As I grow older, I come to terms with the temperament that, for good or ill, is mine. I thrive on variety. If had a whole week, 5 days of staying in and writing all day while the children were at school, I would feel restless. Two weeks of that, and I would feel very sorry for myself indeed. I am distractable. I can lose focus on my tasks. I am also a perfectionist, and can concentrate on getting a piece of writing just right for so long that I get bored with it.
And so, when I can afford it, and sometimes when I can’t, I travel. The long periods of walking around, or driving or flying to my destination gives me fallow, empty time to think. To remember what I want to do with what I have left of my life. To refocus. To remake my schedules which always get out of whack. To remember my goals. To refocus on them.
Travel is also a form of education. I grab books about the places I am going to. I read their history. I find out about their artists and architects. I see their work. If I can, I read or skim-read some of their writers. It refills me with zest and enthusiasm for living. I come back with a head full of ideas and new knowledge.
So, while I love the experience of travel–the break from the monotony of one’s house and its chores, and one’s quotidian routine; the experience of wandering on fabled streets, breathing in their sights and sounds, and seeing fabulous art, buildings and churches, I also travel because I cannot really contemplate month and after month in the same house, beloved though it is.
Pascal said that all man’s miseries stemmed from a single cause: His inability to sit quietly in a room.
How did he know? Because he was unable to?
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