My relationship with travel has of late been more hate than love. At first, it was all an adventure. Everything was new because all I knew was where I grew up. I couldn’t sleep on planes because I was too excited to land in a new place and notice all its little differences: the faces and gestures of the people when they’re hungry, worked up, or indifferent, their versions of ‘um,’ ‘huh,’ and ‘what,’ the things I could buy at the grocery store that I couldn’t in the US and vice versa.
For the past year or so, my view of travel has been changing. Trips now seem like work. I joke with my roommate the night before every trip, ‘But I don’t WANT to go to Geneva Budapest Amsterdam Iceland.’ Part of me isn’t kidding. But I have to see them, the romantic and over-inflated ideas I have of these places come to nearly-always-disappointing life.
And maybe it’s right that I feel this way now. In a week and a half, for the first time in three years, I will be leaving countries of heat, dancing, and loud, idle chatter with neighbors. I’ll be leaving bland food and parties until 8am, sun and reggaeton. Tits out on the beach, asses out on the beach. Being drowned in olive oil, wine, cachaça, and brigadeiro. Overly-safe cities, overly-dangerous cities. Fighting to get my residency documents, pick up a package, or deal with my landlord in Spanish or Portuguese.
And it’s best that I go. I’ve grown, groaned, ached and loved during my time in Brazil and Spain. That was three years of my twenties, three years in which a lot happened, both related to being abroad and not. The hard part is realizing that though you’re open to new experiences, a place can still be just not for you, and that there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve realized I’m not a warm-culture person. I don’t like talking to strangers. I don’t like touching even those I know well. Dos besos my ass. No, I don’t want to pet your dog. No, I don’t want to hold your baby. No, I don’t want to dance samba/forro/salsa with you. I don’t want to go to language intercambios and small talk about how I like Brazil/Spain/anywhere and what I think about Obama and gun laws. I’ve long-since seen all of this in myself and I’m ready to move on.
I have Arizona on my mind. Desert, cacti, a new start, an American salary, an apartment all my own. Space to spread out. Silence to reflect. Time to read. A worthy job to put my hours toward, I hope.
All this preamble in preparation to commit my three most recent trips to virtual paper, I’d like to say soon.
Trip 1: Geneva, Switzerland
Trip 2: Budapest, Hungary
Trip 3: Amsterdam, Holland