The Trickster of Traveling
How is it that travel can be so rapturous? Fittingly, this dream of traveling descended on me toward the end of high school, around the same time I decided I would be a writer, around the same time that I began looking at religion. Doubtless they are all part of a single, mystical mix.
In college I had to be Jack Kerouac. The first year I took off alone, driving to the other coast and back. So much quiet, so much hurry. The exhilaration came, as it always comes, only at the cheating moments. The first moments, which pretend to represent all the rest. The exhilaration pulls me out. I wanted to find the best place in the whole country. But after a month, returning home to old Arlington, there was no place I would rather have been.
Again it has come for me, so many times. To Athens, London, Tunis, Paris, Rome, Chennai, San Cristobal, Istanbul, Amman. And more pointedly, even, in this land. Salt Lake, Santa Barbara, Grand Junction, Berryville, New Orleans, Los Vegas, Seattle, and everything in between.
Today it is a small trip, out from New York by train up to Providence to speak on a panel at Brown. Then to Boston, where some friends are, and by Sunday, back home. But the freeing feeling, more excellent than anything, comes anyway. Then it goes inevitably, a fleeting freedom. And when it flees, there you are in a foreign place alone.
It’s just like that clever Nazi said: “that which frees—the mystery—is concealed and always concealing itself.” The trickster of traveling.
tags: friendship, New York City, tourism