One of the surprises of my later years is how much I am traveling. In fact, how much everyone is traveling. When my girls were small, a walk to the P.O. was an outing, but before I could turn around, they were jetting about from continent to continent, and I was receiving postcards from Quito, Tokyo, St. Petersburgh and Machu Pichu. As they shrank our world, my husband and I became armchair travelers, though he, more extreme than I in every area, continued to quote Emerson “Traveling is a fool’s paradise.”
Until, that is, he was more or less forced to get on a plane himself. Like I said, never one to do things halfway, he took his first real trip in decades to Japan, on an exchange with a group of his Asian studies students. On the way to the airport that morning, he told me that if the entire expedition was cancelled at the very last minute, he wouldn’t mind one bit. That was two years ago, and he has yet to stop talking about how wonderful the people, how transcendent the landscape. Last year he took students to India. I would not hesitate to say these trips changed his life.
And now, somehow, I am going back to Japan with him. Not yet, though. First there is another small book trip here in Ohio, and then a vacation with my BFFs to Lake Tahoe, where we plan to write and hike, drink wine and eat prodigious amounts of artichokes and avocadoes, and also (some of us hope) spot a bear, and then a small but momentous journey to NJ to see my darling middle daughter receive her masters degree in architecture. Then…Kyoto.
So once more I’m reflecting on how a life changes, and why, considering I am not religious, I feel that all these things were somehow meant to happen, or that they are the best things that could be happening right now, to each of us. It’s probably closer to the truth to call myself an accidental tourist, though one who, for now at least, finds herself in a window seat and very happy.
Writing quote of the week, from Thomas Mann: “A writer is a person for whom writing is harder than it is for other people.”