I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from
Not I, not anyone else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.
It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.
-Uncle Walt, "Song of Myself"
That seems like an oxymoron in many ways. Preparing for a trip is always a harried business, full of schedules and timetables and delays and new rules from the TSA. And yet, traveling speaks to that perpetual longing I feel to see new or familiar places, to leave home so that when I come back, I can appreciate it with clear eyes.
In just a few short weeks I will be traveling to see dear friends from my undergrad days in college. I have known them for well over twenty years, but as they live on the opposite side of the country, I do not see them often - have not met their children - have never visited their homes. While I will miss my family, I am bursting with excitement over this trip. Visiting these friends is soul-renewing. They knew me when I still planned to be a journalist, when I was struggling to pay for school, when I was managing a Little Caesar's to make ends meet. There's something about these college friendships that hasn't been replicated at any other time in my life. There's no artifice with these friends, only unconditional love and acceptance, and I cannot wait to soak in the sunshine of our long-awaited reunion.
I am grateful, too, for their families. They have extended the kindness of offering me a place to stay in their homes, of allowing me to tag along to yoga class, and of planning literary excursions to satiate the book lover in me. I look forward to scrumptious dinners, fantastic views, warm weather, and the company of friends all around.
Finally, a chance to unwind.