Friday, June 18, 2010

Travel woes, a decade after travel

As the disco lights-pounding music-numb mind phase retracts paving the way for its moon light-star gazing-thinking hard counterpart, I've realized that I'm often standing at the same cross roads in life with the same sights one too many years later: same faces, same events, and same places. The only thing different is the vantage point. And may I say thank god for more than few reasons. One, because the world is infinite so coming across familiar things makes one feel comfortable about covering a good portion of the infinitum. And two, because almost always, the familiarity factor is pretty vague and I end up seeing it with a fresh perspective. It kicks in those little life lessons. Makes one feel wiser, regardless of the reality.

It's been exactly a decade since I went to France. It was my first big trip as a grown up girl where the onus of everything from figuring out how to pull off broken French in public places without losing all my dignity to figuring out metro timings and routes so I don't make it to the palace of Versailles after it closes for the day would be on me. Both those things happened by the way. And a lot more how-could-that-happen-to-me incidents. This is why I never write travel journals. It'd be filled with one disaster after another in classic Murphy style.

Lately it seems like the online universe has been conspiring to overwrite memories I've gathered by going on these trips with memories that I gather by vicariously going on vacations to the same spots through other people... TV shows that feature single female travelers, friends, colleagues, colleague's friends, friend's colleagues and other random people on Facebook. Everyone who I share up to six degrees of separation with, is going to France. And it doesn't take much for existing feelings mostly of joy, pleasure and satisfaction to be overwritten by those of self loathing (for not doing enough research), wuss-ness (for not being adventurous enough) and, what the heck, I'll be honest, a little bit of envy (for not optimizing the opportunities) as much as others and I'm just left stoically watching... sometimes with jaw dropping disbelief.

Apply this to every trip I've taken and imagine the multiplier effect. It can't be good for my heart health. Someone has a better rear shot of the Louvre, someone found better Chinese food in Cannes than I could have ever imagined and someone else could indulge in cruising the romantic streets of Monte Carlo without an unacceptable out-of-season downpour.

Jokes apart, in the end, I guess life is like that. If everyone’s life experiences were the same, memoirs wouldn’t be a book category and tips would just mean money. One day I’ll be able to turn around my screwed up head and be grateful for the several opportunities I get to visit cool places although most of them might be virtually.

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