I very much prescribe to the ‘wherever you go, there you are’ mindset, and so I have been trying to look forward to my upcoming trip in the most realistic manner possible. Surely there will be points when I am hungry and crabby, tired and crabby, being rained on and crabby, having to pee and crabby…well, you get the idea. During the course of a month-long trip, I will be crabby, most likely multiple times. I will also be stressed from time to time, and, I’m sure, both bored and lonely at some point. But I feel I have something that not all travelers have–the insatiable desire to share my experience with others. This might not help the crabbiness, but it should definitely help with the boredom and the lonliness.
In The Art of Travel, the author, Alain De Botton discusses Alexander von Humboldt’s 1799 exploration of South America with envy–you see, unlike De Botton who was quite bored with modern-day Madrid, Humboldt’s explorations and scientific discoveries always gave him something to do. I found this to be very telling; there is clearly a large difference between the travels of a scientist and those of a philosopher. A scientist always has something to do–a philosopher, clearly, struggles in that department. De Botton actually stands in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor and wonders ‘what am I supposed to think?’
I truly feel that, as a writer–and I am writer, if you take writer to simply mean ‘one who writes’, not ‘one who makes money from writing’–I will always have something to do. I’ve already started a list–ok, I have to be honest, it is a three-column table–of possible topics I can actively research before, during, and after my trip so as to write about them. Some highlights include ‘A Self-Catering Apartment–Utilizing Paris’s Markets’, ‘Europe vs. Disney–A Cost Benefit Analysis for Parents’, and ‘Getting By on Phrase Book Spanish’.
Likely these stories will only exist as blog posts, but still, they will be written. Looking at travel in this way will always give me something to do, something, as De Bottom sought, to think–and will always provide me with new places I want to visit. Because of this, I strongly urge all travelers–young and old, newcomers and world-travelers, day-trippers and season-long backpackers–to take up writing in some way. It can only make the experience more rich. I know the old saying is ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’–but actually writing those thousand words can be just as rewarding.