Arriving home from Spain at the end of a long, city-hopping September felt so good that I didn’t care if I ever traveled again. I unpacked my bags in record time and shoved my suitcase to the very back of my closet. Won’t be needing that for awhile, I thought before crawling wearily into my very own bed (well, and David’s very own bed) where I stayed for 12 hours.
That was a trip to remember but only for how awful it was. It’s Spain, so of course there were highlights: the vermouth was great, I like being able to order lots of different tapas to try, stand up paddleboarding was a blast. But what stands out in my memories is not how crystal clear the water was, or how beautiful the architecture. It was who I was for those three weeks: someone who could not see past her own suffering. Suffering, I will add, that was largely self-inflicted. Spain, a truly unique and special country, is forever marred by all the things that went wrong, internally and externally, while we were there.
It is now December and I am beginning to feel the travel itch again. I do realize it has only been about two months since we got back. If you’re a normal person who wasn’t born with insatiable wanderlust, then that might not seem like a big deal. But coming from someone who starts to get antsy if she hasn’t booked a plane ticket in more than a month, well, two months is quite impressive.
We decided that we’re going to limit our travel next year so we can pay down some debt and start saving more. We also decided (decided makes it sound certain, final but, as you’ll learn, few of my decisions are really final) to move to NYC sometime in 2020. Two-goal plan. Seemed reasonable enough (paying off debt!) yet at the same time thrilling (moving to NY!). Moving also appeared to me a perfectly acceptable alternative to the travel that I, until recently, had my heart set on. It was just as big of an adventure, with a similar balance of risk and reward.
Now the thing is that I don’t think I truly want to move to NY. I don’t want to move there and be broke because our rent would be twice what our mortgage payment is for less than half the space. And it seems miserable to have to walk everywhere in the cold, and also in the heat. And I get overwhelmed going to the mall in the month of December, so I imagine that the city I hold so dearly in my writerly fantasies is about the equivalent of that — all the time. There are many reasons why I decided I wouldn’t die if I didn’t get to move to New York. Instead, I decide, I will settle into our newly purchased home (January 2018) and make it feel like ours. I will learn to love Atlanta, for all its features and flaws.
The cozy feelings about staying have been worn off by the incessant rain we’re having. It is dark at 5 p.m. and dark until 8 a.m. Everyone is gloomy and cold and wet. Well I don’t know if everyone is but I certainly am. I think I have SAD, standing for Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s basically where you’re just freaking SAD all winter because you’re not getting enough sunlight. Not only is this winter drear bumming me out, but it’s giving me anxiety about global warming and what kind of planet we’re leaving our kids.
I can’t stay in Atlanta forever, especially under these conditions. In addition to being sick of the weather, I am over Atlanta traffic. I just feel irritated at even the thought of having to drive down Moreland to get to Target. 15 minutes to go a mile and a half? Who can deal? I can’t.
So I start to feel like traveling again. I’m not moving, so I need to go somewhere new. The South of France? That would be nice. What about Thailand? Japan? The world is my, your, our oyster. Memories of Spain fade to the background and become a different lifetime. I am restless again. I am being called to go, even if only for a short while.