Yesterday afternoon we came home from a week-long trip to London, and I’m ready to go back. Or to go to New York. Or Amsterdam. Or Berlin. Or LA. Somewhere. Anywhere. This happens whenever I come back from a big trip: I feel a great need to go travel some more — to go do something somewhere else. And it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been gone. Three years ago, I co-directed our department’s Study Abroad program to the British Isles. It was 7 weeks of pretty stressful travel and teaching and riding herd on a group of students (who were actually really great), and when it was time to leave, I was happy to leave. But when I got home, I wanted to go somewhere else right away.
I don’t think it’s a desire to avoid my regular duties — at least not this time. My courses for Winter Semester are pretty much prepared and I have no big projects that have been on hold while I’ve been away. Speaking more generally, I’m not dissatisfied with how my life usually runs. I’ve got it pretty good. A family who I love and who loves me, a comfortable house, a good job that provides a steady income that meets our needs and allows us the occasional excursion, good friends, etc. All in all, a pretty sweet set-up.
I think I’ve just become accustomed to novelty. I spent a week walking down streets that are unfamiliar, eating food that tastes different, and listening to people who talk funny. Maybe I just want to keep doing and seeing new things. I was talking to Robert (the younger of my two sons) about it as we drove home yesterday, and I asked him what he thought a person from overseas would like to see and do if they came to where we lived. Pretty obviously it’s probably the kinds of things that they can’t see or do where they are from: the novelty of foreign places and people.
So if that’s the case, then maybe the answer for my need for novelty is to start looking for it in my everyday surroundings. I do live in a beautiful state and I should be taking advantage of it — visiting National (and State) Parks, going for hikes, attending cultural events close to home: galleries, concerts, lectures, etc.
Or I could get in the car and go somewhere Right Now. I know I really want to.