Personal Stuff

Change Is Not A Crisis: My ‘Why I’ve (Kinda) Stopped Traveling’ Un-Story

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I had run for three years, two months, fourteen days, and sixteen hours. 

First, that’s the worst blog post title I’ve ever written and I’m not even sorry. Second–hello, friends. It’s been a while, huh? I don’t even want to look back in time to figure out how long it’s been since I last posted (almost three months?!? Yikes!) If it counts for anything, I’ve been writing lots of blog posts in my head while I drive around the northeast on my way to and from work. Does that count for anything? No? Damn.

Anyway. Hello, friends. I’m back. Sort of. Or at least I’m back long enough to explain this one very important thing that I feel all travelers and friends of travelers and admirers of travelers and people in general need to understand. It’s right up there in the title:

Change is Not a Crisis

Because here’s the thing: whenever someone stops doing something they’ve done for a very long time, people get strangely uncomfortable. At the worst, change can be viewed as a crisis. Take these scenarios for example:

A suburban mom. Her second kid goes away to college. She trades in the Honda Pilot for a Mustang Cobra. CRISIS.

A college student. His grandmother passes away. He drops out of school and travels around the world for a year. CRISIS.

A 30-something man. His wife leaves. He buys a new wardrobe and signs up for Tinder and sleeps with a bunch of 20-something women (or men). CRISIS.

I ask of you–why are these choices considered a sign of crisis? Perhaps that mom always wanted a sports car, but put her family first. Why can’t she have that car when her nest empties? Perhaps that college kid realized for the first time that life is short, and that he wants to see the world. Go see the world, kid! And maybe that man…just wanted to get laid? You…go get some, dude!

But change makes other people uncomfortable. Like: what do you MEAN you don’t have a next trip planned*, Tracy? That does not mesh with my understanding of your place in the world or more specifically the place in the world to which I have assigned you. You are traveler-girl and will forever be traveler girl in my mind.

I get that type of response a lot lately, as I’ve slowed my travel schedule way down in recent months. And when I do, I imagine I feel a bit like that mom feels every time a friend opens a conversation with ‘how are the kids?’ And how that college student feels every time someone asks him about his coursework and not his hopes and dreams. And how that man feels when…I don’t know. I’ve taken the comparisons too far and I cannot relate to that man, but still–you go get some, dude!

My reasons for traveling less are not as clear cut as the examples I gave above.  There’s really no cause-effect thing going on. The best way I can explain it is this:

There’s truly no more accurate way to describe it. Thanks, Forrest.

If you asked me where I most want to visit right now, I would say: home. I most want to go home (I am writing this from a Courtyard Marriott in West Orange, NJ, so that could be part of why.) I want to be with my dogs and my husband and my mom and my decorative gourds (pictured below in my Instagram feed). I want to start baking bread again and wash all of the windows in my house so the sun can shine through. I want to read a book while slowly stirring a cup of tea.

Will that be what I want for the rest of my life? I have no idea. That’s the thing about change. It changes. But this post isn’t really even about me. It’s about you, and how you embrace change in your own life and how you accept change in the lives of others. I invite you to consider treating change not as a crisis, but as what it is–the shifting into a new phase of life for whatever reason, for however long. Because we are not our past; we are not our habits. We are our actions, right now, in this moment.

And right in this moment, I’m going to order some delivery, put on my pjs, and climb into bed to watch Wheel of Fortune. I’ll let you know when I want to start running again.

***

*I totally have two trips planned in the next four months. So there’s still that.

 

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