Traveling, as cautioned about in many a health class, is addicting. Sometimes dealers will give you the first few hits free. You’ll see a city or two on your own, find some interesting parts in your exploration and claim an unique experience/high. Then you get brave and think “I can try a little more”.
Because the feeling of being free is intoxicating and after a while, you can’t live without the novelty. You say you have control and say things like “I don’t have an addictive personality” and “I can always stop and go home” but when it comes down to it, and you’re looking at your ticket home, you realize you don’t want to lose the romanticism and vulnerability in the addiction. In some ways the freedom feels more real than the real world obligations waiting for you at home. And who is to say which is more “real” anyways? Isn’t the intensity in something ephemeral just as valuable as the consistency in something steadfast?
So you look around for a way out. Can you postpone your plans? Can you push it back just a few more days? Can you make just one more side trip on the way home? Surrounded by your piles of analysis and travel plan permutations, the only thing that becomes clear is that a decision must be made (and you might as well deal with it). So you make one.
In my case, the overwhelming sense of obligation dominated and the thoughts were predominantly: “I can’t put off grad school for another year. I have to go back.” and “I don’t want to push my relations at home. They might possibly (and horrifyingly) collapse”.
I’m getting on my flight tomorrow.
Confession: I’m cheating a little. I’m not going directly home, but to San Francisco to meet up with Danielle Wilmot. Every summer, she and I do a road/wine tasting trip in California and this year we’re hitting up Paso Robles on the way down to LA. Let’s just call this step 2 through 11 on the 12 step program to getting home.
There are worse addictions to have, right?