I had an awful realization a few weeks ago. The last time I went abroad and crossed an ocean in the process was when I went to Africa in December. That is so long ago (at least for me).
And this realization might have led to that nightmare I had last week in which I was trying to get this really sweet Air Canada deal to Europe, but no matter what I did, I never could get a confirmation. In the end, I missed the sale.
Some people have nightmares about snakes, death, or storms. I have nightmares about missing cheap airline tickets. I guess I’ll always be a nomad no matter how much I try to settle down.
Over the last couple of months, my life has been consumed by the release of my book and subsequent two-month tour. That tour ended last week.
Right now, I’m glad to be home in NYC. I missed my nice bed and being able to cook. Moving through so many cities so quickly burns you out. This is why I like slow travel; it’s much more relaxing.
But at the same time, the dream and remembering when I last went traveling both made me realize that I really miss being on the road. I miss traveling simply for the sake of traveling. I miss traveling without having to worry about showing up for this meeting or that meeting.
Now, don’t get me wrong — I’m not giving up on settling down. Settling down was a long time coming. I’m still adjusting to this new way of life, but I need to find balance between the two desires in my life. I need to find a way to be on the road and yet still enjoy having a home (and justify paying rent!).
So what do you do when you have two things pulling you in different directions?
You do them both.
Going forward, my plan is to be in NYC half the month, and somewhere else the other half. Sometimes it won’t be so even, but this way I can escape and still satisfy my travel bug. Of course, two weeks is probably not enough for me. Spending as long as I want in a city is a habit that probably won’t die, so I suspect there will be times when I’m gone from NYC for longer than just two weeks. But trying to balance my two desires makes me feel like I’m not fully turning my back on either.
In fact, I went on a booking binge last week and booked a ton of trips while I was in Seattle.
Next month, I’ll be taking a whirlwind train trip through Europe for two weeks, starting in Lisbon on May 2 and ending in Berlin on May 16. I’ll be working with Rail Europe to see if rail passes still work out to be cheaper than individual tickets. In 2009 and 2011, I used their passes and took it through the ringer to see if the passes save you money. Two years later and armed with a notebook and a calculator, I intend to find out if the math works out. I’ll be taking overnight trains, high-speed trains, slow trains, and everything in between.
After that, it’s off to Vegas for a weekend!
Then throughout the summer, I’ll be visiting the Caribbean to explore the islands, get a great tan, try to figure out how to sail between the islands (if anyone has done this, please let me know), and prove that even these islands can be cheap to visit! The Caribbean is a region of the world I haven’t seen much of, and I’m excited to finally explore it.
In September, I’ll be leading a 10-person reader tour through Europe for two weeks.
After that, I’m going to Ireland for two weeks. I’ve never been around the Emerald Isle, so this is another highly anticipated trip.
After that, I don’t know. I’m saving South America for next year when I take a four- to five-month trip through the continent that coincides with the World Cup. Winter will see me head somewhere warm, but where I don’t yet know. While you’re busy planning, life happens, so I’m just going to see where the rest of the year takes me before I plan it away.
But as I sit and write this from my apartment in New York, I can tell you I‘m excited about getting back to basics and what is most important to me: copious amount of travel.
In just a few weeks, I’ll be slinging my backpack over my shoulder once more, crossing an ocean, staying up late in hostels, and exploring parts unknown.