12 November 2010

The Itch to Run Away

I am reading a fellow blogger's entry on his trips to Patagonia in Chile, and somehow it makes me itch to travel again. The thing is, travel can be an act by itself. Traveling isn't just a way to get to somewhere, traveling can be a goal in itself.

The thing is, sometimes I wonder that the simple version of travel isn't exciting anymore. You know, those types that all you need to do is to hop into a plane, and when you land, all you need to do is to hop into a taxicab, and then you'll be delivered to your hostel. That's too easy.

I dunno, I first felt this, back in March. I was attending a conference in New York City, but before that, I went to my friend's place in Rhode Island to visit. I flew to Providence by way of Washington DC. How exciting was that? It was excitement level zero. Although I was glad that I got to see my friend again after a long period of time, and I was also glad to visit Rhode Island, but that was pretty much it. After that weekend, I took the train to New York City to attend the conference.

Recently, I have noticed that it seems that I don't get as excited as I was before whenever I would be traveling. I've flown the Buffalo-New York City segment so many times that I now find it boring. I have taken 100 flights already, that the take-off and landing episodes are already so routine. I miss the time when I was a little kid and flying was so wonderful. You enter this little door that leads to a corridor, and then after a few hours, you exit the door in a different land.

Come to think of it, this past summer, when I went back to the Philippines, I actually liked that experience, of traveling within my home country for the very first time. I liked the 10-hour bus ride, I liked the fact that I got lost hiking by myself in the middle of the rice terraces, I liked the hair-raising jeep ride between Banaue and Bontoc. That was different, and the fact that it is hard to get to those places just makes the scenery even more beautiful. It's fun standing on top of the world, seeing the whole mountain range spread in front of you.

The same thing happened two years ago, when I went to Machu Picchu. In order to go there, I had to fly first to New York City, then change to an international flight to Lima connecting via Bogota, and then I had to take a domestic flight to Cuzco. Then I rode a bus to Urubamba, and then a chicken bus to Ollantaytambo, and then a train to Aguascalientes. And finally a bus to Machu Picchu. Of course, I spaced those evenly, and didn't do the whole thing in one big swoop. It was fun, it was like being purposely lost in the middle of a continent that one doesn't belong to. When I was flying to Bogota, the flight attendant saw my passport and remarked that she doesn't see my passport too often because Filipinos rarely take that route.

But heck, there's a more pressing thing at the moment. I need to finish this dissertation. My experiment will be put into the lab next week and I am excited. Hopefully, this would lead to something big, and then I'll have the resources to do that awesome trip somewhere. And believe me, I have plenty of ideas.

(Finding the Core, from my Q'enqo Series)


  1. It's not my articles on Patagonia you are reading, are you? ;-)

    Traveling is all about the freedom, not so much about the places you go to. It's the journey... it's the feeling you are leaving everything behind and jumping into the unknown.

    And by the way, I have a little announcement to make regarding traveling... :-)

  2. Zhu,

    No, it's not you, it's Dennis, who is currently in Chilean Patagonia. But it is Patagonia nonetheless.

    And yes, I agree, that traveling is all about the freedom, the sensation that one is out of the routine at the moment. So I guess I should be happy, because there is something to look forward to.

    Oh, and you're going somewhere again? How long will this travel stint be? And where to? Don't tell me South America again? Go to Asia! Or Africa even!