I haven’t done big travel alone in years. This wasn’t due to the pandemic alone, but also new fears of being away from my young family. Ever since I was pregnant and had to travel quite a bit, turbulence and other aspects of air travel has made me feel quite sick. And I haven’t been super attracted to it. The consequences of my actions have also now increased exponentially, occupying a bigger space in my brain’s fear zone. I am told this is pretty normal.
As we get older, aspects of living become simultaneously harder and easier. Now I’m on a big trip, both in distance away from my family and duration of time. And it’s really weird. It’s exciting to catch glimpses of my younger, more adventurous self, between bouts of utter exhaustion from jetlag and the difficult emotional strain of missing my son’s face and laugh.
But to Hannah’s point, it is also liberating—my time is mine. And it hasn’t been for so long. While there are obligations, I’m in charge of how they are met and how I manage myself. It’s hard to explain the joy in this as well as how complex it is to fully embrace. It has taken much longer than expected to get into the independent zone and the groove of traveling halfway around the world. It’s no joke. I’m pleased I haven’t lost my love of travel, of seeing new and familiar sites. To talk to strangers and to try new things.
For those of us who’ve always enjoyed travel, and have defined ourselves by it in the past but have felt out of sorts since the world closed down, I encourage you to get out. Get back in the saddle and ride and find your way back to yourself. It’s worth it.
-Ashley E. Remer