I’m talking with my sister and I say, “You know I hate traveling.” She was completely floored and demanded that I immediately publish a disclaimer on my blog. I think she’s hoping for something along these lines:
While this blog is intended to illuminate the ups and downs I faced as a novice tennis fan traveling the ATP tour for its 2009 season, please do not be fooled into thinking that I’m either a vagabond or an itinerant. If fact, the sight of an airplane makes me nauseous and the thought of traipsing through some unknown town by my lonesome fills me with dread. I am sadly a creature of habit and routine who likes nothing better than luxuriating in a warm, comfortable bed in a room of my own.
Lest you think that this is all due to my freak out in Shanghai, let me assure you this revelations is actually quite old. Shanghai simply highlights a downside of travel that I am often able to ignore in order to focus on its heady rewards. Like the tennis players who live on the road for 11 months out of year away from family and friends just to do the thing they love, I chose to do the very same thing to watch them do battle in their sport. It’s a very discrete thing I love. I don’t enjoy trying strange new foods, sleeping in uncomfortable beds, or venturing around entirely foreign places. Yet, I am willing to suffer these elements for the opportunity to watch a sport I like or to see something truly grand as I did on my first trip to China when I ventured up the Great Wall.
I put the word travel into Google search and ended up with a nifty visual thesaurus from here that perfectly encapsulates the value of travel.
Take a look at the words that are associated with travel, to move, jaunt, and the all in important, change of location. Sadly, all of these great things necessitate that I enter the unknown, where rules and routines go out the door. The loss of a structured and known world often leaves me quivering with fear and anxiety but what truly keeps me up at nights and causes my heart to constrict with horror is designated by the red slash in my visual travel thesaurus, to stay in place. Even writing that phrase makes me shiver as it connotes stagnation, boredom, and finally, death. I was on a flight from Paris to Berlin and I have never experienced such turbulence as the plane dipped and rolled, mind you it was an Air France flight just a week after their disaster off the coast of Brazil, and you know what I said to myself: If I have to go, I am doing exactly what I want to do and everyone who matters know I love them. Even though I hate flying, I knew that it was the necessary evil that was going to take me to Berlin, a place I had never seen which could offer me some new way of seeing that I couldn’t fathom. I couldn’t give up that opportunity, just because I had to suffer through the travails of travel.
Yes, I do hate travel but until I can figure out how to get its rewards from the comfort of my warm, inviting bed at home, I’m going to have to venture out and deal with the hassle of getting my passport/visa; finding a great place to eat; and landing just the perfect hotel to make me feel at home on the road.