I’m not a traveller

I don’t like to travel. There, I’ve said it. That’s a load off my chest.
I also stole a piece of bubble gum from Perlette’s grocery store when I was five. It’s been weighing on my soul all these years, and I almost blurted out the truth on more than one occasion when people were kind to me.
If they only knew, I thought, they undoubtedly would reconsider their kindness.
I didn’t even chew the gum due to my paralyzing guilt, and I didn’t read the joke or get someone to read it to me, as I wasn’t exactly a genius at age five. I might have been able to decipher “cat” or “dog,” but reading one of those Dubble Bubble jokes on such a tiny piece of paper wasn’t within my scope of skills just then.
It’s been 53 years. Might I have my record expunged?
Back to the hating travel thing; it’s is a tough confession. I feel judged. I think we are supposed to be hard-wired with curiosity and an urge to see what’s over the next hill.
I think that’s why a lot of young men went to war: curiosity and a thirst for adventure. And certainly, these young men and women would have reconsidered had they been given the chance.
I hear the long lists of travel ambitions from those around me: the Great Wall, the Sahara, Peru, the Pyramids, cycling in Holland. I liken it to watching the big game–on television or in person, that is the question.
At home, I can stretch out on the sofa, under a warm blanket, dozing when I feel the urge. I don’t have to get up and let people climb over me. I don’t have to hike a mile to the bathroom even though my bodily functions tend to shut down when I am obligated to use public washrooms.
I can see replays and the real action zoomed in on my own television.
To see the Great Wall, I would have to endure a flight in economy for more than 24 hours. I would have to worry about my bladder’s holding capacity during turbulence.
I would have to eat cardboard sandwiches and sleep with my neck twisted.
Whereas I could leaf through a photo book at the library, or bring said book home and I could pretend I was at the Great Wall, counting steps as I am inclined to do.
I can read travel books and experience these adventures vicariously, and all the while keeping travel writers employed—a win-win situation.
I feel pressured to travel or to want to travel. I’m sort of retired, though not really, and shouldn’t I embrace the freedom to explore? We’re often told how we should live our lives: eat this, don’t eat that, drink coffee, don’t drink coffee, a glass of wine a day, an apple a day, you need sleep, don’t sleep too much, exercise and exercise some more, and . . . travel.
If I don’t travel will I become eccentric? Okay, more eccentric? Will I live in a Hansel-and-Gretel type cottage deep in the woods and my hair would make a good nest for small birds?
Will I quit flossing and visiting the dentist? Will my fashion sense evaporate? Next confession: I have no fashion sense nor do I care, so don’t suggest I appear on “What Not To Wear.”
I’m more of a “bloom where you’re planted” kind of person. I like to think I’m a positive force in my community, though right at the moment I’m not sure I can conjure up any evidence of that.
Thankfully, we’re not all cut from the same cloth—our likes and dislikes, our dreams and phobias, are all unique; they define us, I suppose. I don’t feel the need to apologize for being right-handed or having brown eyes, or for not reaching my goal of 5’6”, so perhaps I’ll stop apologizing for having no burning desire to climb Mount Everest.
I have been to Thailand to visit my daughter when she was teaching there.
It was an adventure, for sure, but I think I shall check travel off my list.
wendistewart@live.ca

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