In between trips, travellers have to contend with wanderlust. Some of us join clubs or write blogs, but I waffle between pining and distraction. I write long lists of countries I want to go to, deride my home town for its brownness and cold, and then I try to forget it all by immersing myself in work. I climb to the top of a ladder, take a deep breath and dive in, then I work until I run out of air. This doesn’t leave much space for daily work-life balance but I try to make up for it by longer spells of travel every couple of years. Life has taught me that any longer and I will go crazy.
My job takes me to places across Canada, mostly for conferences and presentations. I used to think this was magical, a get away without being out of pocket. This delusion didn’t last long. I won’t sound ungrateful, I really do appreciate these opportunities, I love the change of scene and the opportunities for learning that they bring, but this is not travelling. It is work first and planes, airports and hotels second, newness and adventure a distant third. It’s true that being out of one’s comfort zone forces learning, and these can happen while work-travelling as well as fun-travelling, but there is an important and internal distinction. Fun-travelling simply allows for a greater freedom of self.
I do try to make these work trips function as a way to stave off the wanderlust. It helps when I’m challenged and learning, as I have been on two recent trips. Despite this, there is nothing that compares with the uncertainty of being lost, the exhaustion of late-night airports and the absurdity of trying to muddle through a foreign language. I love every bit of it, good and bad.
So until my next trip, I will keep dreaming and listing. Thanks to this new blog, I will do these things out loud. If nothing else, it will hold me a little more accountable to my life and dreams.