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Short Term Travel: The Tradeoff.

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Lake Peten Itza

In the past few years, my travel has been, at it’s shortest one month in length. I usually tout the benefits of such travel, and generally believe its incredibly difficult to really see a country for any less than three weeks. Even then, you mostly only scratch the surface, catch glimpses, get a taste. But I do believe this sort of quick ten day jaunt is still an incredibly worthwhile venture, but for entirely different reasons.

I generally view my life through a lens of travel. When I’m away, I’m 100% present, and self-assured. When home, the infiltration of first world irrelevance begins to seep in. I lose myself a bit. It is slow, and almost undetectable, but it is there, a seed inside my brain that insists these problems I’m facing, the pressure I feel, are in some way important. Mostly, they are not. This is of course, until the next time I set foot in an airport, and in an instant my life pulls sharply into focus. I remember exactly why I love to travel. And while my time at home is mostly full of joy, there is always this pull. This ache to be away. Or rather, be back in the world.
Last night was spent in conversation amongst travelers. I truly believe we are a different breed. Perhaps in the same way musicians are, but never the less, there is something innately different and unique. It takes a certain sort of person to pick up a leave for a year, 6 months, 3 months. And meeting these similar souls in transit is always a great pleasure. In part because most travelers could spend hours comparing field notes and never run out of stories, but also because there is a sense of freedom. Freedom to not explain, the need to travel, this lovely affliction that can only be satisfied with a return to motion. It is simply understood, the why is inherent. There is an ease and removal of defense, you need not worry you might bore them or that they may disagree or misunderstand your enthusiasm. For me, travel is much of what I think about, and occupying a place in my soul I relish any chance to talk to someone who can relate. And really, that’s what all this is about anyway, the people you meet, the company you keep to share these incredible experiences.
Conversations such as these, and short trips back to the world, remind me of why travel is so important. It is, of course satisfying in the travel itself, but mostly it’s a quick re-centering. A small reminder about myself I’ve somehow managed to lose track of a bit in the prior months. For most people holiday is about relaxing from the stress of everyday life in the fast paced world we live in, and for me it’s in a sense that too, but it’s also like coming home. A there a benefits to these short spurts. Aside from the aforementioned, short term travel serves to satisfy and reignite the need to travel, which for me is exceptionally exhilarating. A new country always elicited a new found destination in which one must return, and to have seen such a place fills you with anticipation and great excitement for the adventures to come. But also, to return is much more simple. A week does not allow settlement. There is no return culture shock, or missing of people and places you’ve grown exceptionally fond of. Instead, you return renewed, but not so far from the often ugly reality of such a “progressive” life that it is difficult to reenter. In this sense short term travel serves to save a place between long haul trips. And although it may feel a bit superficial on the surface, it is never the less an incredibly worthwhile an meaningful way to spend a week.

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