This post is about to get a lot more honest. I forgot my mom´s birthday. It was five days ago. This realization just hit me as I read her latest email. Anndd….my best friend just got engaged. I received the news via Facebook, about 12 hours before it was officially online and the rest of the world knew. This post was initially going to be about time and traveling (read: not time travel). I was going to write about how the days and months pass through your fingers like millions of grains of sand trickling through tiny gaps and spaces, falling faster the tighter you try to hold on, the harder you fight inertia. I was not expecting this. This makes it a bit more real.
One of the things I´ve come to realize is that traveling lends itself to a little (or a lot) of selfishness. It means leaving behind your friends and family. It means taking a leave (temporary or permanent) from work, saying goodbye to deadlines and social obligations. It means embarking on a journey where you are the only watching your back, launching into a form of survival mode focusing your time and energy inward. This is not a bad thing, in fact it´s one of the benefits of traveling. Finding the time for introspection, lightening your load and reprioritizing. It´s also something friends and family back home may not understand. And it´s times like these when I really feel the distance.
Travel for me does not come without some inner conflict. I know for me, in this moment, I have chosen the right path. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to explore the world, to discover new places and cultures, to fall in love in a foreign language. But I can´t make up for missing my mum´s birthday. I can´t pretend I don´t miss the family gatherings I only hear about in recaps, that I don´t feel guilty for not being able to visit my grandfather in the hospital when he is sick, that I don´t wonder how I am going to help my best friend plan her wedding when I am continents away.
There is no real way to make up for my physical absence. And I may never be able to repay the love and encouragement I´ve been given that allow me to continue on my journey. But I can share my experiences. I can describe what Victoria Falls looks and sounds like, I can show my grandparents pictures of the Colosseum with me inside.
I can tell my Dad about seeing Michelangelo’s David in person and the awe that came with it. I can carry them in my heart so that when I have seen the whirling dervish, heard the call to prayer echoed throughout the mosques in Istanbul, tasted Italian gelato and repelled down waterfalls in the Ecuadorian jungle, they have too. I can make my mom proud.Florence, 2011Istanbul, 2011
This is my humble offering. This space and the words and photos that fill these pages are my way of saying thank you. Thank you for loving me when I am gone and welcoming me home when I return. Rome, 2011Google+