Travel Thought

Putney, Vermont

I like to be on the road. I have a strong sense of direction and decisive instincts. I scan signs, watch people, and walk quickly. Confusion is inevitable. Movement is key. It's the stopping, staring, and wringing your hands that makes you lost. As long as you move, you are getting closer.

There is another benefit to being a little bit reckless and overconfident while traveling. Because it's counterintuitive and taxing on your instincts, it intensifies the pleasure and relief you feel at finally coming to a stop—at a boarding gate, hotel, bar, park bench, coffee shop, train platform, front stoop, wherever. Whether you had a final, "intended" destination or were just wandering aimlessly like a stray dog, being in constant motion allows you to appreciate the brief interludes of rest in surprising, deeply affirming ways. Crowds shuffle by. Somebody yells something in a language you don't understand. A pair of pigeons peck for crumbs. In that moment, you feel brave for having overcome your natural inclination towards timidity and paralysis, and like you are truly a part of things. You feel like you earned the stillness and weren't just granted it. You feel a surprising twinge of familiarity and belonging. You recognize that wherever you come from or call home is arbitrary and that there is no predestined reason for why you are visitor in one place and a local in another. You remember that your needs, your culture, and your individuality are totally relative—products of chance. You take comfort in the realization that you are just a person.


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