the satisfaction of travel

It is no easy feat to travel throughout our world.  Despite how readily available travel is to all of us, it is not easy.  I forget because it is so worth it.

After a Mission Burger and series of stages (car, train, bus, plane, train) of transportation and about 20 hours of lugging a bag and no sleep, I arrived at Lyon.  I am not sure why, but for the first time, I realized that when you travel it is as if time and the world stands still, and I think it is because you don't go outside, at all.  You move from tram to moving stairs, to moving floors, to a bar for a snack or a drink, to another form of transport, so much glass, be it bus, plane, or train.  So when you emerge into daylight, it is euphoric. Yes, perhaps that is also because you have arrived at your desired destination, but perhaps your destination is all the more attractive and satisfying because of the air, the sun, the wind, and the people.

I emerged out of the train station in Lyon, after many hours and little sleep, and the sun was abundant and warming.  When left Boston yesterday, it was mid-twenties, grey, and the air was so still, as if frozen.  In Charles de Gaule, I struggled with my bag, finding the right train, exhausted and unable to draw on the little bit of French that I can speak.  In Lyon, even finding the exit seemed more than I could handle. As I walked out into the cobbled courtyard, the warmth of the sunlight made me feel overdressed, and I continued to struggle a little with my bags. I felt like a tourist.  Well, I am one, but that feeling of awkwardness is so aggravating to me.  I prefer to move through the world as if it is all so easy, but admittedly travel is not, which is why I enjoy it so much.  It reminds me that I am not cool.  The sunshine and the fresh air revived me, so I took a deep breath, smiled at the abundant sunshine, removed my scarf and coat, tucked them into my bag, and walked slowly into the square.  Sometimes, we just have to slow down.

As I place my hand on the handle of my bag, resuming my self-confidence, I looked across the square and saw a friendly face.  It was my friend Julien waiting for me and smiling, probably recognizing my usually frenetic state and laughing a little bit.  And, at once, I am at ease; je suis calme et content.  I am in France, and I feel at home in a place where I barely understand the language and the culture is completely at odds with my everyday existence.  Does that make sense?

 

you have no idea what is down this path, but you know that you want to know...

you have no idea what is down this path, but you know that you want to know...