Sometimes I forget why I travel.
I like to think I do it for the amazing memories, and that’s partly true. I like to think I do it to expand my world, and that’s true too, but there’s one important reason that I seem to easily forget.
I do it for contrast.
Contrast means enduring the lows, so you can appreciate the highs.
Contrast is living on a boat for two weeks then taking the best shower of your life when you finally pull into port.
Contrast is getting sea sick and throwing up all night while sailing in rough seas, then breathing a huge sigh of relief the next morning when the weather is calm and your stomach has settled down.
I’m currently in Long Island, about to get underway on a sailboat headed for the Caribbean. It’s worth reminding you (and myself) that when I say my plans for the next two months are “sailing to the Caribbean on a 45’ yacht” it’s not all peaches and cream. Like any true adventure, it will be full of highs and lows. The weather could turn horrible, we could hit a hurricane and something could (and probably will) break.
And there will be beautiful moments too.
There will be simple pleasures like watching the sun rise and spotting whales. There will be the ridiculous inside jokes that happen when four people live together in a tiny space for months at a time. There will be quiet moments of reflection, made possible by the simple fact that I have nothing else to do but think about my life.
Ups and downs, that’s what traveling is all about.
On the plane ride here I began to write an article called “The Joy of Being Homeless” and it was me bragging about how awesome my next couple months will be. When I pulled it up today and considered publishing it I couldn’t, because it wasn’t true for me anymore. It was me forgetting that this isn’t just about the highs. Already, I’ve experienced some highs and lows and we haven’t gotten underway yet.
Traveling is awesome, and it sucks too. But that’s why it’s called traveling.