We just got home. And when it isn't raining it looks like both these photos: the ones who missed us. The place we always miss.
So, as some people ask all the time, why go away at all?
We go away to get lost. To be anonymous on streets on beaches and in other people's lives. We go away, some of us who travel, to get out from under our own skin, our own expectations, the day to day and the week by week. We want to experience something we don't know is coming, and to be allowed to see it unashamed through open eyes. Taste something, smell it and walk through it and get and hear it, because it doesn't exist otherwise. No book, no photo, no friend's description or memory can really do it for you. I want to know what's out there. I want to know that things aren't how I thought or are terrible or gorgeous as long as they're true. And being there, I'm sorry, but it's the only way. Otherwise it's an illusionary world and a virtual one and who's not completely fed up with that?
Although, that's not always it. Is it?
We met some Canadians and Americans who traveled thousands of miles to end up comfortable and secluded and pampered: barely leaving their hotels, never saying 'hello' or 'please' in Spanish, eating at one winery and drinking at another and then returning to the spa they called home. I'm not putting them down; wait, yes I am. I'm putting them in a corner many of us just don't want to belong to. Why does anyone get on a plane to fly to a different country only to tell that country to get out of the way and leave them alone?
Why leave at all if you never venture out the door?
Chile and Argentina for three weeks. Not exactly what I had anticipated or dreamed of and for that, I'm grateful. It was beautiful, difficult, emotional, striking, enriching, intriguing, never dull, never complacent, varied and rich and breathtaking and sad and lovely in almost equal measure. We met some wonderful people. We saw some incredible, truly spectacular sites. We fed some sad and heartbreakingly lonely street dogs. We were almost annihilated by a car going 90 or so passing us on the left and almost killed a guy riding a bike the wrong way down a Santa Cruz street at night. We loved most of it. We hated some of it. As our friend Jesse said it wasn't a vacation it was just 'more life.' And then we come home because unfortunately we're only travelers, only visitors, in the simple sense of that word. We go for a little and come back again. Hopefully we don't leave too much ugliness or trash when we do; hopefully we learn something; hopefully somebody understood us, even just a little. We love to leave and we love to return. Elvis Costello said Home is anywhere you hang your head. We try to hang ours here, mostly. And raise it everywhere else as often as humanly possible.