It was an incredibly comforting, awe-inspiring thought. I didn't travel a lot as a child, don't really come from a place where people travel per se. Somewhere, I learned to think of travel as something you do to see someone or something. You might return to see a person over and over again, but once you've seen something, well, you've seen it. No need to return. But as London disappeared behind clouds, I realized that traveling didn't mean quick and dirty sightseeing trips to me any longer. Like history, I will not move in a straight, never-ending line. I'll loop around and back, moving across the same routes over and over, exploring and scavenging and living. My moods and needs will color the landscape. As I travel, I am becoming familiar with cities and towns and countries because they provide essential nutrients for my greedy little soul. I will go back to London and back to Boston and back to the hills of Cumbria and Oregon and Ohio because my my heart is turning into a map with twisting roads and starred cities and the names of those places have started to sound like my own name.
When you spend so much of your life as a student, it's incredibly easy to see each milestone as something that's just getting you closer to a goal, life as some kind of prerequisite. Like sightseeing trips, each thing becomes something to gaze at and then check off your list, move on. No matter how hard I try to slow down and realize that this, now, is my life, I find it entirely too easy to view the everyday as some kind of set-up for what's next. It was just plain joyful to have a sudden vision of my life right now as part of a big picture, an already-born future whole. This isn't the stuff I have to do to get on with things. This is the stuff I do. The books I read and the things I write will be books and papers in a long list, a giant whole. A pattern is emerging. This will be the life I've built. It's hard and I'm cranky and lonely a lot, but it's also a good life. I'll be doing these things again and again. I'm traveling.