In response to The New York Times article “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.”
502. “How Has Travel Affected You?”
Out past my window I see the World Trade Center tower, red brick warehouses, and two stacks of smoke, a New York City skyline glowing gray and magenta. On my desk are four Patagonian gourds, a glass bottle of sand from northern Argentina, a New Mexican Kokopelli blowing his flute, a handful of pens from bars all over the United States, a Spanish box with a bracelet on top given to me by my mother as a gift, an ornament made of plastic from a Korean student of mine with the name “Mr. Brave” etched over the image of an apple, and some necklaces from other trips dangling from a hook against the wall in front of me, yes next to that window with the view, and a sticky note that reads, “B OKHO.”
Travel has affected me in that it made me, in a sense. The trips I took as a child informed my upbringing. The expeditions throughout and outside of the US have shaped my boyhood. Youth was for travel. And now I couldn’t get to work if it weren’t for trains, I wouldn’t go to school if I didn’t live away from home, I shouldn’t even mention one by one all the trips and misadventures and journeys to you here and now, though memories spring up, because who wants to read about that? (jk and irony; travel is most of what I write about) — It is hard to write about travel, however, like it is hard to write about oneself.
I remember years and events based on the summer vacations taken that year. Summer = travel = life.
“No, no, that was 2014.”
“Yes, yes, that was 2000.”
“Where did we go 199-…?”
When I see my friends post photos of their travels, I smile. It seems so many folks are traveling, and all the time. What is this human need, one might ask, one travels and it all makes sense. All. The. World. There is so much to see, it hurts my eyes. There are two miniature globes encased in plastic octagons on my desk too, framing all of the above items.
Nostalgia grips me the strongest at the sight of an old photograph or camera video of a trip overseas with friends, or a road trip with the family, or odd walkabouts throughout the city.
My maternal grandfather was a diplomat, and traveled the world with my grandmother, birthing children in various countries; how they ended up in Texas is why I was born there. My paternal great-grandfather spent four months vacationing in Europe with his wife and daughter, and three generations of Braves after him still talk about that trip like it were an act of ultimate freedom; three generations later we have tried to copy, but have yet to achieve that duration of travel.
Nowadays, I like to chill, sit around, the lust to wander dissipated a bit. I like my view, and I feel I am in the right place at the right time. I don’t see myself moving anytime soon. This is where I want to be.
😉 that said… summer 2018… I look forward to it.