Ask people what they’d do if they came into a bunch of money, and most will mention travel: “Oh, I’d love to see Paris!” Or the Galapagos Islands. Or Thailand. Some just want to hang out on a faraway beach for a week, reading a book and drinking something tropical.
I have a friend who read "Eat, Pray, Love," which is about a woman’s travels to three different countries over the course of a year. As soon as my friend finished the book, she got online and made reservations to go to the same countries.
My old boss? He had the means to travel overseas many times a year, so he did. He had an odd name, and it got so that any time he was in an airport and heard a page for a bizarre-sounding name but with his initials, he’d head to the white courtesy phones, knowing they most likely meant him. This was before cell phones, and we all knew to call the airport to reach him quickly. He had packing down to a science, and there was no far-off locale he wouldn’t eagerly flock to.
If you ask me, these travelin’ folks, these Lord-I-was-born-a-ramblin’-man types, are nutty in the head. My motto is: Why travel when you can stay home?
I find travel extraordinarily stressful and angst-inducing. Perhaps this makes me the least-fun person on earth. No. It DOES make me the least-fun person on earth. Come to my house, from where I never budge, and I’ll tell you more.
The thing is, travel seems to be universally beloved. And I’m the only freak who doesn’t love it. It’s like hating Christmas (which I do) or autumn (which I also do) or puppies (Which I DON’T. Who hates puppies? Geez!).
“Oh, wouldn’t it be great to have the time and money to really travel?” People are forever saying, and I’m too embarrassed to answer what I’m really thinking: No. No, it would not be great. I’m more of what you’d call a stay-at-home traveler.
The whole time I’m on a vacation, instead of feeling loose, high, and free like I’m Rick Springfield, I’m riddled with discomfort. It always feels awful to not have my home to return to at the end of the day. I spend the whole time feeling sort of exposed and unsafe. What if I have an allergic reaction to something and I’m in the middle of nowhere? I mean, like, let’s say I’m walking through a penicillin field and have no idea that’s what I’m doing. There are penicillin fields somewhere, right? Where would I go to get help? Nowhere, that’s where. I’d die right there in the penicillin fields of Bangladesh.
Different places have whole different bugs to fear. And food to get poisoned by. And heaty nauseating hotness or horrid freezingness or terrible tepid drizzles. The whole time I’m away from home, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. And kill me.
I know I’m making myself sound like Rain Man (without the math skills) right now, but I’m a nervous person, generally, and travel does not help matters one bit. I know travel’s supposed to expand your horizons, but I guess my horizons will have to stay closed.
Trust me, I don’t like being this person; it’s humiliating. I have no sense of adventure. I have no pioneering spirit. I’m a bore. An albatross. A dullard.
Which means you probably won’t invite me to visit you at your fabulous overseas villa. And for that I thank you. Because, oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home.