I miss traveling and the freedom that comes with settling into a place for an extended period of time.
I want to be on a first name basis or at least get a nod of recognition from the ladies at the laundry mat down the street, on the corner from my apartment.
I love when the random sea of faces start to become familiar and maybe a few of these acquaintances even develop into friendship.
I miss the local groms yelling “vale vale vale” and running interference in the lineup so I could take off on the best set wave.
I cherish the connections that happen over new flavors and welcome an invitation into any kitchen to learn the nuances of a secret family recipe.
I fully embrace the challenges of an extended power outage, flirtation with food poisoning, flat tire or a “random” police stop will bring to a situation.
Each new adventure, good or bad, is a new story I’ve collected for future embellishment.
I crave the daily routines of a new place, commuting to the local open air market, and the dicey scooter ride back where I’m perilously balancing a dozen bags of produce, other provisions and maybe even a kid through lawless traffic.
I live for the aimless meandering through new cites, fumbling equally through alleys and streets as well as language barriers, just trying to make sense of it all.
Most of all, I miss the random chaos of waking up somewhere new and unfamiliar and slowly embracing it as home.
I miss traveling.
Now don’t get me wrong — I still maintain a healthy habit of getting on planes and seeing new places but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there has been a shift.
With three young kids, several growing businesses between my wife and I, and all of the responsibilities that come along with, well, responsibility, it’s certainly harder to earmark the 12 weeks/year minimum of international travel I maintained for close to 15 years.
More recently, our trips resemble 2 week sprints to places a bit more easy and accessible than some of my previous sojourns.
I’ve often scoffed at the word, but lately it feels like these adventures fall more in line with, dare I say, a vacation.
Now don’t get me wrong — travel with three young kids clearly meets any definition of an adventure and is certainly not for the weak spirited.
I also don’t want to make it seem like I’m throwing in the towel or hanging up my 40L backpack for good.
My oldest son has accumulated more passport stamps, trips to Asia, and intercontinental trips by four years old than most of my friends and peers.
I intend to not only help him build on his collection, but offer equivalent experiences to his brother and sister.
While I’m beyond grateful to be in a place where life affords the freedom, flexibility and financial means to travel with our kids, I also sincerely miss the ability to take off for a month or two at any given time.
This desire runs deep and is instrumental to properly nourishing my soul.
I look forward to a time when we can get back to some real travel.