A relationship with long-term travel is really no different from any other; there’s a lot of give and take involved. I’ll be the first to admit that, most of the time, it leans more heavily towards the taking side. You float along, sustaining yourself on the feeling that the world seems to exist just for you; it’s at your fingertips and you don’t have to think twice about being selfish as you grab at it, take as much as you want of it, make it your own. Occasionally though, as you’re sitting contentedly admiring your newfound possessions, still glittering with the excitement of discovery, something will remind you of the part of the relationship that, as a traveler, you consciously avoid dwelling on. Sometimes it’s impossible to ignore what you’re giving in order to take with such carefree abandon.
The past week was a pretty difficult one for me, as far as weeks go. One of my closest friends got married on Saturday, and even though I desperately tried to stay awake past 2 am so that I could talk to her in between her bridal luncheon and pre-wedding pictures, I ended up falling asleep with our only communication having been a few text messages back and forth…nowhere even close to sufficing as a replacement for what would have been a place in her wedding party. The following day, I skyped with my parents and found out that my Grandpa isn’t doing well with his battle against mesothelioma. As I watched the computer screen relay the scene, a multitude of emotions crossed my mom’s face while my dad tried to explain the situation logically in the background. At that moment, I despised the fact that I was traveling and wouldn’t be able to be there when they visit him and my Grandma in June. On top of all of these occurrences (although by far the least dramatic), I had been in Sydney far longer than I had intended because I ended up catching a nasty cold after my return from Cairns; I was getting restless.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many glittering jewels life places in front of you, you just want to slip on the familiarity of that old ring that’s tarnished and faded and so old it stains your finger green every time you wear it. Then you remember that you lost it somewhere along the way, so you reach out voraciously to the world again, taking something with the hopes of hastily filling what you have given away.
For me, that something was Bali.