“You are as familiar to me as breathing.”
I’ve been in New York City now for longer than I have been in any one place, without traveling, since 2009. This is the longest I have been grounded since I began my career in travel. I have had an apartment I love, a neighborhood that fascinates me, a roommate I would die for if need be, friends who don’t work in travel and somewhat of a routine. It has been good.
Yet, I have grown restless. I have pinned and repinned quotes about getting lost until my fingers can no longer type. I have had to own that I am driven by wanderlust and a desire for learning and growth that even my beloved NYC cannot sate. This is one of the most dynamic cities on earth and certainly my favorite in the United States. But it is not enough. When I am here in NYC I can understand why 10% of Americans don’t use all of their vacation days because they say, “work is my life.” In NYC, career becomes ones life. Even after work is done for the day, we meet each other at bars….to talk about work.
So I am leaving. I’m joining the 42% of Americans who travel overseas alone and boarding a plane to begin the longest uninterrupted journey I have so far embarked on.
Beginning my journey in London to visit friends and work on a sponsored project, I will then journey to Rome and Umbria for TBU, followed by remote Turkey to stay with Dalene and Pete, after which I will rendezvous with the ProjectExplorer.org crew in Johannesburg so we can travel to Mauritius to film our next series which may then be followed by a press trip in a European country I have not yet visited. For two months, my home will be the goodwill and generosity of friends and strangers. My belongings will be contained in one suitcase and an equipment pack. My office will be my lap[top] and my wanderlust will guide me when a set schedule does not.
It is perhaps an awkward time to leave. On the one hand I have enjoyed a certain sense of being settled and comfortable. I’ve learned the path that morning light travels in our apartment to blind and wake me up, never fully ready to begin a new day. I’ve found companionship, camaraderie in things besides travel and photography. NYC has become as familiar to me as breathing.
But … I don’t want familiar. I want change. I want to be one of the crazy ones. I want butterflies of fear and wonderment. I want to learn from cultures that pre-date my own and teach others in far-flung lands. I need to return to NYC to find it, or myself, a bit changed. Because I like change, it is the force that keeps me moving forward and forward motion is my favorite kind.
I hope you’ll follow along with me on this journey. I’m going to start posting AS I travel … instead of after. Let’s hope the internet connections where I wander, cooperate!
What would you like to see? Learn? Know? Shout it out in the comments!