“Of course, it’s much harder to stay at home and be polite to people and face things, but where’s the book in that? Better the boastful charade of pretending to be an adventurer.” -Paul Theroux
I sometimes get emails from readers who seem to feel that traveling is difficult. They seem worried that it will be too difficult a life for them to lead and that I possess some odd sort of extra resilience that most people do not have. My guilty secret is that this is not so.
My guilty secret is that traveling is easy.
“I travel because I’m lazy and it is the easiest way to live,” my friend Loren Everly once wrote in an interview. This is true.
I have been around the USA for the past three months. I used New York City as a staging ground for short trips to Washington DC, Virginia, Maine, and Upstate New York. I have spent a lot of time with people who do not really travel, and have realized that their lives are five thousand times more difficult, complicated, stressful, perilous, sometimes dangerous, and convoluted than my own. I really stood gasp at how complex life can become if you have a steady place that you call home, if your sole occupation is not just considering the lilies and how they grow.
My life is not very difficult, it is child’s play compared to what the rest of the world engages in day after day.
Part of the reason why I travel is because I know that the sedentary life and continuous tasks and relationships are too difficult for me to handle. I like to come and go as I please and do whatever I want with my time. I do not do well with obligation. I admire anyone who has a home, a family, a job, and I admire anyone who has too many responsibilities to travel.
Traveling the world is oftentimes the path of least resistance. Leaving a place and people is always the easy route. Any traveler who speaks honest words will say that traveling the world is far easier than living in any one part of it.
I was listening to a conversation my mother was having with my sister:
“I’m right, I’m right,” my mother said.
“No, I’m right, I’m right,” my sister replied.
They were having an argument, and I was hard pressed to remember the last time that I had argued with anyone. If I think that I am ever right, I just say “I’m right” and walk away. It is easy. If you have no ties to a place it is difficult to have any problems, as you can always just walk away.
“Do you realize that it was wrong to feel that way,” my mother continues, “I don’t want to argue, I don’t want to argue, this is what we had planned,this is what we had planned.” I suppose my mother thought that my sister broke some holiday plan.
I could not dream of a day that anyone would have the resolve to make a plan with me. I am an extra no matter where I go. I am not a part of any unit, but occasionally I am added to the top, much like sprinkles on a cupcake. I do not think that I have any integral role anywhere.
I like things this way, it is much easier.
So the next time I get an email propping traveling up upon some platform of difficulty I am just going to laugh, for I know that traveling is the easiest way to live.
Perhaps I am just a joyful coward who knows that there will always be another Road to walk down.
Traveling is easy.
“He thought and acted as he wanted to, and no one could pretend to control his thoughts, since all he needed to do was to leave, at the first clash of views, and set off on the road again.”–Isabelle Eberhart’s Vagabond