infant. I look miserable, like I am sick AND just woke up from a nap. I got a passport as an infant because my family lived in the Netherlands for a year then. We were there long enough for me to start speaking in both English and Dutch. It’s part of the family lore that my brother and I would jabber away in Dutch, to the utter confusion of our mom. The other standard story is that we got caught in a rock slide there. Obviously, I remember none of this.

I do remember spending a family vacation in Florida once and being sorely disappointed that we didn’t visit any sites, just stayed in our hotel and by the beach. Sea World? No. Disneyworld? No way. Miami Beach? Nope. We might have gone to exactly one zoo.

I’ve never done the tourist trap things in Los Angeles, even though I feel like I always plan to.

I’ve been to Disneyland exactly three times. The first time was when I was probably under 5. One of my first memories is the Small World ride. I went again as a high school senior for Grad Night and had, what I understood later to be, a panic attack on the crowded line to Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I went again with friends in college and we spent 11 hours there, riding the Winnie the Pooh ride several times in a row for no other reason than that there was no line, at the end of the night.

I didn’t travel out of the country again or get a new passport until I was a junior in college and spent the summer in London. It was a magical summer, full of revelations about living on my own, feeling like a woman, like an actress. Seeing thirteen plays in four weeks. Learning dialects that I teach now. Doing some of the best acting I’ve ever done in my life. I always say that if I could afford it, I’d move to London in a second.

I spent a tense Thanksgiving in Portland, Oregon one year, cooking because it didn't seem like anyone else would. And a lovely week in summer there another, when my brother and I had an amazing time at the local zoo and played a lot of Guitar Hero.

Honestly, though, I hate traveling. I hate airports. I hate flying. I hate couch-hopping. I hate spending so much money. I hate being away from my own space, my own things. I have a hard time being on other people’s schedules or visiting places where I have a ton of people to see and feeling like I’m performing for them and them for me for days.

S is probably the only person I’m really good at traveling with. We realized this when we traveled to NYC before moving there and consumed only alcohol and Trader Joe’s oriental rice crackers for nine days straight.

I think I don’t like traveling because it makes me feel displaced. Traveling feels too much like moving and I’ve certainly done enough of that for two lifetimes.

Still, some of the best family memories I have are when we would all travel to my mother’s family’s hometown in upstate New York. For years in a row, we would have large family reunions there. Reunions that I was too young to resent or be bored or stressed at. I would bunk with my cousin, dress up for large dinners, play games late into the night, sit in the sun, swim in waterfalls. One summer, my mom, her sister, my brother, and two of three cousins stayed in a house by a lake and we’d fall asleep to the trains rumbling by and wake up to go swimming first thing. We were all giddy with the safe freedom of those days. We’d float air mattresses into the lake. We’d make up ways to make each other laugh. We’d play Charades and music until the summer heat cooled at night.

I remember that as one of the best times of my whole life.

Is it still considered traveling if it felt like home?

1 comment:

Rachiewrites said...

I read Clothes first: Stunning observations. Then Travel: Weep fest. Keep it up! Wow!