The Art of Travel

March 15, 2013

I am the middle child of five that span twenty years. We were raised in rural Ohio, but moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan just shy of my sixteenth birthday. I then moved to Minnesota for college. After my parents' divorce-- my Junior year -- my Mom remained in the Upper Peninsula, and my Dad moved to Florida. Despite really only living in Michigan for two years, I fell in love. Something about the hippies, the pace of life, and that gigantic lake...

My youngest sister is getting married in June, and I had a flight to Michigan booked for her bridal shower this weekend. Then, when my schedule for the week unexpectedly cleared up, I decided to drive instead.

Ben loves travel adventures as much as I do. Traveling with him is one of my favorite things in the world. I love the sense of possibility it gives us-- navigating unfamiliar terrain, and piecing together the best restaurants, beers, and vistas. But, I equally love traveling alone. I don’t have to compare schedules or priorities with anyone else. I never know where I’m going to end up. I follow after walks and the timeline of my stomach and desire to plant myself and read. I rest a lot.

So, it has been delightful to road trip again-- podcasts and NPR in tow, finding myself in a fabulously sketchy motel, and reuniting with dear buddies and and old family haunts that nearly seem like a dream after all the years passed. When I travel, the world feels like a playground. There is so much joy! Yesterday I found myself frolicking in front of Lake Superior, the sky perfectly blue and clear, the sun beating down. Suddenly the snow was up to my knees and I was laughing as a tried to trudge through, a squadron of noisy seagulls above me, and I thought: F*CK YES: this is it.

When I left to work in the UK I brought with me a copy of Alain De Botton’s The Art of Travel.  De Botton’s book explores a common dilemma: the reality that we often travel to escape our day-to-day realities, and yet, we bring ourselves along on the adventure; often what we attempt to avoid comes right along with us. But, despite knowing this, I am so grateful for tiny adventure. Moving outside of my daily comfort zone reminds me of what I’m passionate about, what I miss, what I’m working towards, and what I love about being alone with myself-- all valuable, for sure. And, this opportunity to immerse myself in the culture of the Upper Peninsula is a sociological experiment of the highest importance. Come visit: you’ll know what I mean.

And, as much as I love the solo adventure (and plan to keep them coming), this trip makes me even more excited for my May foodie adventure to Seattle with Ben. It’s a total treat to have your favorite person along for those this is it moments. 


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