It’s been a couple of years since I really blogged. Why? Well for starters, because of the pandemic. I’m a bit of a hypochondriac (not clinically diagnosed) so the thought of traveling while people were still spreading COVID made me nervous. I spent the better part of 2021 trying to acclimate myself to a job that came to an end in August 2022, so that put another fork in my plans.
I’ve put together so many itineraries in the last two years. Itineraries mostly to cities I’ve missed in Western Europe over the last 15 years. Places like Bruges and Frankfurt and Basel and Luxembourg. But there always seems to be a reason not to go. Too little time. A fear of being exhausted when I get home. How much will it cost? Are these the cities I REALLY want to go to?
So, I’ve traveled so little since the pandemic.
Could I have written about my trip to Austin? Sure. Could I have written about my quick layover in Nashville? Absolutely. I went to Asheville, North Carolina in March 2022 for the better part of a week and did a ton of shit and I could’ve written about that as well. I even went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in April 2023 for a long weekend which was super fun. Could I have posted a photo of the double rainbow at my annual summer yoga retreat in the Catskills last year after a rainstorm? Hell yes (and maybe I still will).
But did I write about any of that?
I think I hated all the promotional work that was expected of a traditional blogger. I hated having to update the blog’s Twitter and the blog’s Instagram. I was annoyed that I felt like I had to try to have an email list. Couldn’t I just write a blog and if anyone ever came by and read anything besides “What It’s Like to See a Live Sex Show,” great! And if not, that’s OK too. I started this blog to be a scrapbook of my travels and to have another outlet to write back in 2017. I had a lot of fun writing it, too.
Then I found myself asking what if I didn’t have to update a blog-specific Twitter or Instagram? What if I just used my personal handles and let that be that? Would that be easier? Would that be less of a pain in the ass? I think so and so that’s what I plan to do.
Sometimes I think I’m biting off more than I can chew. In August 2020, I started a podcast (which is currently on hiatus) that takes up a lot of my time too. And I love doing it! You can check it out here.
But back to traveling. I think I need to pick a set of dates and a set of cities in Europe and just book my plane ticket to Europe. Bite the bullet. As we saw on March 14th, 2020, things can change in an instant.
Do I still tell people the story of when I was in Porto, Portugal and my group was told we were the last group getting a tour of Bolsa Palace before they shut down all the government buildings due to the pandemic? I sure do. It was a weird place to be at an even weirder time.
This was my problem between 2008 and 2015. I could never find the perfect time to travel. I was always nervous to take off so much time from work (one of the many downsides of being American). I changed jobs a lot so it never seemed like I could get away. Not to mention my bad habit of being a maximizer – before I make a decision, I want to make sure with like, 99% certainty that it’s the absolute right one. But can I ever be absolutely sure? I might hate the cities I choose to go to.
I remember booking my plane ticket to Poland. I hemmed and hawed over that for weeks until finally my colleague yelled at me and told me I’d found a great price and to book it. I booked it and had a panic attack. I’d just charged $700 on my credit card! To go to a foreign country!
In the end, it was all worth it.
As it always is.
I love to travel. I love exploring new places that are so outside my comfort zone I could scream. I love going somewhere where I don’t know the language and [sometimes] have to learn their’s. I love all of the alonetime of solo travel, too. All of the time alone with myself and the thoughts in my head. Having meditated daily for 10 years, this is something I’m luckily accustomed to.
I didn’t travel more last year because I was in a tumultuous relationship too. Maybe tumultuous isn’t the word. Maybe unhealthy is a better one. But this isn’t a dating blog so I’m not getting into that. But I always wanted to be around in case he wanted to make plans. I wanted him to suggest that we go away together instead of me begging him. Ultimately we never went anywhere together and the relationship ended in October. I had surgery a couple of weeks later and spent the rest of the year looking for a new job. All of this is to say that if your significant other doesn’t bring up traveling, go travel by yourself.
But if you’re reading this you probably already travel by yourself. I’m saying this for myself as much as I’m saying it for you to read. I have a bad habit of not traveling when I’m in a relationship because the people I find myself dating often don’t have the time or means to travel as often as I’d like to. So I feel bad and I stay in the city with them.
But I love to travel alone, so I’m going to do that. I’m thinking in the fall, I’ll re-book the trip to Savannah, Georgia that I had planned last September before I tested positive for COVID. I think 4 days is probably enough.
I’m a job now that is frustrating, but it is one where I earn vacation time, so I better use it.
At the moment, all I have planned is a trip to DC for a weekend with my partner to hang out downtown and go to Burkittsville to see the first-ever screening of The Blair Witch Project in Burksville, Maryland that my good friend is hosting.
It should be fun.
We also want to go to Costa Rica in February. I want to go primarily because there are huge feral cat colonies there, not for the beach. I hate the beach. I know Costa Rica is technically an international trip but it feels more like going to the beach, which isn’t traveling, it’s a vacation.
But even with these tentative plans. I still feel bad that it’s taken me such a long time to get back into the swing of things with travel. When I look at the places I’ve been since 2020, it doesn’t look like it, but I suppose the problem is me: I don’t consider it traveling unless it’s outside the country. That’s what I consider traveling for real. As strange as Alabama is, it’s never going to feel like going to a foreign country.
One day soon I will just have to open my browser and find a cheap flight for a city to fly in and out of and surrender my credit card number. After the flight is booked, it’s a piece of cake.
So that’s where I’ve been and why I haven’t been writing. Tell me: have you taken a while to dip your toes back into traveling? Let me know in the comments if I’m not alone.