I’m not there yet.
ASTORIA, New York City- Travel isn’t about chalking up as many countries as possible and tallying UNESCO sites. You can do that for a year or two and feel real cool but feeling real cool but it just isn’t enough to build a life upon.
No, the travel life is about seeking a deeper understanding of the world and yourself. Sometimes this means racking up a dozen countries in three months; sometimes this means staying in one place and getting to know it intimately. There are no rules other than to keep seeking.
Funny that we make up rules that we make up rules for travel. Travelers are people who, almost by definition, don’t like the rules and aim to live lives that enable them to skirt as many of them as possible — or, more accurately, to make up their own rules.
The USA is full of rules. Taxes and insurance and tips and … This is a country that has ruled itself into oblivion. It’s a great place to escape from. However, I have returned. I returned because I wanted to give my kids better opportunities for their futures and to give myself better access to what I need to advance professionally. I like my work — I want to go as far as I can with it. To do this I needed a globally central base of operations. I chose New York City.
But coming here hasn’t increased the smoothness of life. It’s actually done the exact opposite. My wife and I fight here more than anywhere else in the world. Put us out in the middle of nowhere with nothing and we’re fine. Throw us into the heart of our own country and we grind each other down — scraping and scraping until we hit bone. I’ve become a skeleton here, and I’m starting to fear that I beginning to look like everyone else out in the streets. I’m starting to blend in, becoming invisible.
But I’m appreciating the contrast. I’ve never lived like this before. It’s something new to log into the chronicle of life. And, for a traveler, new is always appreciated.
I also know that I being in NYC means traveling more than ever. I’ve had three international trips and a half dozen domestic jaunts so far. If February I’m set to give a talk in Michigan. In March it’s South Africa. In April it’s Ukraine.
I’m in the center of the world. Sure, it feels idle here, but I’m always just one jump away from the periphery — where the action happens.