We all have that one passport picture that makes us look like a weary, homeless convict on the run. It has been wisely said (even if it’s by me) that when you start resembling that photo – physically or mentally – you truly do deserve a vacation. It feels unbelievably difficult to plan it out though, where is the time? who’ll take care of the dogs? what if an important project comes up? So we all drift back from our daydreams and laugh the wanderlust off.
But let me share a secret with you. Wanderlust is not an easy feeling to shake off. You’ll find yourself thinking of the times when you fearlessly jumped into the rolling waves to feel the salt water spray on your face. Your lungs will ache to feel the crisp mountain air and briefly forget what the city’s chaos feels like. The possibilities of your adventure soon seem – set sail, set fire, set match.
So take off. Run away from your carefully constructed routine, even if it’s briefer than most celebrity marriages. Travel to a place where you can sing at the top of your voice and dance until dawn. Leave the grays behind and seek the crimsons, emeralds and azures. Feel yourself brim with excitement at the sense of curiosity towards a new city and its new people. Get drunk on the warmth of the same sun shining on a different land, and marvel at how the moon still follows you in your car, even if you’re 45 and a scientist.
Soothe your overloaded senses as you gently sway to the motion of a moving train. Feel the disbelief of flying in a metal box 3000 miles above the air, as if this were the first time. Embrace new cultures, but remember old geography lessons as you see the soil turn from red to black to yellow. Preserve the memories in your humble camera; yet remember to live at that moment because no sepia toned photograph can do justice to a well-worn memory.
Climb up the mountains, bury yourself in sand, have a countdown at Times Square, ride a camel, get lost in translation and find yourself forging new friendships anyway. Move beyond wishing on 11.11, instead tie ribbons on trees, put locks on a bridge and blow away unfamiliar dandelions. Or indulge yourself and sit in a hotel all day watching TV in a foreign language (don’t listen to the others, this too is a vacation). On the day of departure, buy enough mementos so that you end up having to sit on your suitcase to shut it.
Open your eyes and ears. You may be sitting in front of a screen right now, but there’s a place that is calling out to you in all its wondrous glory. Take the leap and fall easily, you will find yourself smiling as you come out dripping with salt water and laughter. After all, there are clouds of rapture willing you to float away, and your dusty suitcase just waiting to be picked up.