I spent the majority of yesterday afternoon at the airport, picking up a friend who’s flown into Atlanta for a few days and was spending the evening in Athens. Oddly, I always jump at the opportunity to shuttle people back and forth to Hartsfield. While the ugly Atlanta traffic and boring hour-and-a-half drive aren’t that great, there’s something about the airport that makes me feel at home.
As I wandered up and down the hallway of the T-Gates, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my past trips. This summer was a whirlwind, and I think I went into my trip expecting to go through a massive metamorphosis and come back an entirely different person. Instead, I returned largely the same…though perhaps a bit more sure of myself, and a little more experienced in French. In a way, it was very comforting, a reminder that I was an experienced traveler before this trip, and that Paris was just another experience I can put in my book. Another stamp in the passport. While each of these stamps have a unique story to go along with them, it’s the collective whole that makes me smile. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s a great feeling to know that “traveling” isn’t just one of my hobbies…rather, that it’s a part of who I am. I don’t even look at myself as a traveler per se, because I think that word defines someone who goes away for a long visit and eventually returns home. So what do you call someone like me, who feels just as “at home” in my great-aunt’s flat in Scotland or our family ranch in Canada as I do in Athens or Locust Grove? I sleep better on the 13-hour jaunt to Sydney than I do in my own bed, and it’s not just because of the ballin’ 777 lie-flat seats. The idea of staying in one place forever scares and confuses me, and I don’t understand how people can have such a small worldview that the extent of their “traveling” is a cruise or a visit to a luxury hotel in the Caribbean. I want to have a flat in Paris, a hut on the beach in Zanzibar, a cabin in Denver, and an apartment in DC, and travel between them as I so choose. I suppose I’m in the right major. I don’t know what I’m trying to say here, except that I love the fact that my “home” can be any of a million places around the world. It sounds terribly pretentious and conceited, but I don’t consider myself some expert in travel….in fact, I don’t consider myself an expert in much of anything. I just enjoy reveling in the long life of travel that lies ahead of me, and the fact that there will always be a new place to visit, a new experience somewhere. They say home is where the heart is, so I suppose it’s appropriate that my “home” right now is all over the globe…Troon, Paris, Sydney, Medicine Hat, Kigali, and so many more. I guess when you’ve got loved ones all over the place, anywhere you go is home. And that’s a feeling I wouldn’t trade for the world.